How to follow up after an interview

I often speak about showing commitment to a job search. It’s never enough to just send out applications and go to interviews – you need to go the extra mile every single time.

Something which not many people do is follow up after an interview. As an employer, I always think highly of candidates who do this and I wonder why more of them don’t. Now more than ever, we are in a candidate-led market, which means you face high competition. If this is the case, you need to do everything in your power to stand out.

Of course, if you have got this interview through an agency, then most of your contact will be through them. You will generally have a feedback call with your recruiter after the interview, so make sure they pass on a message of thanks from you and convey your enthusiasm for the role. Most able recruiters will do this anyway but it’s still good practice from your side.

If however, you applied for the job directly to the company, you will already have a point of contact. So really there is nothing to stop you from following up. As soon as you finish the interview, you should take down notes – it’s all too easy to forget key things that may have happened. Jot down what you think went well, what you feel you should have covered more – and most importantly, any useful nugget of information you may have picked up about the role or company.

I would then send an email the next morning – keep it fairly brief, no more than 5 or 6 lines.

Firstly you should thank the hiring manager for their time as this shows good manners. Then talk about a specific point they may have mentioned. Maybe they said they were planning to expand overseas in the near future. Whatever it is, by briefly touching upon it, you are showing that you listened and are genuinely interested in the company.

Then comes the most important part of this email – what I call the ‘subtle sell’.

Say something along the lines of: I’m really excited about the opportunity you are offering; this seems like an exciting time for the business and the role is a great fit for my skill set and experience. If you need any additional documents or information from me, do let me know.

And that’s all you need. What those two sentences in particular have done is shown how enthusiastic you are, and reinforced what a great fit you are for the role. Remember you always have to show why you are the solution to a company’s needs, and by talking about how you ‘fit’ the vacancy, you are reminding them of your qualities.

What you should have done towards the end of your interview is asked the hiring manager what the timeline is for the next stage in the process. If you did, and that time has passed, then you are perfectly entitled to follow up – politely. Send them another email and explain that you’re still interested but understand that hiring can take time, and ask if they have an updated timeframe.

If things still haven’t moved on a few days later, then give them a call and ask the same thing – make sure you are polite and once again emphasise your enthusiasm, plus the fact that you think the role is a great fit. Always keep that ‘subtle sell’ in mind.

It may be that you don’t know what the timeline is, or that the company themselves aren’t sure. In that case I would wait for 10-14 days after your initial thank you email before contacting them.

Most hiring managers will understand that you need to know where you stand, so don’t think you’ll be viewed as hassling them. By going to an interview, you have both invested time in each other so you are well within your rights to follow up.

Many people think an interview is over once they leave the meeting, but in actual fact the recruitment process continues. Companies go over CVs and interview notes to help them make a decision – and a good follow up can tip the scales in your favour.

Published in collaboration with LinkedIn

Author: James Caan, a Serial Entrepreneur, is CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group and CEO of Recruitment Entrepreneur.


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