It’s been a week or so since your interview and there’s nothing but crickets in your inbox or phone. You want answers!
Luckily, there are key elements you can include in a follow-up email that will get your potential employer/recruiter/HR representative to notice you and provide you with some clarity on the status of your interview. Let’s talk about it.
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The subject line
This is an extremely important element of the follow-up email. If your subject line doesn’t catch their eye to open it, writing this email will be pointless. I usually use this subject line to make sure my recipient notices my email:
[first name] [last name] [job title] interview follow-up
You want your full name in as many places as possible throughout the entire interview process so they remember it. This subject line above is clean, simple, and direct. It tells your recipient who you are, what role you interviewed for, and exactly what the email is (an interview follow-up). That’s all you need from my experience.
Even though it’s only a couple words, your greeting is important because you want to be specific.
- If you have the name and email of the people or person who interviewed you AND a semi-casual tone is appropriate, then I suggest writing this:
- If you have the name and email of the people or person who interviewed you AND a formal tone is more appropriate, then I suggest writing this:
The colon is used in more formal settings rather than a comma and you don’t have to start with “Dear” or “Hi”, but you can if you want to.
- If you only have the name of the recruiter or HR professional, use either the semi-formal or formal greeting for them (depending on what is appropriate) and request that they forward your follow-up message to the right person or people. Then tab down and begin your greeting in the way that best matches a situation above.
I have recently been paying more attention to when I am tempted to write “just” in the first sentence of my emails (not only interview follow-up emails). When you start an email saying, “I just wanted to follow up on…”, “just” weakens the sentence immediately. But when you write, “I wanted to follow up on…”, you are more direct and to the point. And this is your chance to sound confident! So, no need for “just”.
Now for the actual message:
- You want to summarize the position you are applying for and the date you interviewed. Don’t make them work to look back in their notes for all of your details.
- Next, you want to reiterate why you are so interested in this opportunity and a brief note about why you’re qualified.
- Then, refer to your attached resume, cover letter, writing samples, and anything else you used during the interview and application process. This will again prevent them from having to dig through their notes to remind them of who you are.
Keep the body of your email brief—it doesn’t have to be an essay, just a simple reminder of who you are and why you are fit for the role.
Now for the salutation and signature. I usually used “Best” or “Sincerely” for my salutation, but you can use what you think is best based on how formal or casual the interview was.
THEN write your full name AND your phone number below your name. This will also prevent them from having to look through their notes to find your number if they want to contact you. It’s a simple detail that makes their job easier by making your contact information more in reach. We don’t want anyone having to work to find this information.
When do I send it?
If your interviewer gave you a timeframe of when they would get back to you, I would email them around that time. If they didn’t have a specific timeframe, I would wait about a week. Simple as that.
The check list
To pull it all together, don’t forget to include these important components to your interview follow-up email:
- Write your subject line with your full name, the title you interviewed for, and “interview follow-up”.
- Include a specific person or people in your greeting.
- Don’t write “just” in your opening line.
- In the body of your email, include why you are most qualified and why you want the position.
- Attach your interview/application materials (resume, cover letter, writing samples, etc.).
- Write a nice salutation at the end.
- Write your full name for the signature (first and last).
- Write your phone number below your name.
The main takeaway
The purpose behind these follow-up email strategies is to:
- Remind them that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity
- Remind them of your qualifications
- Remind them that you want this job very bad
- Remind them who you are
By creating the email how I outlined above, it will accomplish all of these items AND not make your potential employer work to access your information. It’s kind of like marketing in a sense—you don’t want people to have to work too hard to get them to take action or find what they’re looking for.
For example, when you want to receive more phone calls for your brand, you won’t hide your phone number on a random page within your website. You’ll have the phone number front and center either on the home page or in the header. The same goes with the application/interview process, including the follow-up email.
A thoughtful, impactful follow-up email will also show your potential employer how much you want this job. If you’re up against other people who are qualified for the role, but you are the one who is being thorough and showing your enthusiasm, that’s going to make a difference. It’s likely that employers would rather choose the more enthusiastic candidate in a pool of candidates with similar experience.
Here is one example of how I might write a follow-up email:
Subject: Becca Phengvath content writer interview follow-up
It was a pleasure meeting with you on [interview date] for the content writer opportunity. I wanted to follow up if there is anything more I can do for you.
Again, I am still confident that I would be a great addition to the team due to my diverse writing background that I can apply to this role such as blogging, social media, and email marketing skills.
Please see my resume and cover letter attached and see my writing portfolio here. I look forward to hearing back from you!
Show them what you got
If you can include all of these elements discussed here within your follow-up email, you will certainly impress your potential employer with your thoroughness and successfully remind them that you are excited and qualified for the opportunity!
Applying and interviewing for a new job is exhausting and sometimes discouraging. But keep pushing forward. You are that much closer to your next opportunity with each interview and job application.
Let’s do this!
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