You’re finished with the interview! You answered every question with style and pizzazz and wooed the hiring manager with your cool story about that time you failed at tweeting but totally learned from it. Now that the stress is over all you want to do is lie down in your nice warm bed and watch Netflix.
You can’t tear off those restricting business clothes and cuddle up with the Lorelais from Gilmore Girls just yet.
You’re going to need to send a thank you note to the person you just interviewed with and later on, you might want to (or have to) send a follow-up email to check in and remind them you’re still interested!
In order to do this, you are going to have to know a couple of things:
- A moment that stood out to you in the job interview
- How you can help the company
Both of these things are going to be key to the success of your follow-up emails. They will help create a stronger memory of you for the interviewer and also make it a positive one. The problem is that by the time you’re writing these letters, it can be difficult to remember what happened in the interview.
So, how can you make sure that you do?
Write it down!
Immediately after the interview, while sitting in your car or on the bus ride home, write down a summary of the interview as well as some key details. What was a moment that really stood out to you? Was there something interesting about the company that the interviewer said? Did you really connect with him/her on a certain subject?
Also, you may have “pain-spotted” beforehand, but you can really make sure to get a realistic idea about where the company is trying to go during the interview. When it’s your turn to ask the interviewer questions, make sure you ask things like, “How are you hoping a new hire will improve this position?” or “How does this role fit in with the big picture of getting the company to point A by next year?”
Write all of this down as soon as you’re done so that it’s fresh in your mind. Trust me. Even a few hours later in the day, your memory of what was said will not be as accurate as it is right when you’ve finished the interview.
How to add these details into your follow-up email(s)
When it comes to follow-up emails, you want to make sure you’re leaving a strong impression on the hiring manager. You’re trying to stand out from all the other candidates so you can’t just offer a generic “thank you for your time” and leave it at that.
Take out that notebook, napkin, or old McDonald’s receipt (whatever you took notes on) and find that moment within the interview that really stood out to you. Maybe it was the fact that you and the interviewer went to the same camp or that the current marketing team is focused more on Facebook than it is on Twitter. Whatever it is, circle it and use that in your note.
Because this is what will help the hiring manager put a face to the name, it should come at the beginning of your letter. For example, let’s say a job-seeker has just interviewed for the position of professional hot dog taste tester, this is how they might start their thank you letter:
Hello Mr. Krainer,
This is Frankie Furter. I interviewed today for the position of professional hot dog taste tester. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. I really enjoyed our conversation about the the role that condiments play in the eating of hot dogs—I can’t believe we both endured a similar relish-overload fiasco when we were kids!
Instead of just hoping that the hiring manager will remember her, the job-seeker touches upon something that she had in common with the interviewer: they both had unhappy relish fiascos! When the hiring manager reads this, he will immediately remember this job-seeker.
Next, the job-seeker should include her knowledge of the company’s goals as well as how she, specifically, will help it reach those goals. If this same job-seeker were to continue her email, it might look something like this:
I loved hearing a bit more about where Krainer.co wants to go in terms of taste and variety of hot dogs. I think mixing in other ingredients like spices and cheeses will really allow you to reach a wider audience. I would be so excited to bring my experience as a doggie intern at WienerWorld to Krainer.co. It’s easy to see how my knowledge of tasting and creating unique hot dogs at WienerWorld could help Krainer.co expand your product line and brand awareness.
I really appreciate the time you took to meet with me.
The job-seeker knows that Krainer.co is looking to expand its clientele and so she brings up her experience working with and tasting different hot dogs. She is offering herself as a part of the solution to their problem.
See the difference between this email and a generic “thank you for meeting with me” letter? You’re not just offering your gratitude (which is very important), but you’re also reiterating why you are the ideal candidate. Which do you think will leave a stronger impression on the hiring manager?
Homework time! Even if you’re not applying to be a professional hot dog eater, that doesn’t mean you can’t write this type of thank you note. Get a head start by doing a lot of research and finding examples of why you’re part of the solution to the company’s problem. Also, do yourself a favor and bring a notebook to the interview. Though it’s possible to write on that old Burger King receipt, having a large and clear space is a lot better.