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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 and Italian.

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

There aren’t many aspects of life that haven’t somehow been affected by technology and the digital revolution, which makes the human touch, diligent timing, and thoughtfulness critical 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.

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

 

Sending a quick thank you email to the recruitment or hiring manager after your interview might seem like the obvious thing to do, but did you know that more than half of all interviewees don’t? That means 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 think about the long-term when you’re sending a follow-up email after an interview. Even if you feel your interview didn’t go well, a follow-up email is one last chance to show up for yourself and make a lasting impression. It may never pay off in the literal sense, but it goes a long way to show character and build a connection with a recruiter who might just be in touch about a vacancy in the future.

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. 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 whether you use timing to your advantage. 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.

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 niggly no-nos that 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 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 offending event and could highlight for them that you’re one to sweat the small stuff. So rather leave out the apologies 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 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 future.

On the subject of dodgy emails, it might have been cool to have a risque 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 to 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. 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 received well. 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 limited or no emojis and special characters in the subject line, minimal or 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

 
  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 spelling and grammar.

  10. Check again!

Jennifer Rees
Jen
UX Writer