Following Up: The Influencing Note
It is common practice to write a follow-up e-mail to an employer after an interview. These notes are often referred to as thank you e-mails. However, this practice is now so common that if you do not write a timely follow-up e-mail, you will probably not get that callback.
Let’s say there are 20 prospects that you are competing against for one open role at Tesla. You and about five other candidates outperformed the other prospects and now it is time for your final follow up. 15 of the candidates are going to opt for a polite and professional e-mail saying, “Thanks for the opportunity, I look forward to hearing back from you soon.” The other five candidates will mention what they liked about the company, maybe mention a key take away from the interview and then thank the employer for the opportunity. But what about your follow-up e-mail?
Fortunately, you are reading this helpful guide and your follow-up will not be just a generic thank you note. Instead, you will be writing an influencing note. The purpose of this kind of note is to:
- Differentiate yourself from your competition
- Put to rest any concerns of your future employer
- Reiterate interest in the position
- Make the reader feel your sincerity in the follow-up
So how, can you influence the reader beyond just the polite thank you? Here are some ideas:
- Mention something you may have forgotten to touch on during the interview.
- Address any objections that you sense the employer may have to making you an offer, or that they may have mentioned outright during the interview.
- Remind the employer of your key strengths, characteristics, or other qualifications that you bring to the table. Describe them in terms of the value you will bring to the organization.
Are you interested to see how a letter like this is structured? Please see the sample below targeted at an interview with BuzzFeed for a Video Creative position.
Dear Ms. Janice Parsons,
Thank you again for taking the time to interview me earlier today. I genuinely enjoyed our conversation and I found myself daydreaming about being a part of the BuzzFeed Video Creative Team on multiple occasions. How amazing to be a part of such a dynamic, imaginative and forward-thinking organization!
I wanted to quickly touch on my video editing experience, which seems to be your primary concern regarding my application. After thinking about it, I didn’t properly articulate why I would be able to effectively put together short captivating viral videos.
It is true that I do not have a bachelor’s degree in video editing, nor have I worked in a creative studio before. Although a formal understanding of technical editing, postproduction, and communication theory are important, I believe those skills can be easily taught and in my case quickly learned. As mentioned in our conversation, I run my own video blog and published 200+ videos in the past 2 years gathering over 65 million unique views. To be in line with industry standards, I have gained self-taught proficiency in Avid MediaCentral suite and Final Cut Pro. The skills below, which I consider my strengths, are ones that are more difficult to teach.
- The ability to engage my audience within the first six seconds of a video
- Writing scripts with a relatable tone to a large viewership
- Staying up-to-date on the latest trends and creating new viral fads
These skills coupled with my hands-on knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud, content management, and digital marketing make me an extremely versatile and useful member of any team. I know that you have a large pool of skilled candidates that you are interviewing, but I hope that I was able to differentiate myself from those individuals today.
I would like nothing more than to become your protégé and learn the finer points of becoming a creative leader in video content development. I have attached my CV as well as the original cover letter that I used to apply for the position. I look forward to hearing back from you and your team regarding the next steps.
Wishing you all the best,
Note: Remember to follow up within 24 hours of your interview and to write a customized e-mail for each of your interviewers. If you interviewed in a panel, it is acceptable to copy all of the interviewers in one e-mail response, but make sure to address each of them in the salutation of your letter.
What if a week goes by and you haven’t heard back?
It isn’t uncommon for your follow up e-mail to get hidden below the hundreds of e-mails in your interviewer’s inbox. Don’t start jumping to conclusions thinking that they forgot about you, they didn’t like you, or decided not to hire you. The likelihood is that they had other pressing matters arise and your e-mail fell to the bottom of their inbox.
You can use this sample e-mail below to follow up with an interviewer whom you haven’t heard from in a few weeks.
Subject: Following Up Regarding the Interview
Good Morning / Afternoon [Name of Contact],
Thank you again for taking the time to interview me X weeks ago. It was truly a pleasure to [speak with you over the phone/meet you in person] and learn more about the [name of the position] at [Company Name]. I wanted to quickly follow up with you to better understand the timeline for making a decision regarding the interviewee selection process. I know that this is a busy time of year for your team and that these decisions are never easy; however, I wanted to reiterate that I am extremely passionate about working with your firm and that I am grateful for the opportunity.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon!