Simple Secrets to Successful Interviews: How to Write Perfect Follow-Up Messages

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If you’ve applied to a competitive position you need to pursue every advantage that can help set you apart. That includes one thing that’s as deceptively simple as it is effective: following up.

The Power of a Good Follow-Up Message

The interviewing process is an intricate process. Both sides are trying to decide if the opportunity is a great fit. On the hiring end, the company is looking for the best talent possible, you likely already know the initial things they are screening for: personal experience, level of education, overall career progression, etc. These are the characteristics that will get you through (along with many others) to the initial contact stage, such as a phone screen with the recruiter.

In order to stand out and make it to the next stage, however, you’re going to need to find a way to highlight those characteristics and the qualities that caught the recruiter’s eye in the first place!

One of the most basic and overlooked ways of doing so is by following up after each stage of the interview process in a timely manner. As a rule of thumb, you will want to send out personalized follow-up emails the same day that you have the interview. This will highlight your ability to completely follow through, your attention to detail, and your relationship-building skills.

How to Draft Follow-Up Messages for Each Stage of the Interview Process

Phone Interviews

The initial phone interview allows the company to ensure that you do in fact have the skill-set needed before moving forward with an in-person interview. At the end of the call, make sure that you and the recruiter highlight an appropriate time frame for you to receive feedback on next steps. Not only will this put some of the anxiety at ease, it will also provide a window where sending a second follow-up message is appropriate.

You will want to follow up with the recruiter after the call to provide a simple thank-you note that highlights your interest in the position and thank the recruiter for their time. You can also add a disclosure of opening up conversation again to highlight your experience in more detail if necessary.

Example:

Hi (Recruiter),

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today in regards to the XYZ position at XYZ Company. After hearing more about the role and the responsibilities associated with this opportunity, I feel that this would be a great opportunity for me. I look forward to hearing back from you in regards to the XX position. If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to discuss this opportunity further.

Thank you,

Name and Contact Info

This simple follow up solidifies your interest in the position and shows the recruiter you appreciate their consideration. If you do not hear back from the recruiter or company during the feedback time frame, you will want to send a short follow-up message highlighting your interest and seeing where your application stands for the position. I typically recommend sending a second message one day after the feedback window expires. For example, if your phone interview is on a Tuesday and you are given a one-week window, I would send a follow-up message the following Wednesday.

In-Person Interviews

This stage requires a more personalized follow-up message with the individual or individuals who you met with. Make sure you prepare yourself for the follow-up messages during the interview. Assuming you did your homework, you should be fully aware of who you are meeting with and their background. If not, you will want to ensure that you receive business cards or contact information from all of the interviewers. The main items of focus will be the correct spelling of the interviewer’s names, their correct title, and their respected email addresses.

You will also want to tailor your follow-up messages to each interviewer and send one to each individually. This will not only show that you are committed to the position, but it will highlight your availability to take away information and build strong relationships.

One of the biggest trip-ups at this stage is the “copy & paste” method of switching out the names on the messages. Yes, this completes the follow-up check box on your list, but it does not highlight that you are willing to above and beyond for the opportunity. The interviewers are going to discuss your application in detail with each other and highlight your strengths and weaknesses. Sending personalized follow-up messages can ensure your communication skills land on the strengths side.

Example:

Dear (Interviewer),

I greatly appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to meet with me in regards to the XYZ position at XZY Company. After meeting with you and discussing the position in more detail, I am further convinced that my background and skills coincide well with your needs.

After reflecting on our conversation today, I know that this will be a great opportunity for the company and myself. When we discussed XYZ today, it solidified the notion that I would be a great fit for this position because XYZ. I feel that the culture within your organization/team enables and pushes all employees to reach higher levels of success that will ultimately benefit the company.

I am eager to hear about your decision for this fantastic opportunity. Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information regarding my qualifications.

Thank you again for your time and consideration for the XYZ position.

Thank you,

Name and Contact Info

For both stages of the interview, the messages will vary greatly depending on the position you are interviewing for and what is actually discussed during that individual interview. The key is being able to highlight your skills that directly translate to what the company is looking for and make the message personal to what the interviewer discussed. Don’t be afraid to highlight additional information that might have been left out of the interview. Everyone gets nervous when they are interviewing, and it is easy to forget past projects, successes, and efficiency improvements. Feel free to highlight some of these attributes and how they relate to the position you are applying to. Don’t go overboard with additions, but if you left out one or two skill-sets, feel free to mention them.

For skill-based interviews, you will want to reference the project that you completed for the company. It is also great to highlight any ideas for improvement on the project. This will show that you strive for the best and are not afraid on constructive criticism.

Key Takeaways

  • Keep your follow-up messages professional and focused on the role: I have seen candidates ask when the offer is coming and inquire about personal information. Those kinds of mistakes will certainly turn off the recruiter.
  • Keep it relatively simple: If you have to write a mini-novel to highlight your skills, you did not sell yourself in the interview.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing will diminish a follow-up message more than a wrong name and poor spelling/grammar.
  • Don’t turn off your job search: Remember, nothing is guaranteed until you receive an offer. Worst case, you could have the opportunity to weigh two offers against each other!
  • Keep the window open even if you are not selected: The company will need to hire for other roles down the line and if you leave a great impression, you could be one of the first people they call.

Good Luck! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.