Two friends working out how to write a follow-up email

How to write a follow-up email to a hiring manager

Sending a well-crafted follow-up email may be the difference that keeps your name at the top of the pile.

If you’ve just spoken with a hiring manager or met with a recruiter, you’ll need to perfect how to write a follow-up email.

Here we’ll share the dos and don’ts when it comes to tackling how to write a follow-up email.

Why you should write a follow-up email

Hiring managers are traditionally time-poor. It is, after all, why they often choose to use recruiters to help them find the right talent.

They may be sifting through hundreds of applications while speaking with or interviewing a handful of candidates. Sending a well-crafted follow-up email may be the difference that keeps your name at the top of the pile.

Person with colourful socks wanting to write a follow-up email

The dos: How to write a follow-up email

  1. Do articulate what you hope to accomplish

It’s tempting to use the softer email opening, “just wanted to check in.” But if you’re writing a follow-up, it’s likely you want to do more than just check-in.

Be clear about what action you want from the recipient. This could be to clarify your understanding of a discussion, receive a response about your expression of interest in a role, or lock in a follow-up meeting. Whatever it is, say what you mean.

  1. Do say thank you

A thank you is never going to be poorly received and will go a little way to help make a good impression.

You might thank the hiring manager for giving you their attention to chat, especially if it wasn’t a scheduled call or email, or for offering advice. Showing gratitude, no matter how small of an act, is professional and something the recipient will remember.

  1. Do craft a strong subject line

Subject lines are known to affect email open rates. Using the word “quick” saw a decrease in the open rate while using “tomorrow” increases the likelihood an email will be opened.

The best time to write a subject line is after you have finished the body copy. This ensures the subject line will be accurate, and you can more likely include definitive dates and numbers, “Meeting tomorrow at 12:00 pm”.

Lady in a cafe formulating how to write a follow-up email

The don’ts: How to write a follow-up email

  1. Don’t open without context

You don’t want to leave the hiring manager trying to piece together how you met, what you spoke about or what is the common interest. Include a personal connection or identifier in the opening of your email. Especially if you don’t have a close relationship with the person or if some time has passed since you last spoke.

We spoke last week about [Current Vacancy]” is a standard email opener. “We met last week at [networking event]” or “[Mutual Contact] mentioned your name as a great person to talk to about [Current Vacancy]” are also examples of opening with context.

We talk more on the impact of crafting a compelling story in hiring here, ‘The power of storytelling in hiring‘.

  1. Don’t wait too long to send the follow-up email

As you’d expect, the longer you wait to send a follow-up email, the lower the likelihood the recipient will be agreeable to meeting your stated objective.

When you should send the follow-up email will also be impacted by what it is exactly you are chasing.

Some standard time frames include:

  • If you’re saying thank you after a meeting or brief interaction, wait for one to two days to send a follow-up.
  • If you’re following up on a job offer or application, send the email within one or two weeks.
  • If you’re enquiring about whether the business has any new opportunities, wait for one to two months.

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