Following an economic downturn that shook the country — and many companies’ ability to hire — after COVID’s arrival, the job market is finally starting to show signs of at least some recovery. If you’re ready to line up your next slate of virtual interviews and be ahead of the curve, now’s the time to make sure every element of your job application is flawless, from your resume’s “power words” to the follow-up email you’ll send after nailing the phone (or Zoom) interview.
We already know from experts that following up after your interview with a thank you note — and doing so ideally within 24 hours — is paramount to leaving the right impression on hiring managers. But not all follow-ups were created equal. Here are a few things your follow-up email should include — and a few things it definitely shouldn’t.
Your follow-up note should clearly convey how well you listened to and processed any information the interviewing party chose to share with you. Sending a generic thank you email that doesn’t explicitly reference any of those details is going to come across as hollow, or otherwise give the impression that you didn’t take the conversation seriously enough. Make the note personal, and make it detailed.
Even better? To show how well you listened and how engaged you were with what the interviewer had to say, quote them. People love to be quoted back to themselves, and the person you interviewed with is likely no exception. You can say something to the effect of: “When you told me XYZ thing, I couldn’t agree more.” Just try not to make it too shmoozy.
Let’s say you forgot to mention a key achievement in your past that feels super connected to the work this company is doing. Or maybe you did mention it, but you don’t feel that you explained it well enough. Now’s your chance to correct that. Without adding too much additional bulk to the note — i.e. one paragraph should suffice — quickly fill the gaps on any relevant info you omitted, and tie it back to the conversation itself as much as possible. An example could be: “When you mentioned, Katrina, that revamping your newsletter strategy was something you had in mind, I realize that I forgot to mention this accomplishment. I’m more than happy to provide additional color on that if it’s helpful; just let me know!
This is an excellent way to prove initiative and showcase your desire to start providing solutions. (Tip: If, in the interest of time, this doesn’t make it into your initial thank you note, it’s great fodder to keep in your back pocket for the next follow-up!) It’ll show how well you listened to and grasped any of the company’s relevant challenges that cropped up during the interview, and it’ll also make it that much easier for the interviewer to envision you as a member of the team.
It sounds overly simple, but in reality, too many people steer clear of explicitly making this statement, oftentimes because they fear sounding overly eager. The person you interviewed with, though, should be left with no doubt as to how sincerely you want to work for and/or with them. It’s best not to wax on over this point — hopefully, the exact reasons you want the job were already well covered in the interview — but it never hurts to simply restate it.
Chances are, you’ve interviewed with more than one party at the company, especially if you’re at a later stage in the process. There are few worse job search mistakes out there than failing to send a thank you note entirely — but sending the exact same note to everyone you interviewed with may just be one of them. It’s going to make you sound insincere and overly rehearsed, and if you don’t expect that the other parties involved will (literally) compare notes, you’re mistaken. Your thank you note should come across as thoughtful and personal; not something you copy-and-pasted before sending out en masse.
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