After the Job Interview: Common Mistakes in Follow-Up Messages

After-the-Job-Interview Publié le 27 February 2020 Par

You’ve found the perfect job opportunity, sent in your customized resume and cover letter, arrived at your job interview fully prepared and hit it off with the hiring manager. Once the interview is over, however, there is still one more step you can take to put yourself in a strong position to receive a job offer: sending a follow-up message thanking the hiring manager.

Sending a follow-up message may seem like it is a bit old fashioned, but there is proof that it can make a difference. A survey of hiring managers found that 80% stated that thank you messages were either somewhat helpful or very helpful when it was time to make their final decision. With so many noting the positive effect, every job seeker should add sending a well crafted follow-up thank you message to their job search routine.

Once you decide to send a follow-up message, you must remember that it is still part of the hiring process and deserves the same high level of attention and care. Even though you’ve already done the big interview, it would be a mistake to view this as a short and inconsequential message.

There are common mistakes that too many job applicants make when crafting their follow-up messages, ones that may cost them the very job they seek.

With that in mind, let’s review common mistakes in follow-up messages:

Don’t Be Too Casual

Completing a successful job interview is like having a heavy weight lifted off your shoulders. You should maintain a professional attitude at all times, even after the job interview is over. When sending your follow-up message, use the same tone that you used in previous communication. That means proper spelling and grammar, no abbreviations, “lol”-type words or emoji. Even something as simple as including a smiley face emoji has been found to “actually decrease perceptions of competence”. You will still be expected to behave professionally if you are hired, so don’t give the hiring manager any reason to think you might adopt an attitude that they consider too casual for the office.

Don’t Send A Generic Thank You

You didn’t send a generic resume to get your job interview, so don’t send a generic follow-up message. Recruiters and hiring managers spot generic content as part of their job, so they won’t be fooled, especially after speaking with you face to face. Write a unique follow-up message after the interview that builds on your conversation. You don’t have to recap every word, but if you addressed specific themes or topics, it is a good idea to write a short paragraph (4-5 sentences) elaborating on any additional thoughts you may have. Remember that the hiring manager saw you as someone willing to put time and effort into a new job, and you must continue to do so even near the end of the hiring process.

Don’t Bug Them about Making A Decision

There is a high level of anxiety in the recruitment process. While it’s understandable to feel nervous and impatient to learn if you’ve been hired, do not repeatedly ask a hiring manager if they have made a decision. A 2018 analysis found that the average time-to-hire was 38 days, so you will have to be patient after your interview is complete. Hiring a new employee is a big decision that involves committing real time and resources on the part of a business. A hiring manager wouldn’t be good at their job if they took this decision lightly or made it hastily. During your job interview, it is perfectly acceptable to ask when they expect to make a decision, but once you have this information do not ask again in your follow-up message. You will just have to be patient and let your qualifications and credentials speak for themselves.

Don’t Contact Them via Social Media or Personal Phone Numbers

A quick Google search is all it takes to find contact information and social media accounts for many people. Despite how easy it may be to track down your interviewer’s information, you should resist the temptation. Do not contact a hiring manager through their personal phone number or their private social media accounts. Only 7% of hiring managers considered it appropriate for interviewees to contact them through these alternative channels, therefore doing so will almost certainly backfire. While personal and professional lives are becoming increasingly intertwined, do not seek out information that they have not offered you. You should strive to be professional at all times, and reaching out through non-company channels is unprofessional.

Don’t Send Multiple Messages

Nobody likes to open their inbox and see dozens of unread messengers. Given the complexity of the recruitment process and the sheer number of job seekers to be contacted and interviewed, a hiring manager is constantly receiving new messages. By sending a hiring manager multiple follow-up messages, you are simply not respecting their time. A majority of hiring managers state that sending a single follow-up email is most appropriate. Hiring managers and recruiters have a finite amount of time in their day and many responsibilities to address, and sending multiple messages expecting a quick response will do nothing to help you seem like a person they would want to work with. You would not want a coworker who did not value your time, and neither does your interviewer.

Don’t Bring Up Unrelated Topics

When writing your follow-up message, it is best to be as straightforward as possible. You should only stick to the topics and information that you and the hiring manager discussed during your job interview. It is perfectly fine to briefly elaborate on certain points, but do not bring up completely unrelated topics. This means do not mention that you’re sipping on your favourite type of tea at the local coffee shop near your apartment, or how you’re on your way to the park or listening to a new song that somehow remind you of the job. Respect the fact that the hiring manager has a limited amount of time, and cannot spend all of it hearing about extraneous details of your life.

Don’t Wait More Than A Week

After your job interview, you have a limited amount of time to send your follow-up message. In all likelihood, the hiring manager will be trying to conduct all job interviews in the span of two weeks at the most. After a brief review period, they will make their final decision and send a job offer to their chosen candidate. You must make sure that your message does not arrive after the offer has gone out to another job seeker. Reaching out to the hiring manager in a timely manner will help to solidify the good impression you have made throughout the recruitment process. Do not wait more than one week to send your follow-up message. Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget.

Following-up and thanking a hiring manager after a job interview won’t guarantee you a position, but it certainly won’t hurt your chances. Avoid  these common mistakes in your follow-up message and soon you will be working in a new and exciting job role.