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How to Send a Follow-Up Email After an Interview

by Jen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

It might be the 21st century, but there is still good old-fashioned etiquette to uphold when it comes to sending an email after a job interview.

There aren’t many aspects of life that haven’t somehow been influenced by technology and the digital revolution, making the human touch, diligent timing, and thoughtfulness essential tools to help you connect with your future employer. Sending a follow-up email after a job interview is a quick and easy way to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression on your interviewer. Boost your chances for landing that job!

Why Should You Send a Follow-Up Email After an Interview?


For some, sending a quick thank you email to the recruitment or hiring manager after their interview might seem like the obvious thing to do. On the other hand, more than half of all interviewees don’t? Just think about it. Just sending that follow-up email puts you at the top half of the barrel for recruiters, for whom post-interview thank you emails hold a lot of sway, not just in which candidates stay in the running but to influence their final hiring decisions.

It’s also important to consider the long-term when you’re sending a follow-up email after an interview. Even if you think that your interview didn’t go well, a follow-up email is one last chance to present yourself and make a lasting impression. Sending a follow-up email demonstrates professionalism and enthusiasm for the position, leaving a positive impression on the hiring manager and potentially retaining you for future opportunities. It’s also somewhat indicative of your people skills and politeness.

Simply put, sending a thank you follow-up email after an interview shows good manners, packages your interview experience neatly, and, if crafted well, is a real opportunity for you to stand out to prospective employers one last time.

How Long After Your Interview Should You Send a Follow-Up Email?


If you put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes for just a minute, you’ll know how busy they are and how many people they see and interview every single day. Even if half of them weren’t even remotely qualified for the position, it’s likely the memories of those interviews will stick with the hiring manager at the end of the day. The lesson we can take from this is how important it is to take steps to solidify their impression of you and not get lost in a sea of other applicants vying for the same job.

How, you ask?

Timing. When it comes to memory, impressions, and very busy people, timing is either on your side or it’s not. The great thing about this is that you get to decide how you use timing to your advantage. Additionally, a well-timed follow-up email can help keep you fresh in the interviewer's mind and potentially sway their decision in your favor. The golden rule for when to send a follow-up email after an interview is 24 hours. Try sending your email on the same day as your interview, but don’t fret if it’s not possible. Interviewed on a Friday? A follow-up email sent the following Monday will do just fine.

If you really, really want them to see your email, here’s a pro tip: If your interview was on a Friday, send out the email Monday morning around 9. You can schedule the time for your email to go out as well if you want to make sure things go as planned (don’t go overboard, though). Here’s why: On Monday by 9, they will likely have arrived at the office. When they open their inbox, chances are your email is at the top of the list. If you sent it on Friday evening, it’ll be at the very bottom. It’ll be the email they read just before they reward themselves with a coffee for having made it through all those annoying emails that piled up over the weekend (you’re catching my drift, right?). It’s a small thing, but psychologically speaking, it’ll be better received if it’s the first thing on Monday morning and not the last thing keeping them from coffee.

What Should Your Follow-Up Email NOT Include


Sending a thank you email after a job interview is a great way to make a good impression, but beware! There are some important rules to keep in mind that, if ignored, could foil your efforts to land your dream job, like spelling and grammar errors, apologizing profusely for something that happened during the interview, using a dodgy old email account from your past life as hotguy123@gmail.com, using slang or making inapropriate jokes, or falling into the trap of using spam triggers.

1. Spelling & Grammar Errors

A follow-up thank you email after a job interview sends the right message. Add a sprinkling of spelling and grammar errors, and your follow-up email becomes a lasting testimony to the fact that, to paraphrase Derek Zoolander, “You can’t read good,” that you were rushed when you wrote it, or that you didn’t bother to take the time to proofread it before you sent it.

Breathe, take your time writing your follow-up email, and check it multiple times before you send it. Even better, get a friend or family member to look over it, too!

2. Unnecessary Apologies

Unless you performed some sort of heinous act (in which case sending a follow-up email won’t be on your list of priorities), apologizing will only serve to remind your interviewer of the event and could highlight for them that you’re one to sweat the small stuff. Express gratitude for the interview and reaffirm interest in the position. Use a follow-up email to highlight additional qualifications, potentially influencing the hiring decision. Leaving out the apologies is likely better, and if you feel truly compelled to refer back to an embarrassing or unpleasant experience from your interview, show gratitude instead of remorse.

Example: Apology: I’m so sorry for talking so much during my interview. Gratitude: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

3. Use a Personal, but Professional Email Address

Never send job applications or interview follow-ups from a work email account. This not only signals to the recruiter that you don’t respect your current employer but also that you have no qualms about handling personal tasks during your working hours. Should these emails be accessed by your boss, their contents could signal the same to them, with the added risk of compromising your current job or any character references you may want to request in the future. Finally, if you do land the job, you’ll be quitting your old job and won’t have access to those emails any more. It’s just not good business.

On the subject of dodgy emails, it might have been cool to have a risqué or hilarious fart-joke email address when you were sixteen. Depending on who you are now, it could still be okay, but stay a mile away from these accounts when applying for jobs or sending follow-up emails. The head of recruitment at Your Dream Job does not want to hear from beachbabe23@yahoo.com or kinkyboots@gmail.com.

Don’t do it.

Just don’t.

4. Avoid Using Slang & Jokes

An interview offers a totally different dynamic than a one-way email. In an interview, you can read the room, crack a smile, or chime in with a funny quip or joke if the timing is right. But you can’t tell what mood the interviewer will be in when they get your follow-up email. You also can’t tell how they will read it. Jokes are at least 30% tone of voice. Which doesn’t translate in writing. The same goes for using slang; you just can’t guarantee how it will be received, even if it was totally appropriate during the interview.

Play it safe with your follow-up email, and avoid using any type of slang or cracking jokes that may not be well received. You could otherwise come across as disrespectful, unprofessional, or cavalier.

5. Steer Clear of Spam or Bounce Triggers

We’ve already covered the bit about using a dodgy email account, but what other spam or bounce triggers can you avoid when sending your follow-up emails?

The best way to keep your follow-up email from going to spam or bouncing altogether is to keep the entire communication, from subject line to signature, clean and simple. That means no emojis and special characters in the subject line, no use of emojis in the body of the email, and no huge attachments or crazy links.

10 Simple Steps to Writing the Perfect Follow-Up Email After an Interview


Let’s sum it up and wrap it up. These 10 steps will help you write the perfect follow-up email after your interview and hopefully help you land that job!

  1. Keep it short and simple.
  2. Stick to a clutter-free subject line.
  3. Err on the side of formality for your greeting.
  4. Express your thanks without gushing.
  5. Indicate your continued interest in the position.
  6. Highlight how you are best positioned to be of service in this role.
  7. Be open to further questions or requests for more information.
  8. Sign off with a formal greeting, including your contact information.
  9. Check the spelling and grammar.
  10. Check again!

We are keeping our fingers crossed for you! You can do it!

Jennifer Rees
UX Writer