Gabriel reached out to me about a question he had. Last year I helped him get an internship and this year he was working on getting his second internship at a career fair. Through some coaching, he was able to successfully talk with several employers and establish some good contacts including some interviews at the career fair.
One of those contacts, was so impressed that he promised to call Gabriel back to set up an in-person interview. Problem was, after two weeks, Gabriel had not heard from his contact. Gabriel wanted to know how to reach out in a way that was respectful, not pushy, didn’t sound desperate but ultimately get him a response on whether he was still being considered or if he should focus on other opportunities.
He needed to send a follow up email.
You can see Gabriel’s fb message to me below:
When and Why should you send an Interview Follow Up Email?
Through my work with job candidates from RIT that have anxiety during the job search process I've noticed that explaining not only the "What" but also the "Why" and "When", they are better able to understand and implement the information.
Follow up emails are sent usually after one or two weeks after the last interaction you’ve had with your company contact if you have not heard from them.
During an interview, one of the most important questions I like to ask is “When do you expect to make a hiring decision?” This let’s me know what the timeline is and when I should reach out if they miss that deadline.
The real reason you’re scared of sending a follow up email
Have you ever bought a lottery ticket a day or two before the drawing and not checked the winning numbers until a day or two after the drawing? I have and I’m sure you have too.
Why do people do that? Well, it’s because as long as they don’t know they’ve lost, then there is still hope.
Same goes for interviewing. We like to think that as long as we don’t know if we have been rejected or someone else was hired, there is still a chance they’re going to hire you. This kind of thinking can be counter-productive. Why? Spending limited mental energy on opportunities that are no longer available to you takes away from other opportunities you could be pursuing.
“They sounded so excited! Why haven’t they reached out yet?”
One thing to keep in mind, is that them not reaching out to you isn’t personal. You have to remember that for most people, hiring isn’t their main job. Their main job is something else (accountant, engineer, software developer, etc). Hiring is just a small portion of their job that is only done every once in awhile.
Also, people get busy especially if they missed some work days because they were at a career fair. Odds are, they got busy trying to catch up and haven’t had time to review all the applications or set up interviews.
Sample Follow up email after an interview
There is no need to make it fancy and especially if you want a response, keeping it simple is best. This works well whether you had a phone interview, in person, video, or second round interviews.
Follow up Email Sample
You can use the following template as a follow up email sample:
“Hi NAME OF PERSON,
I’m following up on the interview for the NAME OF THE POSITION we had on DATE. Have there been any updates and/or has a hiring decision been made?
I’m very excited about the opportunity so I would like to know where I stand in the process.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
YOUR PHONE #”
After Gabriel sent that follow-up email, he received a response soon after. Not only that, he also got an interview! Woooo!
Btw, this was Gabriel’s response to me:
Let’s say that instead of a job interview, they respond to tell you that they decided to go with someone else. How do you respond? Easy. Be polite, thank them for their time, and offer to stay in touch in case there are other opportunities. You can use this template:
“Thank you for your email. It’s unfortunate that I was not selected but I’m glad you found someone that fit your needs.
In order to improve myself and prepare for other interviews, can you provide me some feedback on how I can improve? I respect your decision and I promise to use your feedback as part of my job search.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
YOUR PHONE NUMBER”
Why should I send a thank you email after they rejected me?
I know it sound useless to send a thank you email but what we’re going for here are two things:
1. You want to close the conversation looking like a class act
Since most people don’t send a thank you email after being rejected, you will stand out as someone who is polite and professional if you do. Odds are that they’ll keep you in mind for other opportunities or refer you to other people. People like people who are polite.
As a side note, I used the same email above after I was rejected from a job only to be called back exactly 30 days after from that same company to offer me another job in the same department.
2. You want to get feedback to use for your other interviews
Companies don’t like to provide feedback because they are afraid they’ll get sued or they think you’ll get defensive. However, if you word the email like I did above, most of the time you’ll get a positive response and some insights on what they saw from the other side of the interview table . You can use that info to improve on before your next interview. Make sure that no matter what they send you back, you don’t start arguing with them. Just reply “Thank you for the information!” and shut it down.
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