After you’ve interviewed for a job, writing an email to follow up can show the hiring team that you already have the soft skills necessary for the workplace. Learning how to write a follow-up email after an interview can be daunting at first, but it’s fairly simple once you understand the standard format.
A follow-up email doesn’t have to be long, but a well-crafted message can improve your chances of moving forward in the hiring process.
There are a number of components to a proper follow-up email, so let’s take a look at each one to ensure you send a message that increases your chances of getting the gig.
It’s possible that you met a number of different people during your interview process and aren’t sure to who you should send your follow-up email.
A good choice is to reach out to the individual that said they would be in touch once the interview was over. You can also send the message to the person that was your primary contact in scheduling the interview.
When crafting the subject line of your follow-up email, you’ll want to keep it clear and concise. The goal is for the recipient to immediately understand what the message is about.
How quickly your email is opened and if it’s opened at all will be determined in large part by your subject line.
To be clear, you might not need to write a subject line at all if there is an obvious e-mail thread that you can reply to. For example, if there is an email exchange through which your interview was scheduled, you can simply reply to the message and leave the existing subject line.
This is a good tactic because it will increase the likelihood that your message will be read. The recipient will have a clear sense that you are someone they have already communicated with, rather than a person sending a cold email. It will also be easily apparent what the message is about.
If there isn’t an existing e-mail thread, you can use a variation of one of the following:
Depending on the type of interview, how big the company is, how many other candidates there are, and other factors, you can select the subject line from this list that you feel best fits your circumstance.
Since you’ve already had an interview, it’s best to address the recipient by their name rather than a generic "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern."
You can do this by simply saying “Dear [interviewer’s name]” or replacing "Dear" with “Hello,” “To,” “Hi,” or “Good morning/afternoon/evening.” “Hi” is a bit more informal than the other options, so you’ll only want to use that if it’s clear that a casual greeting is appropriate.
In the opening paragraph of your email, you’ll want to mention the specific position you interviewed for, and thank them for taking the time to meet with you. On top of that, you’ll want to make it clear that you continue to be interested in both the particular job and the company as a whole.
After your opening paragraph, be sure to mention the name of the company in addition to a goal or topic of conversation that you felt the person you spoke with found particularly important.
You can then draw a connection between that point and your own interests and experience. You’ll want to find the sweet spot between being as specific as you can while also being concise in your message.
In your closing paragraph, craft a statement that summarizes why you stand apart as an applicant for the position.
You can point out what you’ll bring to the role and company. At the same time, offer them the opportunity to ask you any questions that might have.
In your final sentence, let them know you are looking forward to their response. Check out this recent post about how to end an email for more tips about signing off.
You’ll want to finish your email with a professional sign-off. There are a number of closings that are both friendly and professional, including:
Depending on the interactions you had with the employer or hiring manager, you might choose to sign off with both your first and last name or simply your first name. You might find that the company culture or industry calls for a more informal sign-off in the form of your first name, or you might decide that a more formal approach is appropriate.
If you’re not sure what to do, judge by the emails you’ve been exchanging with the hiring manager in the past. If the standard appears to be addressing each other on a first-name basis, you might choose to only sign off with your first name. When you're unsure, though, your safest bet is sticking with full names in your initial greeting and sign-off.
It’s important to show that you are excited about the position you interviewed for and that you are grateful for the opportunity to speak with a hiring manager. When you send a follow-up email, you are increasing the probability that you will get to the next round of the interview process and receive an offer for the job down the line.
Displaying that you have strong soft skills is important when applying for a job, and you can do this in a follow-up email by thanking the recipient for their time, showing your enthusiasm for the position, and recounting anecdotes from your previous interactions.
Hiring managers know that it is much more difficult to teach soft skills in the workplace, so displaying your mastery of things like active listening, communication, and respect can go a long way.
Finally, sending a follow-up email can also help to make you more memorable to the interviewer. There’s a high likelihood that many people have applied for the same position you did, and you want to do what you can to stand out. Not everyone will follow up after the interview, and doing so can help ensure that your name is at the top of the hiring team's minds when they are making their final decision.
Immediately after your job interview, you might be wondering how soon is too soon to get back in touch. In general, the answer is: the sooner, the better. It’s advised that anytime within the first twenty-four hours after the interview is best when sending a follow-up.
Of course, you don’t want to cross the line by harassing your potential employer if you haven’t heard back in a while.
After you’ve sent your follow-up email, hold off for two weeks before sending a “checking-in” email. This is best left as a brief message that offers a gentle nudge for an update and reiterates that you’re still interested in the position.
If you still don’t receive a response after that, you can wait several more weeks before sending a “staying in touch” email. This is an opportunity to remind the hiring team that you are still interested in the job. It’s possible that they take a while to make their decision and you’re still in the running, or maybe they’ve already selected someone else for the position. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to get some more practice with your soft skills.
Looking for more tips on how to write better emails? Check out our library of articles on how to write better.