Just like in the world of sales, the follow up advice out there can be a little conflicting. You don't want to annoy the interviewer, but you also don't want to be forgotten, right? So whether you're applying for a job or following up with a prospect, it can be a little confusing on whether or not you should follow up.
Regardless of what advice you read, it's proven that a follow up is important. According to a recent Accountemps survey, 24% of HR managers receive follow-up emails after interviewing candidates, but 80% of hiring managers find these thank-you notes helpful when reviewing candidates.
When interviewing at HubSpot, I sent a thank-you email that impressed my interviewers so much they hired me within seven days. Apparently, that's 20 days faster than their average turnaround.
Here is the step-by-step process you can follow of exactly what I did:
How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview
1. Don't listen to boring and repetitive advice online
If you search "Follow up email after interview" in Google, you'll come across incredibly boring email templates, such as this one:
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me yesterday. It was such a pleasure to learn more about the team and position, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to explore a career with your company.
I look forward to hearing back from you about the next steps, and please let me know if I can provide any additional information.
So, what's wrong with it?
- It's incredibly boring.
- The same thing could be written to any other interviewer.
- Fails to mention any personal connection or topic of conversation that occurred during the interview.
- Conveys a lack of interest in the company.
- Provides no added value to the interviewer.
If I sent this as my follow-up thank you email, I might as well not have sent one at all. I needed to prove that I deserved the job. That I was the person this team needed.
2. Write a customized, detailed thank-you email based on your interview conversations
Here is the word-for-word email I sent my future hiring manager:
Thank you again for talking with me Tuesday night, I really appreciate the advice and all your help. It was great to learn more about the Sidekick team and your experience at HubSpot.
Working with such a scrappy, fast-paced team within a company I truly admire would be an incredible learning experience, and I would love the opportunity to prove I'm a great fit for the role.
Attached is a how-to slide deck on SEO that I created for our [Client name] at 451 Marketing. I've also attached my resume and a one-pager to illustrate why I want to work for HubSpot and how I align with the culture.
Below are highlights of publications I've contributed to:
- Informational Search Queries Take the Cake, or Pie - 451 Heat
- My Summer at 451: An Intern's Inside View - 451 Heat
- Downtyme: Saving you from your Smartphone - Rough Draft Ventures
- Dyli: Personalized Fashion Discovery - Rough Draft Ventures
Finally, below is a link to my website where you can see more of my publications and projects. I've also included a link to a program I initiated at Boston University this year called the "Thanksgiving Homestay Program."
Hope you're staying warm and surviving Juno. I look forward to hearing back from you!
I knew I wanted my post-interview follow up email to convey these elements:
- Context and personality: I started jotting down notes after the interview to ensure that I could include some personal connection or common interest that would help Anum remember me among a pool of hundreds or even thousands of candidates.
- Determination: I tried focusing on these main themes to demonstrate how badly I wanted the job:
- Specific characteristics of the team that stood out to me
- Elements of the position that appealed to me most
- Values that I share with the company
- For example, I emphasized the “scrappy, fast-paced" nature of the team as an aspect that particularly excited me about this role.
- Value: I recapped why I would be an asset to the team and the company. Instead of talking in generalities, I cited concrete examples of how I would contribute by drawing from past experiences, providing links to various content, projects, and presentations that I have worked on, some of which I had spoken about during my interview.
- Hustle: Finally, I needed to hustle. This brings me to the final step.
3. Show your unique value in an authentic way
Smart people want to hire people who hustle. So I determined how to stand out from hundreds of other applicants.
I demonstrated I wasn't just qualified for the position, but I was qualified for the culture. A few years ago, HubSpot published a SlideShare on their “Culture Code."
I used that code to illustrate (literally) how my own personality matches HubSpot's culture:
A few hours after sending this email, I saw (using HubSpot Sales) Anum opened my emails and clicked my links.
I had two more interviews scheduled the following week. I was hired that Thursday evening.
Anum later told me the importance of this extra step in the hiring decision …
"Your personal culture code was a major contributor in deciding to move you along our interview funnel. Not only was its content reflective of how your values tied to our company's values, the act of making it showed hustle and that you understood the importance we place on culture at HubSpot."
And now I'm writing this from my desk at HubSpot, sitting directly across from Anum.
All because of a unique thank you email.
4. Customize your emails after each step in the interview process.
Make sure you're emailing everyone involved in your interview process and customizing your notes according to the stage of the interview process and what you discussed with that person.
For example, if you're sending a thank-you email to the recruiter who contacted you, you could include something like this:
"Thanks for answering all of my questions about the role and setting up my next interview with [Hiring Manager]! I appreciated your insight into how the team measures success, and I believe my experience [Details] would bring a lot to the team."
Then, if you're sending a follow-up thank you email to the hiring manager, you could include more details from your conversation:
"Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about the position today! It was great to learn more about your strategy and approach to [Details], and I completely agree with your philosophy on [Details]. I believe my experience [Details] could bring a lot to the role and the team -- here's my recent [Blog post, white paper, talk] on the subject if you'd like to read more about it. I'm excited about learning more from your team's VP in our conversation next week, which I appreciate you setting up."
Finally, if you've made it to the final stage of the interview process and are awaiting a decision on the role, make sure your thank-you email is enthusiastic and confident so the hiring manager has the most positive possible impression of you before making a decision:
"I wanted to drop you a final note to thank you for setting up such an interesting and engaging interview experience. I feel like I've learned so much about the [Company] culture from speaking to so many team members, and it was exciting to hear how enthusiastic and bought-in the team is to the power of [Team/Role]. After my final conversation with [VP/Executive], I'm more excited than ever about the position and discussing next steps. Please let me know if you have any other questions or next steps for me! Thanks so much."
It's amazing how putting in a few extra minutes of thought and creativity can get you exactly where you want to go.
To learn more, read our tips for introducing yourself over email.