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Why You Must Send Follow Up Emails After an Interview

I find it remarkable how little effort many candidates put into a career search. In my view, if it’s worth the time it takes to prepare for, drive to and interview with a potential employer, it’s worth spending a little extra time to get the details right. An often overlooked but potentially important detail is to send a follow up “Thank you” note after each interview. Below are three reasons why it’s imperative to send one and a few tips on how to craft “Thank you” notes that will help you land an offer.

1. Separate Yourself.

In my experience, less than half of candidates send a follow up email after interviewing with a hiring manager. Those candidates may be ruining their chances of being selected.

Less than half of candidates send a “Follow Up” email after interviewing.

At the end of a long day of interviewing, the hiring manager is often faced with deciding between 2 candidates. The smallest of things, (like a “Thank you” email, for example) can help them make their decision.

2. Demonstrate your writing ability and interest in the position.

A well-written “Thank you” note accomplishes two other goals. 1)  It demonstrates that you can effectively communicate in writing and 2) it shows that you have a sincere interest in the position. On multiple occasions I’ve had hiring managers pass on candidates because they didn’t take the time to send a “Thank you” note. To paraphrase my clients, “If they won’t follow up with me to get a better job how can I expect them to follow up with prospects?” As painful as it was to reload and start a search over, I had to agree with their logic. After almost 20 years in the business, I’ve found that most people are on their best behavior during an interview process.  

Hiring managers often pass on candidates that don’t take the time to send a follow up note.

3. Demonstrate your follow through.

Occasionally an interview process can stretch out several weeks between interview steps. During this time, a thoughtful and well written “Follow Up” message will keep you top of mind with the hiring manager and demonstrate your follow up skills. An extreme example of this was a sales professional that we placed with one of our clients after a 5 month long interview process (normally their process takes 5 weeks). The hiring manager had an overhire position that he had the green light to fill. With his team well above quota, he was taking his time to find the perfect candidate. Greg (my candidate) was “100% in” with the opportunity and followed up with the hiring manager every 2 weeks like clockwork. With each message, Greg would share a potential prospect that he came across or a thought on how he could capitalize on the opportunity were it give to him. Greg eventually won my client over. More importantly, Greg ended his first year with them as their “Rookie of the Year” and increased his income by over $60,000.

This brings me to a few tips on how to write a Follow Up email after the interview to increase your odds of receiving a job offer.

  1. As classy as a handwritten “Thank You” note is, timing is key. Always send an email within 24 hours of an interview. A best practice would be to send the email the evening of the day that you interviewed.  This will put your message in front of the hiring manager(s) while they are stilling grappling with who will make the cut.   
  2. Address concerns or opportunities that were uncovered in the interview.  
  3. Send a “Thank you” email to each person that you interviewed with (yes, get a business card from each person you meet so you’ll have their email).  Send them a message via Linkedin if they didn’t give you their business card.
  4. Keep your message short, professional and to the point.

We give a few more tips in Follow-up and Closing is Key.

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Chris Carlson

My name is Chris Carlson and I’m the founder and President of Sales Talent. This blog grew out of my desire to document and share what I’ve learned in my two plus decades of sales recruiting and leading Sales Talent. Our posts are aimed at sales professionals and leaders that speaks to talent selection, team building, or career advancement. If you have a topic that you’d like my take on, please reach out to me.

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