How to write a follow-up email after a (remote) job interview

Follow Up Email after remote job interviewNo, you’re not imagining it; finding your dream job really is getting more difficult. During 2021 and 2022, the economy was buoyant, labor shortages were pronounced, and employers were fighting tooth and nail to land top talent. However, 2024 is a different beat, and momentum has swung back toward employers.

A recent study by the job site Aerotek suggests that 70% of job seekers are finding it more difficult to land a job in this economy. This is happening for several reasons, including economic uncertainty, increased competition, and even the effects of automation and AI.

However, remote workers needn’t worry. While some big-name companies are calling people back into the office, the trend toward geographically dispersed teams is only going one way.

The Harvard Business Review examined the Survey of Business Uncertainty last summer and noted that, according to business executives, the number of full-time, fully remote positions at their business has increased from 4.3% in 2018 to 10.2% in 2023. The same executives predict that number will increase to 11.2% in the next five years.

Yes, the job market is slowing, but there are still some great opportunities out there, especially for candidates who find a way to outwork their competition.

One of the best and simplest ways to get an edge over other candidates is by knowing how, why, and when to send a job interview follow-up email.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about remote job interview follow-up emails so that you’re prepared for success in this tight labor market.

What is a job interview follow-up email?

A job interview follow-up email is a short email a candidate sends to an employer after an interview. There are a number of reasons for sending a follow-up email, including:

  • Expressing your gratitude for your interviewer’s time and consideration.
  • Affirming your interest in the role and the company.
  • Clarifying or expanding upon anything that was missed during the interview.
  • A quick message about staying in touch for networking reasons.
  • A polite follow-up if you haven’t heard back from the employer within a specific time.

Each of these follow-up emails has some utility. However, some of them will actually increase your chances of landing a job.

So, before we share the secrets of a great follow-up email, let’s look at the reasons why they’re a great idea.

Why you should send a follow-up email after an interview for a remote job

A lot of candidates are cautious about sending follow-up reasons because they don’t want to bother the hiring manager or be viewed as desperate. However, there are several compelling reasons to send an email after an interview. Here are some of the best.

Put an end to the uncertainty

If there is one thing job seekers know all too well, it’s that looking for a new position is a waiting game. However, sometimes, the uncertainty can become too much, and the only thing you can do is send a follow-up message.

There are so many reasons why it might take a recruiter or employer a while to get back in touch with you. Sometimes hold ups are caused by unexpected new projects, changes in job specifications, sick days, a high numbers of applicants, and even stakeholder delays.

The first thing to remember is that if you don’t hear back, it doesn’t automatically mean you don’t have the job. As such, sending an email is a good idea. However, there is a fine line between showing hunger and being annoying. So, it’s best to wait 4 to 5 working days before you send a follow-up inquiry.

Expedite the process

Sometimes, you need to nudge a recruiter or hiring manager politely. For example, let’s say you’ve interviewed for your dream job and are waiting to hear back, but you get another job offer in the meantime. Instead of stringing along an employer that has made you an offer, or even worse, accepting an offer that there is a good chance you won’t take up, the best move can be to reach out and find out the status of your application.

If the employer responds to tell you you’re still in contention, it can buy you a few days. Alternatively, if they tell you they’ve gone with another candidate, you have the closure, and you need to move on to other options.

Underline your professionalism

A follow-up email to say thank you for considering your for a role is an excellent way to leave a good impression. It’s professional and courteous and shows your appreciation for the hiring team.

Additionally, this kind of follow-up email can help you build a rapport with the hiring manager. While you might not get this position you applied for, it could help with a different opening in the future.

Further your prospects

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. However, a follow-up email is a great way to increase your chances of a callback or an offer. Sometimes, there is a question that you didn’t quite get right or a piece of crucial information that you missed. Other times, you get a case of l’esprit de l’escalier (or staircase wit) and realize the perfect answer to a question when it’s too late.

So, if you have some new great idea or a piece of information that might blow your potential employee away, you can share it in a follow-up email. Ensure that it’s notable and valuable, so it doesn’t seem like you’re wasting their time on something minor.

How soon should I send a follow-up email?

According to statistics from Indeed:

  • 44% of employees hear back from an interview within two weeks.
  • 37% of employees hear back within a week
  • A mere 4% of employees hear back within a day.

While all employers are different, this should give you a rough timeline of what to expect when you apply for a job.

There is another factor that you should consider, too. After some interviews, the employer will tell you that they will get back to candidates within a specific time frame, such as a few days or weeks. You can use this information to gauge the right move.

Best practice dictates that you send a follow-up inquiry after their timeline has elapsed. Of course, that depends on the nature of your follow-up email. For example, if you want to send a thank you message for considering you as an employee, you can send that straightaway.

If you haven’t been given a rough timeline and you haven’t heard back from the employer, following up a week later is an excellent general rule.

Follow-up email checklist

Now that you understand why and when you should send a follow-up, it’s time to focus on how to do it. Here is a simple checklist for everything you need to include in your correspondence.

1. Subject line

Strive for clarity and directness in your subject line. Something like this can work:

Thank you! – Marketing Manager Interview

This kind of subject line tells the recipient why you are emailing and what context you know each other from.

2. Greeting

How you handle your greeting depends mainly on what sort of interview you did. If it was a formal interview, something like “Dear <insert hiring manager name>” would do.

If your interview was less formal, you can get away with a simple “Hello” or “Hi.”

Don’t overthink this section. Just use it to set the right tone.

3. Saying thanks

If the sole function of your email is to say thank you, then this section is essential. However, even if you’re following up after a week so if you can move things along, this is a great way to show your respect.

So, when you are saying thanks, show gratitude for your interviewer’s time and the opportunity to learn a bit more about the role. If you want to add something a little extra, share what you found most enjoyable about the experience.

4. Reaffirm your interest in the role

Genuine interest is infectious. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and show some passion for the passion you applied for. Show enthusiasm, tell the recipient why you are excited about the position, and briefly remind them about some of the skills you possess that would make you an excellent choice for the role.

5. Additional information (optional)

There are many interview scenarios where something comes up in conversation that requires a follow-up. This information could be a fascinating study that you couldn’t remember the name of, a point that you want to clarify, or something that supports your application.

The best thing to do here is to keep it brief and punchy and share the information with 1 or 2 sentences.

6. The inquiry

Perhaps the most critical part of your follow-up email. Again, keep the question concise and ask politely if there are any new developments or updates on the hiring timeline. If you haven’t reaffirmed your interest in the role (as listed above), this is the next best time to do it. What’s more, you can emphasize your availability for further discussions.

7. Signing off

Next up, sign off with “Regards” or “Sincerely” and include your name and phone number.

That is the basic structure that you can use. In the section below, we’ll include a few example follow-up emails for remote job interviews that you can learn from.

Remote job interview follow-up email examples

Now that you understand the theory behind sending out follow-up emails, it’s time to explore what it all looks like in practice. Here are a few example emails that can inspire you after your next remote job.

1. The simple thank you email

Subject line: Thank you for the <job title> interview

Dear <interviewer’s name>,

I want to share my sincere thanks for taking the time to interview me for the <job title> role at <company name>. I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the company and the role.

It was great to chat about <insert specific point about the interview>, and I am very keen to join your team.

Thanks again for considering me.

Kind regards,

<your name>.

Why this email works

This follow-up email works for a few reasons:

  • It’s concise and gets straight to the point.
  • It shows genuine gratitude.
  • It picks a specific point from the interview to underline the fact that you are interested in the job and were paying attention during your remote interview.
2. Providing extra value email

Subject line: Follow-up for <job title> interview

Dear <interviewer’s name>,

I hope my email finds you well.

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to interview me for the <insert job> position. I enjoyed talking to you, and <insert other interview panel names> felt energized by our conversation about <insert specific point from the interview>.

I believe my experience in <insert skill/qualification/experience> makes me a great fit for the role. I’m excited about the possibility of joining your team and feel I can make a meaningful contribution to <insert company goal or objective>.

I am looking forward to hearing back from you about the next steps of the process.

Best regards,

<your name>

Why this email works

This email is a good follow-up because it:

  • Reiterates your interest and enthusiasm for the role.
  • Subtly reminds the interviewer that you have strong qualities that make you a suitable candidate.
  • Prompts the interviewer to get back to you with a decision.
3. Additional information email

Subject line: Brief follow-up following <job title> interview

Dear <interviewer’s name>,

Thank you again for my interview on the <interview date>. It was a pleasure to learn more about the company and your exciting plans for the future.

During our conversation, we discussed <specific point raised during the interview>. I wanted to add an additional project I was involved in that you may find interesting: <brief description of project or link>.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m very keen on this opportunity.

Best regards,

<your name>

Why this email works

This email works for a number of reasons:

  • If the project is relevant, it should add to your chances of getting to the next stage.
  • The email is assertive but without feeling pushy.
  • It demonstrates your interest in helping the company.
4. The follow-up inquiry email

Subject line: Checking in on <job title> role

Dear <interviewer’s name>,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on my interview for <job title> at <company> on <date>. I’m very interested in the position and see it as a great opportunity. I understand you are busy, but I would love to know if there are any updates on the process.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Best regards,

<your name>

Why this email works

This email works for a few reasons:

  • It’s direct without compromising on professionalism.
  • It contains an open-ended question, which prompts a reply from the interviewer.
  • It underlines your interest in the job.

12 Tips and best practices for sending a follow-up email after a remote interview

Before you rush out and send your follow-up email, we have 12 great tips that can help your case.

1. Say thank you within 24 hours.

If the sole purpose of your follow-up email is to say thank you, send it within 24 hours. This tip is about more than just showing gratitude. It also helps you stay in the hiring manager’s mind, which is important if they are interviewing a lot of candidates.

2. Following up on the thank you email.

You can follow up on your thank you email with an inquiry about how the decision timeline is coming along. However, you should wait at least 5 to 7 days before sending this off, and even more if the interviewer said they wouldn’t make a decision for a couple of weeks or more. Use your best judgment here.

3. Get specific

You can make your follow-up email stand out more by referencing a specific point of interest from your interview. Something as simple as “I loved hearing your take on the future of mortgage lending” or “Thanks for the tip about the book. It’s been really helpful for streamlining my approach with JavaScript.”

Don’t force it. Only use this tip if there was something that you found interesting. Otherwise, it risks coming across as insincere.

4. Add value

If you referenced a report or article in one of your interview answers, you can use that as part of or even the main reason for your follow-up. Again, this tip will only work if the interviewer expresses a clear interest in this information. So, provide a link and a quick reference to the information.

5. Tone is everything

If the interview was loose and conversational, mirror that tone in your follow-up email. Similarly, if it was more formal, keep that energy going. Remember, if you’ve only met once, it’s not time to get overfamiliar. Keep it punchy and professional.

6. Use open-ended questions to your advantage

An initial thank you email doesn’t necessarily need a response. However, when you are chasing a decision, you need to do everything you can to elicit a response. As such, including an open-ended question compels the recipient to write back to you and tell you if they have made a decision about the role.

7. How to deal with multipanel interviews

If there were multiple stakeholders on your remote call, you might not have everyone’s contact email to reach out afterward. If that is the case, send the email to the panel member whose details you do have, but make sure to thank the entire team if you get a chance.

8. Always proofread

Proofread your message multiple times before you click send. In fact, once you’re sure that your email is perfect, proofread it one more time for luck. Any mistakes or sloppiness in your email could actually undermine your suitability as a candidate, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.

9. Know your limit

A thank you email and a follow-up around 5 to 7 days later is the hard limit. Anything more than that is excessive. A follow-up email should make you seem like a go-getter, not a pushy or desperate candidate.

10. Breaking the rules

While the 5 to 7 day follow-up is essential, there is an exception to the rule. According to the Harvard Business Review, if you have “a significant change in your situation or portfolio,” it’s worth reaching out to the hiring manager to let them know. HBR suggests that if you’re waiting to hear back from your dream job and receive an offer for a different position, it’s worth letting the hiring manager know that they’re your number one preference.

11. Know when to give up

If you’ve sent a follow-up email and you haven’t heard anything back, leave it at that. You need to know when to move on and focus on other jobs and postings that interview you.

12. Don’t worry about “ghosting”

Unfortunately, “ghosting” has become more common in the hiring processes, especially among recruiters. Basically, it refers to a situation where, after an interview (or interviews), the recruiter or hiring manager cuts all contact.

While this is obviously deeply annoying and, in many cases, straight-up rude, don’t fire off an email to rebuke the hiring manager. Even worse, don’t take to LinkedIn or other social media to name and shame a company or agency. There are many reasons why you might get put on the back burner, but don’t let that disappointment compromise your professionalism. You never know who is watching, so keep things dignified.

Final thoughts

In a challenging and tight job market, candidates need any advantage they can get. A remote job interview follow up email is the perfect way to show your professionalism, reaffirm your interest for the position, and even move the process along.

Sending a follow-up email is not something to take lightly. Hiring managers are busy people, and you don’t want to come across as pushy. If you make sure your email is polite, observe our checklist, and get the timing right, you can avoid any negative outcomes and perhaps even boost your chances.

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