This guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of following up after your job interview.
The post-job-interview follow-up can be a tricky thing to figure out, especially for the socially anxious. Should I call? Should I send a physical letter, or will an email suffice? How soon should I get back in touch?
In this, our guide to following up after a job interview, we’ll try our best to answer a few of these questions for you and give you a little insight into the rationale behind these answers.
First, we’ll start with an example of a job interview thank you letter:
I’ve been a textbook writer at Important Textbook Conglomerate, Inc., for over seven years now, and during that time I’ve contributed work to textbooks in nearly a dozen subjects. I’m very interested in the idea of writing for your company, and specifically with the project you’re working on involving marine biology.
Before our talk, I never realized just how much of a need there was for a textbook focused entirely on the similarities between deep sea invertebrates and the domestic dog, but since we discussed it I just can’t stop thinking about it. A year ago I worked on a book that compared porpoises and domestic cats, an experience which I believe will help me bring a lot to the table when it comes to this new project you’re embarking upon.
If you have any other questions for me, or if you’d like me to send you some additional writing samples, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Larry “The Burgmeister” Burger
Senior Textbook Writer at ITC
Study after study has been done on the subject, and the numbers don’t lie; it’s always better to follow up a job interview with some form or another.
A 2011 CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers revealed some interesting details about employers’ thoughts on the subject. According to the study, 22% of employers are less likely to hire someone if they don’t follow up their interview with a thank you note.
In a similar survey from Accountemps, it was found that 91% of hiring managers liked being thanked after an interview.
Of the total amount who were surveyed 59% rated sending a thank you note as being “very helpful” in terms increasing a potential employee’s chances of being hired.
Based on this information, there’s no reason you shouldn’t follow up in some form or another. But is one method better than the others?
In the same Accountemps survey, hiring managers were asked about both which methods they preferred to receive follow-ups through as well as what methods were most commonly used.
For both of these questions, the top answer was always “email”, followed closely by “phone”.
Other methods, such as “handwritten note,” “social media,” and “text message,” were all listed as survey answers, but received considerably lower results — particularly “text message,” which only 10% of those surveyed listed as an appropriate way to follow up with a hiring manager.
In this section, we’ll discuss what sort of information you should try to include in any sort of follow-up you make with an employer.
While this information is largely geared toward a thank-you letter email, much of it can easily be applied to a phone call follow-up, as the same information should be brought up regardless of how you’re initiating contact. However, there are a couple of caveats to this.
For one thing, odds are that a phone conversation is going to be a lot shorter than any sort of email follow-up. It just doesn’t make sense in most follow-up phone calls to talk about the specifics of the position, or to go on at length about things you’re looking forward to.
The hiring manager may not have the time in their day to have such a conversation, on top of which there’s the fact that a more natural conversation would just involve you reminding the hiring manager who you are and asking about how the hiring process is going in terms of that position. Any other conversation that would occur would have to spring naturally from this, and so you’d be hindered by whether or not the other person was actually interested in going down that particular thread of interaction.
Secondly, the phone follow-up is listed a bit lower on the survey in terms of appropriateness, in addition to which you will have a harder time planning out your response in any real methodical way. So unless you have a compelling reason to use a phone call as a follow-up — such as not having your potential employer’s email address, or feeling more comfortable responding over phone — we’d recommend going the email route.
Now onto the advice.
As a rule, there are a few things you’re going to want to mention during your thank you note:
1. This may sound simple, make sure that you do in fact say “Thank you,” preferably near the beginning of the letter. Thank them first of all for taking the time out of their day to speak with you, then try to follow that up by mentioning something that you talked about with them.
Specific details about the position could work here, but even better would be details from a more personal conversation that you may have had during your interview; a shared love of sports, or a TV show you both watched.Something that reminds the hiring manager that they liked you and had some sort of brief connection with you as a person, or that makes you stand out in their mind.
2. Next, try to make some kind of impact on your hiring manager by talking about something job-related that you’re looking forward to about the prospective position.
3. Mention specifically that you’re looking forward to the possibility of working with them.
4. Next, you want to talk about something specific to the job itself. What drew you to apply to this position in the first place? What sort of experience do you have that would be good to reiterate here? What interests you most about the position? Anything you can think of that would continue to help humanize you as well as give the hiring manager more context for the experience that they already know you to have would be remarkably helpful here.
5. Next, you want to start concluding your letter. What’s important in this section is that you make yourself available to your employer by giving yourself an excuse to restate your contact information.
The easiest way to do this is to simply tell them that if they have any other questions for you that they can contact you at [insert your email address/phone number/contact info here].
For most positions, the odds are very low that they will have any follow-up questions per se, but the offer helps make you seem eager for the position while still allowing them the space to contact you at their leisure.
6. Thank them again, if you can think of a non-awkward way to do so.
7. And that’s it! Send it away. Pray, if you pray. Take a minute to breathe. Then, try to relax and go about your life as normal.
At this point, they’ll contact you if they’re interested. You don’t really want to send anything else to them until they respond first; if you do, you might run the risk of coming off as socially inept, or at the very least a bit too overeager.
We’ve put together a sample of what the thank you letter itself might look like.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on Monday about the textbook writing position. I enjoyed our conversation and am looking forward to the possibility of working with you.
I’ve been a textbook writer at Important Textbook Conglomerate, Inc., for over seven years now, and during that time I’ve contributed work to textbooks in nearly a dozen subjects. I’m very interested in the idea of writing for your company, and specifically with the project you’re working on involving marine biology. Before our talk, I never realized just how much of a need there was for a textbook focused entirely on the similarities between deep sea invertebrates and the domestic dog, but since we discussed it I just can’t stop thinking about it. A year ago I worked on a book that compared porpoises and domestic cats, an experience which I believe will help me bring a lot to the table when it comes to this new project you’re embarking upon.
If you have any other questions for me, or if you’d like me to send you some additional writing samples, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me; my email is email@example.com, and you can also reach me by phone at (555) 123-4567. Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Larry “The Burgmeister” Burger
Senior Textbook Writer at ITC
For some people, following up on their interview will be a breeze. It’ll be a natural impulse for them; they’ll knock out the email in a couple of minutes, or make the phone call while barely even thinking about it.
Congratulations to them. We hate these people.
For everyone else, the follow-up email or phone call is a source of much dread and anticipation, and either option may be equally anxiety-inducing, especially if they feel like they’re a bad writer.
Best of luck! And if you’re looking for more information about any position, take a look at more of our website, where we have information on different careers from Accountants to Zumba Instructors. Check us out.
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