Interviews are undoubtedly the most important part of the hiring process. During each stage, you have numerous opportunities to find out more about the company, talk about your past experience and illustrate how you think you could be a good fit for the role.

It can often be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that once you finish an interview, you should just wait to be contacted with a decision about what happens next. You've done the hard part so now you can take a deep breath, sit back and relax.

However, this is not the case. Following each conversation you have, from the initial screening with the recruiter right through to the final round, it's common courtesy to send an email thanking them for their time.

In this post, we'll share our top tops for writing a thank-you email that will impress hiring managers and recruiters to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

Why you should send a follow-up

If you want to stay top of mind, you've got to make the extra effort to be memorable. Not only does a follow-up email give you a chance to reiterate your excitement about the company and the role, it also shows them that you value their time.

As well as that, interviews can be stressful and it's not uncommon to lose your train of thought and forget something that you wanted to say. If there was a question that you didn't answer as well as you would have liked— you can use this opportunity to address it.

How to send a follow-up email

Speed wins

Ideally, you should try and send it within 24 hours of your interview. While it's helpful to have a general outline of what you want to say ahead of time, it's also important to customise it so they know they're not getting a one-size-fits-all generic email.

Add a personal touch

To make this as easy as possible, as soon as your interview ends you should write down anything you think you might want to refer to. Whether there was a topic you enjoyed discussing, any skills or experiences you want to mention again, a question you could have answered better or anything else you want to include that you think might be relevant.

If the interviewer shared something specific they like about their job or the company of if you shared a common interest or hobby—don't be afraid to reference it. Any personal touches you can add to your email is yet another way you can stand out from other candidates.

Keep it short and sweet

Recruiters at fast-growing companies are busy people and their inbox can be a hectic place. They are often hiring for multiple roles at any one time and can be at different stages of the process with numerous candidates. Keep your email brief and to the point—one to two paragraphs max should be all you need to get your point across.

Finish with next steps

Finish your email by saying that you look forward to hearing from them and refer to next steps. You can also mention that they should feel free to contact you with additional questions or if there is anything they would like to discuss with you in more detail.

Spellcheck

It's absolutely imperative to double-check your spelling and grammar before you send a CV, cover letter or email to a potential employer. Grammarly is a very useful (and free) tool that is a good starting point. However, you should always ask a family member or friend to review it to ensure you catch any mistakes. Strong attention-to-detail is a skill needed for the vast majority of roles and if you demonstrate that it's something you lack, it can often be a red flag for employers.

Follow up email template to interviewer:

Hi [Interviewer Name],

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today to discuss the [position name] role.

It was great to learn more about the team and position, and I’m very excited at the opportunity to potentially join [company name] and work with the team to [solve problem related to the role— e.g bring in new clients/create world-class content/write high quality source code]

I particularly enjoyed our conversation on [specific topic you discussed and how it relates to you/your experience].

I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

What happens after you send it?

You shouldn't expect a response to this email because more often than not, you won't get one. However, that shouldn't bother you. The purpose of this email is to not only make sure that you give them a good impression, it also acts as a chance to showcase soft skills such as being a strong communicator and having good manners, which can sometimes be harder to get across in interviews.

At the end of the interview, there's nothing wrong with asking when you are likely to hear back on what the next steps are. If they said that they would get back to you within a week but haven't yet – don't panic.

You should follow up with another email in the same thread giving them a polite reminder that you know they are busy but you just want to check in on the status of your application. You can also use this email to mention other jobs you are in the process of interviewing for so they know that there is a time constraint on your end.


Ian from Gradguide

Gradguide is a career guidance, mentorship and early-stage career community designed to help bridge the employment gap from college to technology company. We pair graduates with a mentor to help improve their CV & LinkedIn, upskill, find the right roles to apply for, prepare for interviews, and seek referrals to some of the world's leading tech companies.

If you, or someone you know, is a recent or soon-to-be graduate and would be interested in getting involved, you can apply to our next cohort here.