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What are the Best Interview Follow-up Emails?

What are the Best Interview Follow-up Emails?

Most people believe that the job interview is the last bastion before either getting a job or not getting a job, but that may not be necessarily true. There are factors before and after the job interview process that can affect whether you’re the right man or woman for the job. Before the interview, you can have things like a properly done résumé and a well written cover letter, and after interviews there are items called interview follow-up emails where you communicate with the company after the interview. These can be really important if they’re done correctly.

Before we continue, we must emphasize the strength of interview follow-up emails. Obviously, if you tanked your interview, all the interview follow-up emails on Earth aren’t going to help you. You cannot fix obvious mistakes with something like this. However, if you follow up an interview with a good email, then you could separate yourself from the pack of those who didn’t bother sending one.

To begin, we’ll give you some general guidelines for writing good interview follow-up emails.

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Start off by thanking them for their time

Remember that when you receive a job interview, it’s because there is something on your résumé that the potential employers liked. However, these people are taking time out of their likely busy schedule to see if you’re a good fit for the job. It’s an arduous task to hire someone and someone ought to thank them, so it might as well be you, right? It’s vital to begin all interview follow-up emails with a show of gratitude that you were considered.

Remind them of why they’re considering hiring you

Most companies interview a whole bunch of people at once, so you may not have had the opportunity to wow your potential employer at your interview. As an example, I was once part of a “mass interview” where 25 of us were interviewed all at once. It’s kind of hard to impress an employer when you’re sharing the floor with 24 other unemployed people. In cases like this, use interview follow-up emails to showcase talents that you may not have had the chance to talk about. If you’d like to rehash some of the things you didn’t get to explain fully, then go for it. As always, be sure to remind them why you’d be a great fit.

Ask about what happens next

Interview follow-up emails should be a bridge between the interview and them actually hiring you, so if you want to show that you’re excited to get started, then feel free to do so. Ask questions about the next steps in the hiring process to show them that you are motivated and that you are excited to be there.

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Like I said above, these companies interview dozens of people. Sometimes they interview hundreds of people. Management may be looking for someone who’s ready to get started right now and may not want to mess around with people who don’t seem excited about working there; use interview follow-up emails to show how excited you are to start making money with these people.

Show them that you understand what they’re looking for

It can be really hard to make things click with your potential employer, but you can make a lot of great headway by explaining that you understand what they want. By starting a dialogue and saying that you listened and that you understood exactly what the potential employer is looking for, you can bridge those professional gaps more quickly.

Think about it in non-work related environments: When someone listens to you and shows that they understand what you want, how much happier are you with those people? If they don’t listen and don’t understand what you want, then how long is it before you go find someone else? This same dynamic applies here—If you understand what they want in an employee, they’re more likely to make you an employee.

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Now, all these guidelines won’t matter if you don’t go into this with the right frame of mind. Writing good interview follow-up emails takes time because you really need to make sure you say the right things while not saying the wrong things. It’s a skill and one that you need to master. However, we have a few additional pointers if you’re going to write interview follow-up emails.

K.I.S.S.

This well known acronym stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. There is really no interpretation here: it means literally what it says. When writing these interview follow-up emails, you really need to keep it short and simple. As I stated multiple times above, these companies probably just interviewed a boat load of people. They do not want to sit down and read a novella about how great you are and how happy you were to be there today.

It really shouldn’t be any longer than a couple of paragraphs. Remember, a paragraph is between 3-5 sentences, so you’re looking at about 6-10 sentences total. You can fit a lot of information into 10 sentences. A little longer might be okay, but do not go overboard; they are busy people and do not have time to sit around all day reading your email.

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Don’t be needy

The job hiring process is a dance. Employers are looking for employees and the unemployed are looking for employers. Finding that match is so difficult already that there are a thousand blog posts (including this one) written to help you land a job. So don’t complicate things by being needy. Especially since being needy can showcase your potential weaknesses as a future employee.

When writing interview follow-up emails, avoid phrases like “Please, I really need this job.” They already know that. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been applying for a job, right? Don’t be a suck up, don’t be a brown noser, and definitely do not disparage the other applicants. These attempts to put yourself on top of the employment stack are immediately transparent and will turn management off to hiring you. You need to get hired based on professionalism, not kissing corporate booty. If you do, management will respect you more, your coworkers will respect you more, and most importantly, you’ll respect you more.

Use real words

I’m 26 years old and right now my generation bridges that gap between the pre-smartphone era and the post-smartphone era, so this is mostly directed at you younger people. Most people who are older than I am already use real words, real sentences, and proper punctuation. However, people just now becoming adults may not grasp that concept fully. You should be professional when writing any professional email. Don’t call your boss your homie. Don’t use “u” instead of “you”. When in doubt, use your common sense. You want to be friendly but you don’t want to treat your potential employer like your bar buddy.

Interview follow-up emails wrap up

Really folks, it’s about using your common sense. Some businesses may not even appreciate a follow-up email or a note after the interview. Part of the interview process will be ascertaining whether or not you should send one. Some may ask for one while others just dislike the idea of hearing from you again until they’ve decided on whether or not to hire you. If you follow the advice we’ve lined up for you, then you can make sure your interview follow-up emails are what they need to be. After all, tanking one of these emails could mean the difference between you getting a job and not getting a job.

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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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