Our Blog

Completing your first phone or in-person interview with a potential employer can inspire feelings of confidence or disappointment. You might feel you interviewed well and are sure to get a call back for a second interview, or you might think you performed poorly and this is the end of the road. The first interview isn’t over when you thank the hiring manager and either hang up the phone or shake hands.

A thoughtful and prompt follow-up email communication conveys to the hiring manager both a high level of interest in the opportunity and a sense of urgency. It’s crucial to send a follow-up email within a few hours of completing the interview. Hiring managers take deliberate note of this important part of the candidate application process.

So what goes into a follow-up email? First, you should express your appreciation to the hiring manager for the opportunity to interview. Follow with a sentence or two describing your level of interest in the job and state why you are interested. Anyone can write a generic sentence about being excited for a role, so make sure to validate your interest by identifying why this particular position is the next logical step in your career. Next, identify several strengths or skills you possess that pertain to this specific role. Reference your previous experience to give your skill and strengths description more weight. Then, write a sentence or two describing the confidence you have in your ability to succeed in the role and contribute to the company based on your performance history. Let the hiring manager know you’re eager to pursue the next step in the interview process and close by encouraging the hiring manager to contact you with additional questions. Make sure to include your contact information at the end of your email.

I always recommend sending a follow-up email after every interview, even if the email goes to the same person each time. By taking the time to write a post-interview email, you’re showing that each interview only makes you more eager and determined to obtain the job.

As I mentioned in my first article about email etiquette, strong written correspondences show that you’re competent, professional, and thoughtful. Emails should be informative, succinct, and contain no spelling or grammar mistakes.

The follow-up email is the modern version of the thank-you note. While pen and paper may be out of style, gratitude and professionalism are always going to be key markers of successful people. At the Weatherhills Group, my colleagues and I know you only receive a few chances to make a great impression. Many job seekers undervalue the importance of an effective and sincere follow up email and simply fall short. We urge you to capitalize on this opportunity to ensure you put forward the best version of yourself on the journey to a great new job.

Whether you’re a job-seeker or an experienced manager, written correspondences impact your professional growth. While emails are often a quick way to communicate, it’s important to pay attention to your email’s details. Emails can color the way a professional contact thinks of you before you ever meet face-to-face.

Here are 5 tips for improving your email etiquette and making a positive impression:

Always include a greeting and a closing. In our rushed world, I can’t tell you how often I see emails that don’t bother to include a simple opening. “Hi [insert name of professional contact] suffices. Addressing your email to the recipient is a simple way to show you are engaging thoughtfully and politely with the person on the receiving end. If you’re unsure whether to address the recipient by first name or by title, err on the side of formality. If they don’t have an official title, Mr. or Ms. demonstrates professionalism and respect. Also, including a closing completes your email. “Regards” “Best Regards” and “Kind Regards” are all appropriately professional and friendly. In the subject line, make sure to include your topic.

Make sure you answer all questions addressed to you. Emails containing multiple questions can be tricky to answer, but it’s worth making the extra effort to ensure that you respond comprehensively. It shows you’re a careful reader, which suggests you’re a strong listener—an important trait in every professional setting.

Be concise. Even as you make sure to address all questions, do so in as few words as possible without sacrificing relevant information.

Keep your tone professional and friendly. The worst mistake professionals can make is being too informal in an email or face-to-face correspondence. Think of the email opening and closing as a handshake. You wouldn’t high-five your potential employer or employee at the start of your interview; it would clearly be inappropriate. You also wouldn’t use slang words or too many fillers (“um,” “uh”) as you explain the workings of your office or why you’re the best person for the job. Your email should reflect the mature and qualified presence you worked hard to cultivate. In an email, your words do all the work for you, so it’s worth spending time to make sure your communications are thoughtful, articulate, and appropriately friendly.

Read over your email before you send it. You may find a grammatical or spelling error to fix. Most email servers have auto-correct, an often-helpful tool to avoid embarrassing mistakes (but don’t overly-trust auto-correct, since these systems are better at detecting spelling than grammatical errors). You may also find other, bigger problems with your first email draft. On a second reading, you may decide to change your wording, omit entire sentences, or clarify something. Second readings can help you catch these mistakes before it’s too late! I also recommend reading your email out loud to yourself, to make sure the grammar and tone are the best they can be. And if you still have doubts, asking someone you trust to read over your email can also help. Job seekers will find that elevating their email style will go a long way in impressing a potential employer. Conversely, managers attract top talent in a competitive market through their professionalism, including written correspondences. Following these tips will help solidify the strong professional relationships we all need for success.

The hard work of finding top talent

When you enlist the services of a recruiter, they become sales representatives, marketers, and ambassador for your company. You trust that when they talk to candidates they will be accurate and informative. And to be most effective, you need them to convey a complete picture with meaningful, detailed information about your company and the opportunity.

Unfortunately, this degree of thoroughness is less often the case than you might expect. Recruiters rushing to get candidates submitted to hiring managers often don’t take time to adequately research their client’s company. And often they don’t fully understand the job requirements along with the culture, manager’s key preferences and the broader opportunity perspectives. This is especially true when companies open up their searches to multiple recruiters for the same job opening.

We often hear from candidates that our recruiters at Weatherhills Group know more about our client companies than 95% of the other recruiters they talk to. This is because we work hard to obtain and understand all the pertinent facts about your product offering, culture, stakeholder expectations and your competitive environment. This work is built into our process, never skipped, and includes extra steps when we are the sole recruiter.

We have adhered to this practice since we began recruiting in 2000, and while it means more work, we know it makes a significant difference. With our process, we are able to represent our clients more accurately—say what they would say—and provide candidates with a more complete understanding of the opportunity. The result is more precise screening, more candidates who are better able to objectively determine if the opportunity is right for them, and clients spending less time interviewing. And most importantly, our process substantially improves the likelihood that our clients will make good-fit hires that will be long-lasting top performers.

Your company works hard to develop its brand and positive reputation. When you enlist the support of a recruiter you need to have confidence they will honor and bolster that image. Your company’s success hinges on making the right hires. When you work with a recruiter you need confidence they are consistently finding the best candidates. The first step in gaining that confidence is knowing that your recruiter is doing the essential work needed to understand and convey the complete picture about your company and the opportunity.

For more about optimized hiring, visit Weatherhills Group.com

 

###