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How to Follow Up After an Interview

Friday | September 22, 2017 | by Beth Clarke

Man discussing business on the telephone

If you have read articles or attended workshops on how to do well in an interview, you have likely heard that it is important to ask for the interviewer’s business card and follow up afterward. Following up is essential not only for learning the outcome of your interview and potential next steps, but it is also an opportunity for you to remind the interviewer of your skill set and position yourself as the best candidate for the job. Surprisingly, this step is often overlooked by many job seekers; therefore, it provides those who do follow up with an opportunity to stand out.

The following sections provide three key steps in conducting an effective follow-up.

The Thank-You Letter

Thanking your interviewer is an essential step. You should send a thank-you note 24 to 48 hours after the interview. With the right message, thank-you emails show professionalism and let the interviewer know that you appreciate their time. They also provide you with an opportunity to reinforce key points you made in the interview and allow you to mention things that you might have forgotten to mention. The letter does not need to be long, but it should add to the interviewer’s impression of you.

Here’s an example:

Dear Ms. Chan,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday to discuss my suitability for the Marketing Manager position you have available. It was a pleasure meeting you and your team, and the experience has confirmed my enthusiasm for this opportunity.

I was excited to learn about your company’s plans to expand into direct sales marketing because in my past work I have enjoyed the challenge of mapping the customer experience. Specifically, I enjoy finding efficiencies and improving service for customers. I think my experience in this area will be an asset to your organization as you move into this new line of business.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding the next steps in your process and to continuing our conversation.

Sincerely,

Jason Burton

The Follow-Up Inquiry

It is good etiquette to follow up on unanswered questions after a business meeting. This holds true for interviews as well. Ideally, time your follow-up for two to three days after you were expecting to hear from the interviewer. If you follow up too early, the interviewer may interpret your email as pushy. Following up too late may lead to a missed opportunity. Following up provides an opportunity to get updated on what is happening in the hiring process, which may, in turn, relieve some of the stress associated with the job search. It will also demonstrate that you are a professional who is unafraid to take the initiative.

Here’s an example:

Dear Ms. Chan,

I hope this email finds you well!

When we met, you mentioned that you anticipated making a decision regarding which candidates would be selected to participate in the next round of interviews by the end of last week. I am still very interested in pursuing this opportunity and feel that my experience managing multi-national marketing teams will allow me to make an immediate contribution to your team.

Would you like to arrange a second meeting to discuss my qualifications further? You can reach me at [phone number] to schedule a time to speak. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Jason Burton

The Request for Feedback

You may need to go on several interviews before you find the right position. Look at each interview you attend as a learning experience.

Ask yourself:

  • What did I do well?
  • What could I have handled differently?
  • Were any questions hard to answer?
  • Were my examples specific enough?

Self-reflection helps you assess how you did; however, it is also valuable to seek input from those who have interviewed you. It is important to note that not all interviewers will be comfortable providing you with insight and some companies may have policies that prevent them from doing so. Still, some interviewers are willing to provide general feedback on your interview performance, which can be quite useful as you hone your interview skills.

Here’s an example:

Dear Ms. Chan,

Thank you for letting me know that I was not selected to move forward in my candidacy for the Marketing Manager role. Although I am disappointed that I was not selected at this time, I do want to thank you again for considering my application.

As someone committed to ongoing learning, I was hoping you might be willing to provide me with some feedback on my interview. Would you be available to speak with me for five minutes to give me some insight into areas that I might be able to improve upon for future?

I am available next Tuesday afternoon for a quick conversation, or please feel free to suggest a time that works better for you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jason Burton

The Closure

Regardless of the outcome of your interview, it is a good idea to maintain professional communication. You never know when you might meet this person again. Reiterate your interest in the company and any suitable future positions. You might also consider asking to stay in touch if you think this individual could be beneficial in your business network.

Here’s an example:

Dear Ms. Chan;

Thank you for letting me know that I was not selected to move forward in my candidacy for the Marketing Manager position.

Although I am disappointed to hear that I was not selected at this time, I want to thank you again for considering me for the role and reiterate my interest in working for your organization. Your company’s mission and values align well with my personal goals and values, and I hope that you might consider me for any suitable future opportunities.

If you are willing, I would like to stay in touch and will send an invitation to connect via LinkedIn.

Sincerely,

Jason Burton

For more examples on how to follow up, check out The Balance for advice and many more examples on how to effectively follow-up.

Beth Clarke

Beth Clarke is Director of Strategic Partnerships at WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.