If you’re fortunate enough to get a job interview, you’ve !passed the first test! Think of it as completing your midterm exams, and preparing for your interview is like prepping for the finals. The stakes are a little different, but the energy you should put into preparing for your job interview should be the same as for a big exam.
There is one major difference, though, and it’s an important one. You wouldn’t send your professor a thank you email if you failed or didn’t do well on your final. But when you finish a job interview, no matter how it went, you need to send a follow-up email. It may seem like a small deal, but it isn’t. When employers make decisions on who to hire, especially at the interview phase, the degree of separation between candidates is often tiny. A follow-up email can be the difference between you getting the job or not—and that’s true even if the interview didn’t go as well as you wanted it to.
Interviews are hard, right? You probably had a tough time trying to sleep the night before and maybe even still feel the nerves that bubbled in your gut the entire interview. You feel grateful to have gotten through it without sweating through your shirt.
It’s a lot, we get it. But even with all of that happening, you need to take some time to craft a follow-up email. There are three reasons why following up after an interview is important:
Also, a follow-up email shows you care. It lets the employer know this job is important to you and you’re eager to make an impact within their company.
There are different circumstances in which you need to send a follow up email. Let’s go through them one by one. Make sure to follow our do’s and dont’s of interview thank you emails before sending anything out.
This is the standard follow-up email you should send after any and all of your interviews. What you’re doing is thanking the employer for their time, recapping select points from your interview, and letting them know that you’re looking forward to next steps.
The post-interview thank you email should be sent within 24 hours of completing your interview. Keep it brief and to the point, but don’t make it cold. Refer to the interviewer by name and, although you should always be professional, the language you use shouldn’t be stuffy. Show off a bit of your personality.
Here’s an example of a thank you email:
Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me yesterday morning. I learned so much about the junior design position and what you would expect from me should I be chosen to work for your company. It was cool to know that your daughter is also in university. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for when she starts looking for full-time work.
Thanks again for the opportunity and I look forward to hearing about next steps.
Have a great afternoon,
There’s another form of follow-up email that’s a bit more specific. After the more general, post-interview email, you may want to send a follow up to learn more about how you performed and if you actually got the job.
Most hiring managers will provide a date when you can expect to hear back from them. If you haven’t heard back by that date, it’s a good idea to send a follow-up email. There are a couple of points you want to touch on in this follow up:
It’s possible the employer hasn’t gotten around to making a decision on who they want (hiring processes have a habit of dragging on longer than expected or getting sidelined when urgent priorities arise), or maybe they’ve already chosen their candidate. Either way, it’s not your job to guess. Send an email and be sure.
Here’s an example of a follow-up email to send when you haven’t heard back from an employer:
Hello Kendra and Anna,
Hope you're getting through the interviews OK. You mentioned this was your last week speaking with candidates, so just curious where you are with the process? I'm hoping we'll have the opportunity to work together to do some good. Either way, was there something more you wanted to see from me? Maybe I can provide some more context about my experience.
Anyway, just checking in. Hope you've both had a great weekend and that your week is off to a good start.
Have a great afternoon,
Tough pill to swallow, right? You put a lot of time and effort into preparing for your interview and you thought it went well––and it probably did. Sometimes, these things just don’t work out for a number of reasons. That’s OK.
What’s not OK is letting your disappointment prevent you from sending a follow-up email. No, you didn’t get this job, but that doesn’t mean you’re barred from future consideration. You should be strategic around how to handle an interview that went badly. Like we’ve mentioned several times already, the separation between candidates is usually small, so this employer likely still recognizes your value even though they didn’t hire you.
After the interview, send an email thanking them for their time and considering you. You can use this template as a guide:
Although I’m disappointed you decided to go in a different direction, I’m happy you considered me. I still believe I’m a great fit for your company and can deliver on a lot of the duties we spoke about. If anything changes, or if there are other opportunities you think match my skill set and capabilities, please let me know.
Thanks again for giving me a chance.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to send follow-up emails after an interview. To make it easy for you, Prepped has designed post-interview email templates you can use after your next interview. What’s even more exciting is our AI Interviewer. It gives feedback on your pacing, facial expression and energy levels so you can walk into your next interview like you’re already hired.
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