The Art of the Follow-Up Email

“Hiring managers yearn for people who demonstrate determination and follow-through. In addition, companies want people who want the job, want to work there, and are motivated to express that.” 

– Emil Gerardi, TESA Talent Managing Director

Congratulations, you’ve just had an incredible interview for a job that excites you! The company culture is a fit, they provide competitive compensation, and you hit it off with the hiring manager. You’re interested in moving on to the next stage of the process and wondering if you need to send a follow-up email. If so, when?

The answer is an absolute, unequivocal YES. Even if your uncle Joey advised you to play hard to get, this approach has many risks and minimal reward. Your uncle might mean well, but experienced recruiters will agree that times have changed, as have the expectations of hiring managers. Long ago, hiring managers would tell the recruiter “Do not share my email address with candidates.” Today, the manager will be disappointed if they don’t see a message. 

Hiring managers yearn for people who demonstrate determination and follow-through. In addition, companies want people who want the job, want to work there, and are motivated to express that.  

So, whether you’re changing jobs during the “Great Resignation” or want to stay informed on what hiring managers expect these days, here are the top three factors to keep in mind when following up after an interview.   

Timing: Decisions are made swiftly in an on-demand world 

TESA tips: 

  • Compose and send an email within 24 hours of your interview. If you wait longer, the company may have already met and decided on who they’re going with. We hear from managers “If they don’t follow up with me soon, I assume they don’t want it.” 
  • There is such a thing as “too fast.” For example, if you send an email thirty seconds after you leave the meeting, it will be clear you didn’t put much heart and soul into the message. 

Content: Make it relevant, make it real 

TESA tips:  

  • Keep it short, sweet, and business professional. Use complete sentences, not text shorthand. 
  • Thank them, be clear about why you are uniquely qualified for the role, why you are the solution they need, and what interests you the most. 
  • If possible, send one individual email to each person instead of a blast to everyone. Time-consuming? Yes, but people are more inclined to read and respond to a one-on-one message.
  • Customize your follow-up to each individual you are sending the email to instead of copying and pasting the same email six times.  
  • Try to recall an exciting detail they shared about the company during the interview or a particularly insightful question they asked and mention it in your email.
  • Address any concerns you uncovered during your interview about why the company would hesitate to hire you. Offer examples of how you would be able to overcome these obstacles.  
  • Make sure you proofread the email for spelling and grammar! This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how much it can make you stand out.   

The Close: Think of your follow-up email as one of your most powerful tools to get to the next step.  

TESA tips:  

  • Include a call to action. In the emails to the hiring manager or point of contact, ask for the next step. Go after it. 
  • When you send a follow-up to future coworkers, let them know that you “look forward to working with them” or “being a part of the team.”

A good follow-up email doesn’t guarantee you the job but could decide whether you get a second interview. You’ll never regret sending one.   

  

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