One question that we get a lot at Crosworks is actually after the work of the interview is over and complete – what is the appropriate timeline for following up? There are multiple approaches that we recommend.
It is important to remember that regardless of anything else, promptness is always appreciated. However, this does not mean hurriedly writing an email as you leave the office – take your time with the composition of the follow-up email. Sometimes, a great follow-up email can make up for a less-than-amazing farewell. A few guidelines to remember when formatting your follow-up email include:
- A clear reference to what was discussed in the interview.
- Chances are, you may not be the only person interviewing for this position. More than that, you may not be the only person interviewing for the position in that same day! Ensure in your email that the interviewer remembers who you are, and what you discussed. This may sound difficult, but it as is simple as reminding them of the reasons why you are so eager for the position, or a specific characteristic of the company that you enjoyed. For example, in closing an interview, the interviewer may discuss with you the culture of the company – this is always an easy topic to bring back up in the follow-up email.
- A strong reiteration of your interest in the position.
- Interviews are as much for the interviewer as the interviewee. Sometimes an interview can change your perspective on the job, and your interest in working with the company. It is vital to reiterate your desire in the position in the follow-up email. This can be as simple as saying “I am greatly interested in the position, and am looking forward to learning more about the company and its culture.” Likewise, if the interview changed your mind about the position, you should voice this opinion as well. The last thing an interviewer wants is to put time and effort into a candidate that is not invested in the position.
- A positive farewell message and contact information.
- Be sure to include the best methods of being reached in the future, and a positive farewell message that implies a timely response. A great closing line can be found in “I am looking forward to hearing back from you regarding this opening, and can be easily reached at this email or [insert phone number].” This aspect of the email ensures that you are taking all measures necessary to portray professionalism, and demonstrates to the employer that you are expecting a response.
The format of the email is just as important as the timeliness. A general rule of thumb we advise is within 24-48 hours of the interview. Past this time frame, it is not only unprofessional, but much less likely to be received well from the employer. If you are applying to a very competitive opening, it is likely that your competition will have already followed up within that timeframe. Even if the follow-up email seems inconsequential, and a bit unnecessary, it emphasizes the interest and professionalism of the candidate, and most employers will expect it from a candidate they genuinely are considering.
If you are still unsure how or when to follow-up to an interview, there is one option that is without fail: just ask! Questions are not an implication of unprofessionalism, and if anything, your potential-employer will appreciate the earnest nature of inquiring about following up, as it demonstrates your self-awareness of the interview process. At the end of your interview, do not be afraid to simply ask when you should expect information regarding the position, and when to follow-up. If you are unlikely to simply ask when to follow-up or if you should, a great way to inquire is to ask what email to follow-up to, or number. This way, your interviewer will either give you a sure-fire contact, or better yet, their business card, and you are free to follow-up within the proper timeframe.
So, to recap:
- Format your email with thought and with patience, but within an acceptable and speedy timeframe.
- Be professional, and emphasize your interest in the position.
- When in doubt, ASK!