Content of the material
- 1. Ask for Elaboration
- How do you politely follow up after an interview?
- Drafting Your Follow-Up Email (After No Response)
- If you dont get the job
- 1. Thank the interviewer again
- 2. Request feedback
- 3. Express interest in future opportunities
- How to Write a Follow-Up Email After an Interview
- Thank You Follow-Up Sample
- “These Emails Seem Too Simple. Should I Add More?”
- Cognitive Load
- Read Next
- Career Coach Insider
- The 5-Step Method
- Seven Stories Exercise
- Free Tools
- Follow-Up Email Etiquette
- How to Conclude Your Interview Follow-Up Email
- Assess your interview
- 2. It Gives You a Chance to Strut Your Stuff (a Little More)
- Why This Works
- Use Templates to Write Remarkable Follow-Up Emails
1. Ask for Elaboration
Never hesitate to get someone to elaborate. In all the interviews I’ve done, no one’s ever said to me, “You already asked me that.” So long as you ask respectfully and with genuine curiosity, people are happy to tell you more.
Tell me more about that. Easy and versatile. It’s especially useful if you don’t have a good concept or keyword to latch on to.
What do you mean by… Pick on a single keyword or idea, like when they’ve used loaded terms or jargon. But it works best when they use a common term where everyone assumes the meaning is well-understood. “And in this instance, what do you mean by ‘digital product?’”
Let me get this straight… Reflect their answer back at them. In addition to validating what they said, this generally prompts them to elaborate on the idea. “I want to make sure I understand what you said. You said you didn’t have much confidence in the product team. Did I get that right?”
How do you know? Used gently and respectfully asking about underlying knowledge can reveal how experts do their jobs. When they point out a bottleneck, you can say, “How do you know that’s the problem area?” and learn a great deal about what they look for.
How do you politely follow up after an interview?
To politely follow up after an interview you should thank the interviewer for the time, highlight a specific theme from the interview and express how excited you are about the next steps.
Drafting Your Follow-Up Email (After No Response)
There are many things you should include in your email body to be effective. These include:
- Your contact information.
- A warm and professional greeting using the hiring manager’s name. Be sure to use their first name to keep things casual while also being professional.
- A few sentences detailing your appreciation for the interview.
- Briefly acknowledge something in the interview, such as a notable conversation or joke the hiring manager made. This will help you jog their memory and recall the actual interview and who you are.
- A few sentences asking about what the next steps should be and whether the hiring manager has decided.
- Make sure your intentions are obvious in the body of your email and do not beat around the bush: You want to know if they have made a decision yet.
- Stay on point and don’t include unnecessary information.
- An offer for additional references or more information.
- A closing sentence that thanks to the hiring manager once again.
- A sign-out with your name included.
These are the basic things that should compose a follow-up email. When it comes to following up when you haven’t heard from the hiring manager for a while, you’ll need to include a handful of additional elements, including:
- Acknowledgment that you have not heard from them in a while. Make sure that this acknowledgment is polite and not accusatory or negative.
- A sentence or two politely asking for an answer, whether you’ve been hired on not.
- Acknowledgment that if the decision has not been made yet, you’re more than happy to wait longer for an answer.
- An offer to do anything or provide anything that may be needed to help with the decision-making process.
Always remember to proofread your email several times before submitting it. Any grammatical or spelling errors can make you seem lazy or unprofessional.
If you dont get the job
Whether this is your first job interview or your hundredth, there are never any guarantees. No job is truly yours until it is. A rejection might get you down initially, but there's no need to dwell on it. There are plenty of other roles out there.
Even when you don’t get the job, any job application is a learning experience. There are always steps you can take to ensure the time spent in those interviews wasn’t wasted.
1. Thank the interviewer again
Always thank your interviewer. Even if you didn’t like them, and even if you think you should have been hired, it’s important to stay polite and professional. There's no point in burning bridges in the world of work.
Instead, you should adopt the viewpoint that you're not the right fit today but might be in the future. Ensuring that this relationship is a pleasant one and staying cool in the face of adversity is a good way to keep yourself in a prospective employer's good graces. You never know if you’ll cross paths with this company again.
2. Request feedback
You should always try to learn from your mistakes. If you can adopt the mindset that every experience is a learning experience, you'll complete the job-search process in far better shape than you started.
Learning from your mistakes is much easier to do if you know what those mistakes were. Interviewers will have the best insight into how you performed in an interview, so if you feel it’s appropriate you can ask your interviewer for feedback. They could have tips for performing well or specific feedback on your interview answers.
3. Express interest in future opportunities
If you didn’t get the job but still feel that you’re a great fit for the company, there’s no harm in expressing interest in future job openings. You may have been runner-up for this position, and could be at the top of the list for a similar role in the future. Let the hiring manager know that you’re still interested in this company, even though you didn’t land the job this time.
To do this, write a simple follow-up email:
Dear [Name of Interviewer],
[One sentence thanking them for the opportunity to speak with them and interview for the role.]
[One sentence saying that you remain enthusiastic about the company and would be happy to hear from them again in the future should a suitable role arise.]
Sincerely, [Your Name]
How to Write a Follow-Up Email After an Interview
Let’s review how to write a follow-up email after you wrap up an interview — the email doesn’t have to be long, but it should include the following items.
- Strong subject line
- Introduction using the recipient’s name (e.g. “Hi [Name],”)
- Specific discussion points and details from the interview or meeting
- Reasons why you’re qualified and the right fit for the position
- Expression of even deeper interest in the opportunity now that you had the interview/ meeting
- Gratitude for the interviewers time and consideration
- A question to ask if the recipient needs anything else from you in the meantime
- Signature (e.g. Best, [Name])
Let’s review some follow-up email templates applicable to a number of common scenarios that you can use.
Thank You Follow-Up Sample
Dear Mr./Ms. [ Surname], Thank you for taking the time to speak with me [yesterday/today] about the [Name of Position] position at your company. I enjoyed our conversation and the opportunity to learn more about the position. I am very excited about the prospect of working at [Name of Company] and the chance to work with such a talented group of people. I am really looking forward to [ insert point for your interview]. After our conversation, I am sure that my background in [mention strengths and qualifications] will make me an ideal candidate for this position and your company. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you again for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Best regards, [Your Name] [Your Number] [Your Email Address]
“These Emails Seem Too Simple. Should I Add More?”
Some job seekers have asked me whether the example emails above are too brief or too simple. In my opinion, no.
I always recommend using a short and sweet follow-up email in your job search. I recommend keeping the length approximately the same as the templates I provided above.
Don’t complicate your message. Give a polite greeting, be up-front and say what you want (an update on the hiring process), and then conclude your email politely without any unnecessary “fluff” or filler content.
This type of follow-up email is your best shot at getting a prompt update after your interview without seeming pushy, desperate, etc.
In all likelihood, the person you emailed will get back to you and apologize and say they’re still working on a decision. Or there’s a chance they have news to share and will update you as soon as they get your email.
Either way, you reminded them you’re waiting for news and still have interest in the position, which is the goal (employers aim to hire people that seem genuinely interested in the role, and they won’t just assume you’re interested after an interview if they don’t hear from you!)
If you want to know what else hiring managers look for when conducting interviews, read my list of job interview tips here. It’ll help you understand the employer’s mindset better and will give you a big advantage over the competition in your job search.
In the moment of the interview, your attention is on the cognitively labor-intensive activity of listening and capturing. It can be difficult to devote the mental resources to thinking of the next question.
⇒ Whenever possible, I defer capturing the conversation to the recording or to a note-taker, so I can free up my brain. This isn’t always possible, which is another reason I memorize the patterns described above, to minimize the effort in formulating these questions.
Career Coach Insider Harness the power of the industry’s best job search method, made accessible for individuals. Learn More
The 5-Step Method See how our proven method gets job seekers back on their feet and back to work faster. Learn More
Seven Stories Exercise Deciding what you want starts with understanding the skills you enjoy using. Learn More
Free Tools Explore recent white papers and webinars, created by GetFive’s experts. Learn More
Follow-Up Email Etiquette
Alright, here’s another crucial part of the equation: follow-up email etiquette. For this, one of the most critical things to understand is that you need to time the sending of your message.
While your thank you email should go out within 24 hours, you need to wait longer before you send out an interview follow-up email, typically at least one week.
Now, it’s important to remember that a follow-up and a reply are two different things. If the hiring manager reaches out to you via email and you respond, that isn’t a follow-up in a traditional sense. Instead, you’re engaging in a dialog, so you want to reply as soon as possible after receiving the message, and you don’t necessarily have to use a follow-up email format.
Instead, a follow-up email should happen about one week after the dialog has died. In some cases, this is one week after the interview. In others, it’s one week after you last received an email or phone call from the hiring manager.
The only exception to the one-week timing is if the hiring manager gave you a date when a decision would be made. With that, you don’t want to reach out until at least one business day after that day passes. Anything earlier than that makes you seem impatient.
Otherwise, you need to make sure your tone is appropriate. You don’t want to be demanding or pushy. Remember, while you’d like an update, the hiring manager doesn’t technically “owe” you anything, so it’s best not to act like they do.
It’s also critical to keep things brief. While you can certainly highlight a bit more of what you bring to the table, now isn’t the time to write a dissertation about your awesomeness.
In the end, be polite, be professional, be brief, and be reasonable. If you do all of that and nail the timing, you’re good to go.
How to Conclude Your Interview Follow-Up Email
In the sample emails above, you’ll notice a mix of different ways of “signing off” and concluding the email. You can choose whichever option sounds natural for you, as some are more formal than others.
Here’s a complete list of good, reliable options for how to end your interview follow-up email (in order of more formal to less formal):
- Thank you for your time and consideration
- Best regards
- Thank you for your time
- Thank you
- Thanks for your time
- Thanks so much
You can also decide whether to write your first and last name or just your first name. Choose based on your previous interactions with the hiring manager or employer, and what you feel fits with the industry and company culture.
If you’ve been exchanging emails with the hiring manager on a first-name basis, you can just sign your email with your first name.
- Even if you feel confident that the interview process went well, continue with your job search. The company may decide to hire someone else, such as an internal candidate, or even eliminate the position.
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Assess your interview
As soon as you can after your interview, take some time to reflect on it while everything is still fresh in your mind.
- Review any notes you took during the interview.
- Record impressions into your phone or jot them down.
- Review questions they asked you and reflect on how you could have answered them better.
- Make sure you have all the contact info you need.
Meaningful follow-up is contingent on having an accurate recall of what was discussed during the meeting. So it is imperative that you find a quiet spot to look at your notes (if you’ve taken any) as soon as possible after the interview is over. If you haven’t taken notes, write down your reflections or record them into your phone as soon as the meeting is over. Schedule that time into your day.
Make sure you review the questions that your interviewers asked you and reflect on the areas you could have answered better. Make sure before you leave that you have all the names and contact information you need. It’s appropriate and OK to ask the person you’re interviewing with for their business card.
2. It Gives You a Chance to Strut Your Stuff (a Little More)
Sometimes you leave an interview, send a thank-you letter, then realize days later that you have a great idea, something else you should’ve asked, or another example that demonstrates your abilities.
When this happens, a follow-up note is the perfect time to show that the company is still on your mind and you’re really mulling on how you can help. Lead with asking for an update, as suggested above, and then go into your business question or suggestion.
Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],
Since we last spoke, I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation about [business challenge you discussed]. I wondered if the team has considered [your idea for a solution]? I faced something similar at [previous company name] and this [explain positive result, with numbers if possible].
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this approach,
Why This Works
Not only does this type of note show that you’re still interested and excited, it showcases (and reminds the hiring manager) just how great you’d be for the job.
Additionally, reaching out to offer a business solution is something most candidates don’t do—so it can set you apart and demonstrate your ability to take initiative without being asked.
Use Templates to Write Remarkable Follow-Up Emails
Remarkable follow-up emails help you distinguish yourself among the rest, such as competitors or candidates you’re up against.
By writing a strong, attention-grabbing subject line, articulating your message clearly, and conveying your value, your follow-up email will stand out and pique the interest of any recipient. Use the templates we reviewed above and incorporate tools as needed to streamline your processes.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.