Whether you’re positive you aced the in-person interview, or positive you bombed it, it’s always a good idea to follow up by sending a professional correspondence.

Job seekers are often worried about being annoying or coming across as needy, but experts largely agree a follow-up email is appropriate after a 48-hour grace period. Consider the possibility you are in direct competition with another qualified candidate, but they send a follow-up email before you. In this situation, you’d likely be at a disadvantage.

You should be thinking about this step in the process before you even sit down for the interview. At the interview’s conclusion, ask about the next steps in the hiring process and what the best possible way to check about the status of the open position. This setup lets you know when and where to direct your inquiries.

Sitting down to write a follow-up letter

Review our post The Importance of a Thank-You Note to glean basic etiquette and policies for sending a follow-up letter. Follow these tips and follow-up of best practices:

  • Most experts recommend waiting 48 hours before following up, but if you are reading this and 48 hours has already passed; go ahead and follow up now. The saying ‘better late than never’ definitely applies here.
  • Before sitting down to write out your follow-up email or handwritten letter, consider your mood. If you’ve had a bad day or are feeling stressed, wait until you’ve calmed down to start composing your message. You don’t want those unsavory feeling bleeding onto the screen.

Contents of the email itself

The email should be short, to-the-point and conversational. Don’t waste time with small talk, well wishes and other pleasantries. Start by letting the hiring manager know you are following up, hopefully as you had discussed at the end of the interview.

Next, write a sentence or two about how you can bring value to the open position and to the company in general. Experts suggest you take the suggestive tone of a helpful, yet respectful consultant.

If you are positive the interview went badly, acknowledge any mistakes you made and say you didn’t represent yourself to your fullest potential that day. In this situation, you could still turn a lost job prospect into a potential networking contact in the hiring manager.

Conclude your follow up by indicating your desire to provide additional background information about yourself and possibly discuss the opportunity further.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you double- and triple-check your letter for typos. If possible, have a friend to proofread your message.

If the first letter gets no response, wait 48 hours and then call either the hiring manager or a human resources manager. If this phone call doesn’t produce results after 48 hours, reach out one final time with another email.

At Cornerstone, we have a knowledgeable staff working not only to land you that interview, but also you help walk you through the process. Simply drop us a line and we can get started on finding you the perfect opportunity.

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