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Just Had a Phone Interview? Here’s How to Ace the Follow-up.


So, you made it past phase one: the phone interview. You’ve given the interviewer a taste of your professional experience (plus a bit of your personality!) and you’ve sussed out more of what the job at hand entails. Now it’s time to follow up.

While it’s important to show your appreciation for the recruiter’s time, don’t limit yourself to a purely transactional email. This is your opportunity to show you’re passionate about getting to the next step of the hiring process.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when crafting a thank you email that will be sure to impress the interviewer.

Be timely

Send a follow up that afternoon or early evening, or at the latest, make sure it goes out first thing the next morning. If the call went great, you’re going to want to keep the good vibes going! If not, the longer you wait, the harder redemption becomes.

Announce yourself!

There’s no way of knowing how many candidates your interviewer might’ve been in touch with that day alone. Be sure to do what you can to bring your conversation top of mind. That means directly referencing which position you’re applying for and shedding light on a particular highlight of the conversation. (Perhaps the interviewer helped to clarify a part of the role that was unclear to you, that’s a great thank you point!).

It’s never too early to start contributing

Assuming you’ve received more insight into the job, bring an idea to the table! Rebekah Rombom, VP of Career Services & Business Development at Flatiron School, can’t stress enough that making a contribution during the interview process is what makes you stand out. “Showing that you have that kind of initiative and that you’re able to contribute really fast before you even have the job makes it a lot easier for the hiring manager to say yes.”

This contribution can come in many forms. Perhaps you’re taking on a social media role, think of a fun campaign that aligns with the voice of the business or research a YouTube influencer that might be wise to partner with. If you’re a developer and discussed a challenge the company is currently facing, “take a crack at solving a particular problem and send them your code.”

Tell ‘em what you want (what you really, really want)

The interview is a two-way street. The recruiter wants to know that after learning more about the position, you actually do want it! Back up that desire with what interests you most about the company, the prior experience that you can directly apply to the role, and what you hope to learn. While internally it may seem obvious that you want the job, explicitly stating that this opportunity is something you want to pursue will ensure the interviewer that you are a time-worthy candidate.

Think next steps

Approach this tip on a case-by-case basis. If you feel completely in the dark about the next steps of the company’s hiring process, a straightforward question about their timeline is completely appropriate (it also shows you’re both serious and proactive about making this happen!). If you do have a sense of what happens next, re-emphasizing your availability and interest in an in-person meeting serves as a great closing for your email.

Seal it all up with a bow

Tarek Pertew, Cofounder at Uncubed, recommends that applicants “contribute something meaningful, or in other words, don’t forget to tip!”. Show you’re up to speed on the latest and greatist. Do some research on the field/market that you’re pursuing and find a killer (and recent!) article or blog post that you think the interviewer might find interesting. Including a simple P.S. at the bottom of your email that states “I thought you might enjoy this read on __” will show the interviewer that you stay on top of what’s trending in the field.

Keep in mind, even if you feel you totally bombed the phone interview – this is a chance to redeem yourself and, at the least, make a great new professional contact for your rolodex (aka LinkedIn).

For more insights on how to own the job search process, check out our series of career videos.

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