The follow-up email
After a job interview, it is only natural to want an update on the hiring process, particularly if you feel it went well. However, there are several potential pitfalls to avoid when sending a follow-up email after the interview.
If you come across as pushy, sloppy or too informal, then you could damage your chances of landing the job. It is best to send a thank you email within 24–72 hours of your interview. Doing so demonstrates your interest in the job. It also keeps you at the forefront of the minds of those who you met with as they consider other candidates.
Recruiters at Michael Page advise: ‘Leave a little time for the dust to settle. There is a good chance your interviewer is speaking to other trainees, so there is little to be gained from contacting them on the day. Wait a few days before sending that all-important follow-up.’
It is crucial to be disciplined when sending your follow-up email – that said, there is no need to spend hours deliberating over the correspondence.
The most effective approach that is likely to get your message opened quickly is to respond to the most recent email between you and the interviewer or HR manager.
If this isn't possible (maybe you have always communicated via a recruiter, rather than directly with the interviewer), simply include your name, the date and time of the interview.
Use this as an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role. You could even explain that, upon meeting with them and learning more about the opportunity, you are even keener than before, and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Keep it simple. Presumably, the main reason you are emailing is for a progress update – the interviewer will know this before they have even opened your message.
Thank them for their time in the interview. Explain that you are following up on your interview – remember to be specific about the job, mentioning the job title and interview date.
Restate your interest in the position and say you are keen to hear about the next steps. Ask for a progress update, explaining that any information they can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Having made your point in the main body of your follow-up email, sign off by inviting your interviewer to ask any additional questions. Close with a simple 'looking forward to hearing from you', and then a 'thank you', followed by your full name.
Do not send your note without reading it through a few times to make sure there are no typos. Running it through a spellchecker should help. Sending a note with mistakes is going to accomplish the opposite of what you want – you will distinguish yourself for the wrong reason. You might ask a trusted friend to review it as well.
Ensure it is well spaced too and make sure you sound genuine in your note – consider what you might say if you were saying thank you in person to make the email a little more personal. Even a formal thank you email after an interview should sound like it is from a real person, and not simply lifted off a template.
This article was first published in the August 2019 edition of Student Accountant magazine