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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

How to write a follow-up interview email

18 min read
How to write a follow-up interview email
Artwork by:Sasha Knokova
No matter how the interview went, a follow-up email is an expected part of the job search process. Let the hiring manager know where you stand with a thoughtful note.

We have all walked out of an interview feeling on top of the world. When you click with a potential future boss, there is no better sensation. But do they know that you feel that way? Writing a follow-up email after a job interview is a great way of letting them know that you remain keen on the role and wish to move forward with the recruitment process.

This is not considered pushy or arrogant. A post-interview message is an expected part of the hiring process. Send the email even if you are working via an external recruiter. After all, it is your connection with the hiring manager that matters most.

  • Why is a follow-up email important?
  • When should you write a follow-up email?
  • Tips on how to compose the email after an interview
  • 7 follow-up email examples

Let’s explore the nuances of writing a follow-up email. It can be an important tool in your application, especially if there are unresolved issues or potential delays.

Why is a follow-up email important?

When you are keen on a specific role it would seem strange if you walked out of the interview and disappeared into the job search ether. If you managed to build a rapport with the hiring manager during the interview (congratulations), it is understandable that you would want to send them a follow-up email after the interview.

There are a few reasons why this is a good idea:

  • Express your gratitude for their time and consideration.
  • Take the opportunity to clarify anything or provide additional information.
  • Reiterate your interest – they will want to know that you are still keen.
  • Strengthen that personal connection. People like to feel wanted.
  • The hiring manager may well respond with useful informal feedback.

The follow-up email is a standard part of job search etiquette, but it is not only the content that will make you pause for thought. When should you send it? How much should you write? What if you don’t hear back from them for a while?

If you think of a post-interview email as your formal sign-off after an interview, you won’t go far wrong. Stick to the formalities and don’t expect a response but know that it will be read.

Expert tip

What if you don’t have the hiring manager’s email address? 

If you feel the hiring manager would appreciate a follow-up email, being proactive about finding their email address to thank them will likely impress them. If they have not provided it, you can ask the recruiter, search for the company email format, or use an email finder tool. You may have connections at the company who could help. One bit of advice: don’t phone reception to ask. Corporate guidelines may prohibit them from helping and they will likely be unimpressed.

When should you get in touch after the interview?

It is normal etiquette to get in touch with a follow-up email 24-48 hours after an interview. The hiring manager will likely have several candidates in mind, so it is a good idea to let them dwell on the interview for a little while before you send them a note. 

They will naturally want to know that you are interested, but you should also show that you are taking the time to consider the role carefully. Don’t be too hasty in sending the email after an interview – you risk seeming a little desperate and that won’t be in your favor during salary negotiations.

Blue circle with 24 hours in the middle
Blue circle with 24 hours in the middle

How to write the follow-up interview email

Writing a follow-up email after an interview is not straightforward. While the content will depend on how the interview went, there are a few standard rules to follow.

Keep the email short

Don’t feel that you need to write an email to remind the hiring manager of everything that was mentioned during the interview. If they are interested in you, they will have replayed these conversations many times in their head already. 

Keeping the email short shows that you respect their time and serves as a reminder of your ability to communicate concisely and professionally. Take care in how you write it because you can be sure that they will judge it. Go with one or two key messages that you wish to reinforce. The main thing is to remain memorable for as long as possible.

Don’t be afraid of mentioning concerns

When it comes to securing your dream role, there will always be a process of clarification to check that there is a fit for both employer and potential employee. If you have a burning question or concern that was not addressed during an interview for whatever reason, a follow-up email is the right place to ask it.

If the hiring manager is interested in your candidature, they will take the time to answer any questions if they can. If they cannot be bothered to respond, you can take this as a sign that the job likely wasn’t for you. Move on to find someone who wants to develop that relationship with you. A follow-up email is often a great way of testing the water.

Tell them why you want the job

It is not enough to share that you are interested in the role after an interview. Tell the hiring manager (in one short sentence) why you want the job. Make sure that your motivation comes from the heart and says something authentic about your application. They want to hire someone who is in it for the right reasons and won’t quit at the first sign of trouble.

Hiring managers often feel a little paranoid and wonder what other opportunities a great candidate may be considering. Reassure them with your post-interview email. Tell them they are the only one for you - even if it means you are telling a little white lie.

How to write a thank you letter for a job offer (with copyable examples)
Related article
How to write a thank you letter for a job offer (with copyable examples)

Congratulations on your job offer! There’s no better mood and energy booster, no matter how draining the hiring process might have been. That’s why it’s the best time to write and send a job offer thank-you letter. Just a few straightforward steps will achieve multiple communication tasks in one simple but versatile letter.

Gratitude should be a key message

The main message of the follow-up email should be gratitude. Hiring managers spend an inordinate amount of time on a job search process, and while they eventually get a benefit from it, at the time it can seem like a burden.

The candidate who appreciates the time that goes into considering their application will earn a few extra brownie points. You can be sure that the hiring manager’s life will be dominated by thoughts of who to hire, so expressing gratitude is entirely appropriate.

Expert tip

Should you write a second follow-up email? 

There is often significant patience required when you are waiting to hear for a job offer. There may be countless reasons why the feedback process has been delayed, so a second email is almost always a bad idea. The only circumstances in which you might consider writing a second email is if you are sitting on another firm offer and you would like to inform the employer that you need to decide. This may speed things up at their end if they are interested in you.

7 Copyable examples of follow-up emails for different situations

The following examples will cover some of the possible scenarios. Make sure that the content of your follow-up email is suitable for your situation.

1. After a phone interview

A phone interview is often the first step in the hiring process, so a post-interview message should contain both enthusiasm for the role and a hint that there is more to come.

Dear hiring manager,

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the sales manager role over the phone yesterday. I was excited to hear about your work within the environmental sector as this aligns with my personal values. I hope that you enjoyed the chat as much as I did.

I look forward to the potential opportunity of a face-to-face interview as I would love to demonstrate my passion in person. I believe that my client relationships will bring incremental growth to the department – I hope that a quick look at my socials will show you just how immersed I am in the industry.

Sincerely, 

Gareth Beeston

2. After an assessment center meeting

Assessment centers are tough to organize, so a post-interview letter to express gratitude for the opportunity will go down well. Be specific about where you feel you did or didn’t perform as this feedback may assist the hiring manager to decide.

Dear hiring manager,

Thank you for the effort that went into designing a challenging and revealing assessment center. I feel that the two-day process answered many of my questions about the nature of the role and I hope to remain in contention.

I felt that I could have performed a little better on the psychometric tests as I was feeling a little under the weather, but I very much enjoyed the business tasks and role plays.

Sincerely, 

Sarah Jilkes

3. If you haven’t heard back

This is a delicate one. If you have already sent a standard follow-up email in the days after the interview you should only really send another one if you need to make an imminent decision on another role. Time this message to give yourself a week or so to finish your other hiring processes – don’t leave it too late.

Dear hiring manager,

You mentioned when we met that I would hear from you within a week, so I thought that I would follow up on the status of my application. I understand that the hiring process can take time, but I have several other opportunities, thus I wanted to ascertain your interest if that is possible.

Our discussion during the interview solidified my interest in the role and I very much enjoyed meeting you.  If you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely, 

Richard Wincanton

4. After a bad interview

Sending a message to a hiring manager after a poor interview performance is tricky. You may think that you didn’t do as well as you had hoped as you were anxious, but their view may be different. Think carefully if you want to put a negative spin on events. Only do this if you think that your invitation to a future interview is in jeopardy.

Dear hiring manager,

Thank you for the interview yesterday. Reflecting on our meeting, I felt that I could have shared more about my customer service experience. I am so passionate about the product that I may have gotten side-tracked. I hope that I may have the opportunity to talk about my customer successes at a future meeting.

I have worked with several of your current clients previously and I have many more success stories to share. For example, my work with Sanderson was highlighted in the attached article. I am sure that I could hit similar heights with you.

Sincerely, 

Christie Pinsent

5. If you’d like time to think

There is nothing wrong with asking for a little time to consider the role. No hiring manager will expect an immediate response, so don’t hesitate to ask for a little time to think things through. They would rather you think about it properly. It is all too common that people leave within the first month because the job wasn’t what they expected.

Dear hiring manager,

I am excited about the possibility of joining Fallside. Having said this, my situation is such that I need a little time to consider this decision and ensure that it aligns with my personal circumstances. I need to make the right decision for myself and my family.

I understand that you have a timeline for filling the position, and I wish to be respectful of your needs. Could you let me know the deadline by which you would like a response to your offer? I appreciate your flexibility in this matter.

Sincerely, 

Tom Bellingham

6. If you’re ready to accept the job offer

When you are writing an email to accept a job offer, resist the temptation to go overboard with your acceptance email. It will often be filed in their official HR system, so keep it professional and brief. When you get a formal job offer it cannot be rescinded because of the contents of your acceptance email (unless you are unforgivably rude), so relax. Sit back and look forward to that magical first day.

Dear hiring manager,

I am delighted to accept the role at Cass Inc. Thank you for your trust in me. I am excited to get going and hope to make a quick impact.

I enjoyed meeting you and the team during the interview process and am fully aligned with your vision for the future. It is a role that will help me to grow both personally and professionally. As discussed, I will be able to start in the first week of March. If there is any additional information you require before my start date, please let me know. 

Sincerely, 

Diana Wiles

7.  If you need to decline the opportunity

You should view declining a job as a business decision. Just as employers turn down candidates all the time, it is common for professionals to decide to take their talents elsewhere. This may come as a blow to a hiring manager, so let them down gently, but don’t be too apologetic. Keep the response short and polite.

Dear hiring manager,

After careful consideration, I have decided to decline the offer. This decision was not an easy one, as I have a great deal of respect for your work. However, after evaluating my long-term career goals and personal circumstances, I believe that it is in my best interest to pursue other opportunities.

I would like to thank you for your time and for considering me for the position. I hope that we can stay in touch, and I would appreciate any feedback you may have.

Sincerely, 

Kristian Callaghan

Expert tip

Should you message the hiring manager on LinkedIn after the interview? 

While a formal post-interview note is expected, it is not normal procedure to message the hiring manager on social media. Unless you have a prior relationship with them, restrict any communication to company email. There should be no suggestions of bias within the hiring process, so any unorthodox communication may get them into trouble at this stage.

Key takeaways

Remember that you have one more thing to do after you walk out of the interview. The follow-up email is a chance to leave one last impression.

  1. Make sure that you write a follow-up email. Send it at an appropriate time.
  2. Start with gratitude. They will be spending a lot of time on the hiring process.
  3. Tailor the content to your situation – don’t be afraid to be demanding if required.
  4. If a hiring manager is interested in you, they will seek to be flexible if possible.
  5. Share why you are interested in the role. Your motivation is important to them.
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