The secret to writing a follow-up note


After an interview, do you or don’t you send a follow-up note?

That’s a question recruiters at Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Services (BTR), Bagg Managed Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, and Turn Key Stafffing Solutions are often asked.  Do we think it’s worth it to “bother” sending a follow-up note?

In a word, YES.

Surveys show more than 50% of job-seekers don’t send these notes. But, if the selection process is tight, this email can give you a competitive advantage.

Every job typically has a “service” aspect of some kind. Whether you’d be dealing directly with customers or you’d have “internal” customers, hiring managers favour those who show they can build relationships. And sending a follow-up note confirms you know business etiquette and you know to communicate.

But what if you’re convinced, post-interview, you won’t get the job?

Send a note anyway.  Sure, a thank-you note is not going to change minds that are solidly made-up, but here are two other good reasons to send it all the same.

  1. You never know what other positions will open up at that company. You may get called back in for something that’s a better fit down the line.
  2. Hiring managers can change companies. Your paths could cross again elsewhere.

Don’t think of the follow-up note as a thank-you.

You want to do better than just a generic one line thank-you, “I enjoyed meeting with you, thank you for your time.” That reads like a cut-and-paste and shows you didn’t put in any effort.

Plus, it is the job of hiring managers to interview candidates so” thank-you” isn’t the real point.   The note is meant to show that you paid attention in the interview — you heard what the interviewer had to say, and you have reflected on your discussion.

The best thank-you is to let the hiring manager know you thought about what they said.

So take some time to craft your follow-note, using these tips. It is time well spent.

1.  Consider opening your follow-up note by reiterating the goals that the hiring manager identified for the company, team, position.

Example: I enjoyed meeting with you and it was exciting to hear how YXZ is moving into new markets. I would like to help the xxxx team skyrocket to a leadership positions in …

2.  Think about the needs the interviewer emphasized. Then, reiterate briefly how your skills and experience meet those needs.

Example: “As discussed, my experience with ABC matches your requirements for a self-starter who can…I know the market….I know the key players…I have experience in launching….


3.  Don’t forget, interviewers don’t always listen intently or remember what you may have said in your interview. The follow-up note is your chance to repeat your key messages. But again, make your points specific to what the interviewer talked about. And keep them short.


4.  If you feel you didn’t answer a question well, or you left out a good point, this is also the place to correct.

Example: “You asked about my experience with the US market, I forgot to mention … .


5.  If the interviewer showed concern about something, or you sensed he or she wasn’t convinced you have a needed skill, address the problem in this note.

Example: You didn’t know a project management software program which the company uses. You could do a little research and write something like, “I took a look at the XYZ software program and I would be able to get up to speed easily, given my expertise with similar programs.”

Again, as recruiters at The Bagg Group, we know that it’s  a challenge to get  your message across succinctly.  But, sadly, there’s a high chance that it won’t get read if you don’t.

Faced with a lot of text on a screen, busy people tend to put off reading the text until later –only later never comes.   So if you have a few things to say, keep each paragraph very short.

6.  Write jot notes to yourself as soon as fast as possible after your interview.

Follow-up notes should be sent soon after an interview, certainly within a few days. But it’s a good idea to make jot notes for yourself as quickly as possible after your interview, when everything is still fresh in your mind.

The minutes you spend capturing what you can remember from your discussion will save you a lot of time when you sit down to write a follow-up.  And it will make your follow-up note better.

For your jot notes, ask yourself:

  • How did the interviewer describe the position to me?  (If you can remember, write down the actual words they used)
  • What did the interviewer say was a goal for this job, or for the team or company?
  • What part of the job did they spend a lot of time talking about?
  • What did they ask me about – a lot?
  • What did they seem to care about?
  • What could I have answered better?

7.  Finally, proofread, proofread, proofread. 

You’ve heard us say it before, and often, but we have good reason to insist!  It’s so tempting for all of us to hit send before we proofread –a few times.  We’re so happy to finish a task, we can’t wait to send it.  But hold back.  Either ask someone to proof it for you, or take some time away from your note, and read it later with ‘fresh eyes’ so you’ll be able to spot typos more easily.


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