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How to Follow Up After the Interview

“I'd just finished interviewing with a company for a job I really wanted. I decided to be proactive and immediately sent a thank-you text to my interviewer. While I thought I wrote ‘I can hardly contain my excitement about the possibility of working with your organization,’ auto-correct changed ‘excitement’ to ‘excrement.’ Still got the job!”

—Job seeker currently retrieving their phone from the river they threw it in

Only 43% of candidates send their interviewer a thank-you note after an interview, according to a CareerBuilder survey.1 This is a layup opportunity for candidates who want to stand out. Remember that most job opportunities have three to five final candidates. Your goal is to win this competition, which means you want to make sure you are memorable to every person in the process.

There are three techniques to writing a follow-up thank-you message, but all of them follow the overriding golden rule: talk about the interviewer—not yourself!

Cartoon illustration of the florist.

Tell Them They've Increased Your Enthusiasm

There is no better way to compliment your interviewer than to say meeting them increased your interest in the role. Confirm what they suspected—that they were great in the interview!

“When I walked in the door, I was already interested in the role, but talking to you cemented it for me. I am even more excited about the prospect of joining your team now.”

Show You Listened to Them

Repeat something you learned or a key takeaway you had from speaking with them. Limit yourself to one or two examples, and share how their words affected you.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 1% of company profits are donated to charity. That reinforced so many things for me about what's great about your company!”

Highlight Their Best Moment

“The candidates who send thank-you notes earn extra points in my book. It's polite and it makes them stand out. I'm not just looking for people with the right professional skills. I'm looking for people who know how to act like adults. I don't know when it happened, but it feels like civility and manners are a lost art.”

—Employer who knows chivalry is dead

Revisiting their best moment from the interview falls in the category of “acceptable flattery.” You do this by either (a) rehashing the best question they asked or (b) revisiting a moment they changed your mind or (c) describing a moment they taught you something. Keep this section brief, but end with a question to invite further post-interview dialogue.

“On the drive home from the interview, I kept replaying our debate about the right time to upsell a customer. After reflecting, you've changed my mind. I am swayed by the framing that you're not upselling—you're introducing them to everything the product can do. Who taught you to think about it this way? If it was a book I'd like to read it! Please let me know.”

By expanding on that moment, you are highlighting what it would be like to work with you. In a nutshell, one great moment with you will lead to many more!

Summary

· Follow up with a thank-you note that focuses on the interviewer and invites more dialogue.

Note

1. 1. “These 5 Simple Mistakes Could Be Costing You the Job,” CareerBuilder, June 10, 2019, www.careerbuilder.com/advice/these-5-simple-mistakes-could-be-costing-you-the-job.

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