Following a job interview, it’s only natural to want to know how you performed and whether you’ll be progressing forward. While a good company will ensure open and quick communication throughout the process, it can also be advantageous to show your interest and proactive nature by sending a follow-up email.
On top of finding out where you stand, it is also considered best practice – it’s an opportunity to formally thank your interviewer, recruiter or HR manager for their time. Also, you may have some questions off the back of the deeper discussion you had about the role, which you should include in this email, too.
There are, however, some pitfalls when sending a follow-up. If you come across as demanding, pushy or unprofessional, you may end up ruining your chances of landing the job. So keep this front of mind – any form of communication to the interviewer during any stage of the interview process should be treated with a high level of professionalism on your part.
Here’s a useful guide and template for writing your follow-up email.
When to send your follow-up
Give it some time. There’s a good chance your interviewer is speaking to other candidates, so there’s little to be gained from contacting them on the same day you saw them.
Wait at least until the next day or so – try to gauge the timing of the hiring process during your interview to know how soon is too soon, or whether an immediate response is required – as this demonstrates you’ve had some time to reflect on what was discussed.
You may also find when you give yourself some time; follow-up questions will spring up naturally as you come up with more specific queries.
Related: 15 job interview mistakes to avoid
Tone of voice
The tone of voice can directly influence the outcome of your interview – studies have shown it has a measurable effect on the impression you make on an audience, and therefore, how you are viewed and perceived.
Regardless of how your interview went (it may have been more relaxed in tone than expected), you need to keep all follow-ups professional and courteous. Be clear about your message's purpose and respect the interviewer’s time by not sending a lengthy email containing small talk or anything else that’s unnecessary.
What it needs to include
It’s important to be disciplined when sending your follow-up email. Follow this guide for a simple, professional message to make another good impression and increase your chances of receiving a response.
There’s no need to spend ages deliberating over a snappy subject line. The most effective approach is to respond to the most recent email between you and the interviewer, recruiter or HR manager.
A standard format is, “Re: Interview on <date> at <time>”.
If you’re on first-name terms with the person you’re contacting then it’s acceptable to open your follow-up email by using their first name. If not, or if you’re unsure, use their title and surname to keep it formal.
Stick to these key points to ensure you stay on track. Thank them for their time and explain you’re following up on your interview. Remember to be specific about the job, mentioning the job title and interview date.
Ultimately, the main reason you’re emailing is for a progress update – the interviewer will know this before they’ve even opened your message. Use direct language while remaining polite.
Reaffirm your interest in the position and that you’re keen to hear about the next steps.
This is also the best time to raise any follow-up questions you have about the role.
Finally, ask for a progress update, explaining any information they can provide – such as when they will be contacting successful candidates for the next stage – 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, “Looking forward to hearing from you”, and then, “Thank you”, followed by your full name.
Reading over your email before sending isn’t always done, so failing to spend the time to do a final check may affect the impression you’ve made so far. Take the time to draft out one or two versions until you’re completely happy with it.
Ensure you’ve corrected any spelling or grammar errors, added missing punctuation and also check for formatting issues such as line-spacing. If you’re unsure, run it through spell check or get a friend to review it for you. One very useful tip is to read it out loud because you’ll easily pick up any mistakes when you hear them.
Use our follow-up email template
This template can be replicated or tailored for your follow-up email:
Subject: Re: Interview on <date> at <time>
Hi <Name of interviewer, recruiter or HR manager>,
Thank you for your time <yesterday/date of interview>. It was great to speak to you about the <job title> role, and following what we discussed, I’d like to express my strong interest in the position.
<Add any follow-up questions here but keep it brief>
I’m hoping to get an update on the recruitment process at this stage – any information you can provide about the next steps would be greatly appreciated.
Please feel free to also ask me any follow-up questions that may have come up since we last spoke.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
<Your full name>
Alternatives to a follow-up email
In the age of tech, social media and online platforms, email may not be the best medium for following up, particularly if you haven’t communicated with the interviewer via this channel before.
Depending on the job you’re applying for, some, or all of these alternatives may be more appropriate, so use your judgment by sticking to what is suitable:
- An instant messaging platform (e.g. Google Hangouts, Skype, LinkedIn Messenger)
- Phone call
If you passed your first interview and are through to the next round, have a quick look at our article about what to expect in your second interview to ensure that you're fully prepared for the next round. Interviews don't come naturally to everyone, but with practice and following these and other tips, you can find success.
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