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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 September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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