Going beyond a “thank you.”

Congrats on crushing that job interview!

No, seriously—talking about your accomplishments isn’t easy. But doing so under pressure in front of an interviewer from a company you really want to work for? That’s even harder.

And that’s not to mention all the work you had to do leading up to the interview: researching the company and its past work, tailoring your resumé to the job description, perfecting a role-specific cover letter, a pre-screening interview…

Jeez, you must be exhausted.

An exhausted person lays on the floor.

Don’t lose momentum just yet, though—there’s still one more thing you have to do to leave a lasting impression:

The post-interview followup.

What’s a followup?

A post-interview followup is a personalized communication you send out to the person who conducted your job interview to thank them for their time, fill in any information gaps and provide further resources related to the job you want.

Now, we know what you’re thinking:

“Didn’t I do all that stuff, you know, in the interview?”

Yes; but you need to do it again.

A cartoon troll holds up a finger and says "One more time!"

For one, providing the interviewer with a written followup gives them something to refer back to—your interview was most likely only a small part of their very busy day; so they might forget some of the colourful details from your conversation. And, second, following up after your interview shows initiative and enthusiasmattributes virtually any employer looks for [link to What are soft skills and how can you use them to succeed? article].

Don’t worry about how to write one, though. IGNITE will make it easy.

Here’s how to nail the post-interview followup:

Step one: pick your format

In today’s world, there are endless ways to get in touch with people: emails, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook DMs, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, texts, Slack—and, believe it or not, phones, letters and fax machines still exist.

Mr. Krabs blows cobwebs off an old computer.

Ultimately, how you choose to follow up with your interviewer should depend largely on the nature of your professional relationship. If they were already part of your network—maybe you’d met them previously for a coffee or informational interview—and you have a history of communicating on social platforms, then a DM could be appropriate. If you had no prior connection to them or the company, something more formal, like an email (or even a handwritten letter if the company keeps it old school) is preferrable.

In general, though, you can never go wrong with a nice, clean, to-the-point email—so that’s what we’ll use for this guide.

Step two: time it right

A person runs around a clock.

You know how real estate is all about “location, location, location”? Well, post-interview followups are all about timing, timing, timing.

You don’t need to fire off a message the second you step out of the interview room; but you should get one out within 24 hours. That way you’re still fresh in your interviewer’s mind.

Step three: gather your info

Shaunie O'Neal says, "I'm gonna look that up."

You’ll need a few things to write a properly powerful and persuasive followup:

  • Your interviewer’s full name
  • Your interviewer’s email address
  • The company’s full name

We know this might sound obvious; but all these details are worth double-checking—few things can turn a hiring manager off faster than a misspelled name or title.

For this guide, let’s say you had an interview with Company Inc. for a graphic design role and the person who interviewed you is Hafsa Abbas, Company Inc.’s talent acquisition manager.

Step four: write it down

A cartoon cat writes in a notepad.

The nice thing about writing a followup email is that it’s, well, an email—so if you know how to write a solid one, you’re already halfway there.

If you don’t, you’re in luck: IGNITE has a guide for this too. But here’s the abridged version:

  • Use full block format
  • Keep it to one screen or less
  • Refine a short and sweet subject line
  • Be direct with a greeting, a purpose statement, an explanation, relevant details, a call to action and a sign-off
  • Don’t forget your attachments

Step five: include something useful

Hands touch up a bow on a gift-wrapped box.

To really shine in your followup communication, you don’t want to just say “thank you;” you want to demonstrate your zeal, talents, attentiveness and your ability to benefit the company by including something useful. This means you’ll have to do a bit of extra homework, yes, but it’ll also mean you stand out from the candidates who only shared a thank-you.

The thing you offer your interviewer could be a professional resource you know about, an article you found useful or some of your own work. But, whatever it is, it should be:

  • tangible
  • helpful
  • related to something you talked about in the interview

For example, let’s say, during your interview, Abbas offhandedly mentioned Company Inc. is looking to redesign its logo in the near future. So, in our followup, we’re going to show them we were listening to what they said, that we’re eager to be of use at Company Inc. and that we’re great graphic designers by attaching some new logo mock-ups we created.

The final product

Crash Bandicoot kneels as the words "Ta da" appear at his sides.

Here’s a sample followup email based on the details in this article:

Subject line

Thank you for your time!

Followup email

Dear Hafsa Abbas,

I hope your week is going well. I wanted to extend a formal thank-you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday morning; it was a pleasure to talk with you about Company Inc.’s current goals and how my skills can help achieve them. 

Following our discussion, I gave some more thought to your comment about how Company Inc. is looking to redesign its logo in the near future. And, based on its portfolio and brand personality, I’ve put together a few mockups that I feel could be instrumental in securing new support for the company without alienating longtime patrons. I’ve attached them below; I hope they can be a resource for you!

Thank you again for sharing your experience and expertise with me during our conversation. I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process and, in the meantime, please let me know if there is any additional information I can provide.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Your name

Attachments

Your logo mockups

Bam! Now all you gotta do is wait to hear back.

Spongebob Squarepants brushes his hands together as if to say "all done."

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