Stand out with an amazing thank you email —but don’t stop there. What you do AFTER you send it can get you hired. Use these little-known but proven tips to follow up after your interview and get the job.
Just like your job interview, your thank you note and follow up after the interview is a conversation. If you say the right things to continue the conversation, you stand out from the other candidates and absolutely boost your chances of getting the job.
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What the best thank you notes say
What to do if they say 'we'll call you' and they don't
What to say if they say 'we haven't made a decision yet'
What to do if they say 'we're moving forward with someone else'
You have much more influence over this process than you know. If they like you already, you can boost your value to them (and possibly your starting salary) with this information.
If they are on the fence about you, you can save your job offer with a good thank you note and follow up plan. I have seen many people save job offers they thought they'd lost with this information.
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This is your foolproof plan for what to do after your next job interview.
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How should you follow up after a phone interview? If you think that your follow up is the face-to-face interview (if you get it), you are making a mistake.
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Following up after telephone interviews is just as important as following up after face-to-face interviews—whether or not you are moving forward. Why? It shows your professionalism and good manners. If you’re moving forward, it puts an additional shine on you as a candidate before you come in, and influences the interviewer’s positive opinion of you. If you’re not moving forward, it lays the foundation for a potential positive outcome to be determined in the future. Maybe they’ll have another position that’s a better fit later on, maybe they’ll recommend you to someone else….you never know.
Many people have heard that they should send a thank-you email to an interviewer, but a surprisingly large number of job seekers don’t bother. They’re wasting the perfect opportunity to show that they respect the interviewer's time, that they’re enthusiastic about and highly interested in the job, and that their skills are a perfect match. You stand out with your good manners AND you get one more shot at selling yourself for the job. What could be better?
As far as thank-you letter format is concerned, you can keep it simple. But don’t just send a short email that says: “Thanks for the interview. I appreciate the time you took to interview me. I am very interested in working for you and look forward to hearing from you about this position.” You’ll still stand out from other candidates, even with this short note, but you’re losing a prime opportunity to boost your chance of getting a job. A longer email allows you to point out a key substantial item or two in your favor.
Always begin with the pleasantries: mention how you enjoyed talking to them, additional thoughts about how you and your skills are a great fit, and what you learned from the interview that makes you even more enthusiastic about working for the company. Be specific.
Send a thank-you note even if the job interview didn’t go so well. The thank-you note provides the perfect opportunity for damage control. Don’t write a book, but feel free to address issues like misconceptions and things you forgot.
Be sure to send a personalized note to everyone you spoke with about the job. For example, if you were interviewed by a panel, make sure you send a message to each person on the panel.
Here’s an example of an effective thank you letter format.
Don’t forget: The most successful job-seekers send a thank-you letter soon after a job interview—within 24 hours. To get it there that fast, you have to send it by email.
If you can send a strong thank you note like this within a day of your interview, you will be making the smartest follow up move you can make.
Having survived the interview, you would be dead wrong to think your mission is now to just sit and wait. While it can be said that good things come to those that wait, when it comes to job searches, being bold has even greater rewards.
The most common mistake job candidates make is not following up the interview with a Thank You email. This often overlooked courtesy is too great an opportunity to sell yourself for the job one more time and stand out from your competition.
Sending a thank you note to follow up after a job interview remains a fundamental necessity to a successful job search, but the delivery method has changed. While every hiring manager surely appreciates a beautiful hand-written note and may even be impressed with the fancy art museum stationary you chose, it has become necessary in the fast paced modern world to send an email rather than rely on snail mail. Hiring decisions can be made very quickly, and you have to move quickly, too.
Who should you send a note to? Go back to your interview and make a list off the people you spoke with. You should have gotten the business cards of the people you interviewed with, whether that was just the hiring manager, a panel of managers, the HR representative, your future co-workers, everyone.
Just be sure to send an individualized note to each person that addresses what you spoke about with them personally. Do NOT send the same ‘form’ letter to everyone. They will compare notes. It will give them the impression you don’t care and your conversation with them was not very memorable…not the impression you want to give.
Show some gratitude for them taking their time to speak with you. Remind them how your skills will benefit them, take the opportunity to clarify or expand on something you talked about in the interview, and say when you’ll follow up with a phone call. Tailor the content to your experience (like you did with your resume). For example, you can give them feedback on an issue discussed in the interview that you had time to think about and possibly add to a question they posed that you might not have been able to answer completely at the time. If you want to send an attachment of your updated 30-60-90 Day Plan, the simplicity of the email format allows this where a handwritten note does not.
They took the time to talk to you, now you need to take the time to thank them. Doing so will not only prove that are thoughtful, eager, and thorough, but that you are a candidate that stands out from the crowd and will probably continue to do so after being hired.
Thank you notes make you stand out from your competition after the interview
Send a substantial thank you note. Don't just say thanks. This is another selling opportunity here. Another chance to point out why you'd be a great fit. Tie it in with something you spoke about in the interview conversation. So mention that you enjoyed talking with them, add some additional thoughts about how you and your skills are a great fit, and what you learned makes you even more enthusiastic about working there.
Send your note by email, not snail mail. Thank you emails are entirely appropriate. They show you understand the speed of business and are comfortable with technology. And most importantly, they keep you in the conversation because lots of hiring decisions happen fast. You don't want them to make a decision while the post office still has your letter.
If you didn't get their email address, here's a trick: Use Google. Do a search of the general email addresses of the company. Type in a * and then @ plus whatever the name of the company is, so it looks like this: "*@thecompanyname.com". That should lead you to the address of everyone who works there, or at least show you how their email addresses are constructed.
Lots of job seekers underestimate just how important it is to say "thank you"....for the time, for the conversation, for the opportunity to meet. And it's also important that you get it to your interviewer fast: within 24 hours of your interview. A handwritten, snail-mailed note just won't do that. Send an email.
Why is it so important?
Hiring decisions (or decisions to offer a second interview) are often made very quickly. You don't want to lose an opportunity to sway their opinion in favor of hiring you.
What should it say?
It should address how much you appreciated the opportunity to meet with them, how much you enjoyed learning more about the organization, how you think your XYZ will really help them with their ABC, and how you’re looking forward to talking with them further.
Who should you send a note to?
Send a thank you email to everyone you speak with. They will be talking to each other about you, comparing notes. So make sure everyone you speak with gets one, and make sure they are tailored to the person you're writing it to about the conversation you had with them. A 'form letter' thank you is almost as bad as no thank you at all.
Thank you emails are a key piece of every interview process.
There is never a good reason not to send a thank you note after any interview. It doesn’t matter if you knocked it out of the park and they told you the job is yours already. (It’s never a done deal until the written offer is signed, sealed and delivered.) It doesn’t matter if it was only a phone interview. (Every interview matters.)
Why are thank you notes so important? It's all part of the interview follow up process. They give you one more chance to touch the hiring manager and make the case for hiring you. And they tell that hiring manager a lot about what kind of manners you have, what kind of communication skills you have, and if you are enthusiastic about this job. In many cases, it’s a tipping point. (See a sample thank you note for your job interview.)
One hiring manager called me a few days after a phone interview with one of my candidates. The manager felt that the candidate was qualified but was reluctant to say that he wanted to move the candidate forward. Then he asked if the candidate had talked with me after the interview and did the candidate ask for the hiring manager’s email address. Yes, I had talked with the candidate and no - she had not asked for the email address. That answer was the kiss of death for that candidate. That simple piece of information was the tipping point for him.
That particular job was in sales and marketing. Those managers often feel that if you don’t use all the tools to persuade them in your job search, you won’t use all of the tools you need to be successful in their position. If you’re in sales or marketing, not sending a thank you email gives them an excuse not to hire you.
In other jobs, the thank you note is a tipping point for other reasons. But it still can be the only thing separating you and another candidate in this competitive market. So use everything you can to influence them to hire you.
You'll find a lot of information still online about the importance of sending a handwritten, snail-mailed thank you note after your job interview. They usually talk about the 'personal' aspect of it, and how it will make you stand out even more because you took the time to write it.
I have been in recruiting and career coaching for about 15 years now, and I've talked with hundreds of hiring managers, and I'm telling you that you do not have to send a handwritten note. Just by sending a thank you note at all, you're already going to stand out. It would surprise you how many job seekers don't say thank you.
So why is a thank you email better than a handwritten thank you note?
Speed. Many hiring decisions are made very quickly in the interview process. Companies very often don't have weeks to make a decision. They need someone in that spot now. If you're convinced the note is the way to go, the best you can do is have it addressed and ready to mail immediately after your interview because speed matters. But sending an email is appropriate, it's fast, and it won't get lost in the mail ever.
Adaptability. It lends itself to one of my favorite tactics, which is sending an updated 30-60-90-day plan that includes all the stuff you talked over with the hiring manager in the interview. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, find out about30-60-90-day plans and create one for your next interview.)
Potential for ongoing communication. I've known of more than one hiring manager to continue the conversation with the candidate by responding to the email in a way that they never would with a handwritten thank you note. An email could open up a new conversation that gives you one more edge in the process.
Always send a thank you email after the interview!
Always email a thank you after every job interview
Never underestimate how important thank you letters are to the impression you make on the company in your job interview process.
I continue to be surprised by how many job seekers skip this step. But believe me, hiring managers notice if you don't send one. Not sending a thank you note makes you look like you don't care about getting that job.
It's not just a manners thing...although they matter a lot. In a contest between two equally qualified people, the one with the nice manners seems like a much more pleasant person to work with for the next few years.
Thank you letters serve several purposes for you besides politeness:
They get your name in front of the hiring manager one more time.
They are one more chance to sell yourself as the best, most qualified person for the job.
They show your ability to take in information (the interview) and provide feedback or new ideas about whatever problem or issue the company faces (why they need you). For example: “I thought about your concerns about how to handle xyz delivery issues, when I was a product manager at ABC corporation, we used………”
And always make sure your thank you note is sent as a thank you email. Handwritten thank-yous are nice, but e-mails are fast. Hiring decisions can be made quickly, and you don't want to miss your chance to influence it.