If there's one thing about the job-search process that leaves me confused every time, it's figuring out the best way to follow up. I don't want to try and rush the process, but I also don't want to sit slumped over my computer refreshing my email to find out if I got the job.
Following up after an interview is necessary and common, but doing so in a way that feels authentic, confident, and eager is tricky. To help you navigate the post-interview follow-up, POPSUGAR spoke with a career coach to get some much-needed advice. Here's exactly what you should know before you hit send on that email to the hiring manager.
Always Say "Thank You"
There are many reasons you might want to follow up after an interview — maybe you've thought of another question, or you might have additional information about your qualifications that you'd like to share. But you should reach out for one primary reason: sending a thank-you note.
Iza Montalvo, a career coach who has worked in journalism, media, and politics, tells POPSUGAR that following up is the best way to demonstrate your interest and appreciation — plus, it helps you stand out. "Believe it or not, most people don't follow up after an interview or don't know how to do it," Montalvo says. "Taking the initiative to follow up via email is the perfect way to stand out from the pool of applicants in the right way."
Within two days of the interview, send a short-but-sweet email or a handwritten note thanking your interviewer for their time and reaffirming your interest in the job. "Do not ask specific questions about how the interview went or if a decision has been made in the thank-you email," Montalvo says. "Leave that for the follow-up email, if you get to that point."
The thank-you note can be very simple. You don't have to be overly flowery or expressive — simply express your gratitude and excitement about the position. Just make sure you do it.
Aim For a Specific Date
After you've crushed your interview and sent your thank-you note, you might want to send a follow-up email asking about when you'll be notified of a decision. "If you are sending a follow-up email to get an update about the job status, keep the interaction polite, courteous, and professional," Montalvo says. "Remember to ask the hiring manager for an estimated date when you should hear back from them." Nailing down a specific date will help you establish a timeline for the process and keep you from repeatedly refreshing your email inbox.
Remember that even if you've been told when you should expect to hear back, things can change. Odds are the hiring manager has a whole host of other duties beyond filling this role, so try to be gracious if it takes them a bit longer. If the date comes and goes with no response, Montalvo suggests waiting five days as a grace period before sending another email.
This follow-up email is also a good time to tell the hiring manager if anything has changed about your credentials since you last spoke. For instance, if you have a win career-wise after the initial interview, this is an ideal time to share the good news with the hiring manager, as it's a way to remind them of your eagerness for the position and emphasize your value as a team member.
Be Mindful of Your Tone
No matter why you're following up, you want to strike the right tone in your communications. Try to follow their lead — part of the interview process is seeing if you're the right fit for the company culture, so if the hiring manager is very formal, you'll want to be formal in your communications with them. If they're friendlier or more conversational, you can be, too.
"Your main goal should be to leave a good impression," Montalvo says. She says that you should "be authentic, confident, and let your personality shine, but don't make it too informal." Emojis are a no, and sometimes jokes can get lost in translation (especially via the written word), so it's best to err on the side of caution and keep your follow-ups joke free. Save it for the company parties.
In addition, Montalvo says you should be careful about what you emphasize in these emails. "Don't make the email about you or how the job could help your career," she says. "Make it about the value you can bring to the position and the overall success of the company."
As Always, Spell Check Is a Must
Finally, make sure to proofread any correspondence you have with the hiring manager. Double-check your email for typos and grammar mistakes, or ask a friend to read it for you. You want to make a good impression, and simple errors can make it seem like you don't put a lot of care into your messages. Take your time and reread your emails before you sending them. Follow-up emails do not need to be sent in a rush — so slow down and breathe.
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