If you’ve just finished an onsite interview, congrats on surviving what was likely a grueling few hours—but don’t breathe easy just yet. While thank you notes and follow-ups won’t likely make or break a hiring decision, it can’t hurt to let your interviewers know that you appreciated their time and circle bank on anything relevant discussed in the interview. The wrong follow-up, however, can reflect poorly on your candidacy, so follow these best practices for eliciting a response post-interview.
While sending thank-you’s the moment you leave the building might signal that you’re a bit too eager, don’t let it lag. You should put some time into tailoring your emails, so give yourself at least a few hours to collect your thoughts and craft thoughtful messages. As a general rule of thumb, however, try to get them out the same day or the next morning, while your conversations are still fresh in the minds of your interviewers.
This should go without saying, but double check the details before sending anything to the recruiter or interviewers. In addition to spelling and grammar, avoid copying and pasting the same emails to multiple interviewers—or if you must, be triple sure that you have their correct names and companies. Just as hiring managers hate receiving cover letters addressed to a different company or department, a similar mistake in a thank-you note can make you seem careless and give the team reason to doubt your attention to detail.
While it’s generally easy to find or guess email addresses, interviewers can sometimes feel invaded if you contact them directly without having spoken via email previously. If you’ve only corresponded with a recruiter, for example, ask him or her for your interviewers’ contact information—or alternatively, ask them to forward on your thank-you note(s). Doing so puts the power in the hands of the company and helps you to avoid the awkward situation of having to digitally stalk your interviewer.
While recruiters, coordinators, or administrative employees won’t make the decision about whether or not to offer you the job, it can’t hurt to thank them for the time and effort they spent organizing your visit. If you’re offered (and accept) the job, building these relationships early will help you go into the company with some alliances. Even if you end up with a different company, you never know when a positive interaction will help you in the future—particularly in the close-knit tech ecosystem.
Most importantly, if you’re looking to get a response, be sure to tailor your thank-you notes. Writing great follow-ups starts during your interview. While coming up with effective responses to questions can alone be enough to keep your brain occupied in an interview, it’s also important to pay close attention to what your interviewer is saying and to ask relevant questions, as this can often give you something pertinent to mention in your follow-up email.
To start with, try to come up with one specific detail to mention in your thank-you note—and make sure it’s different for each interviewer. This can of course be related to the role or company, but it might also make sense to mention a personal detail you discussed in the interview—perhaps their travel plans, family, or otherwise. After all, every hiring manager is looking for not only a set of skills in a new hire, but also someone they’ll want to work with on a day-to-day basis, and remembering one of these details can help to build trust early on.
If you’ve already sent thank-you notes and haven’t heard back for a week or so (and haven’t previously been given a timeline), don’t be afraid to follow-up with your point of contact. While the outcome of the interview might be top-of-mind for you, remember that hiring managers and other interviewers generally have tons of other projects and priorities, so it can’t hurt to gently nudge them—particularly if you’re in later stages of the hiring process with multiple companies. For this email, keep it short and check whether they need anything additional from you to move forward: The easier you make their lives, the quicker they’ll be able to reach a decision.