I sat on my wicker desk chair, my head already dancing with faraway daydreams of a summer spent interning at HubSpot — a company I’ve been dying to work for since my freshman year of college. I had just gotten off the phone with Anum Hussain, content strategist and growth marketer on the Sidekick team at HubSpot.
I did it! It’s over! It went well, I thought, and now I just have to wait to hear back.
Well, no. A crucial part of the interview process still remained: The follow up.
Some will tell you not to bother, others will advise you to immediately send a snail mail thank you card. Call them, don’t call them. Wait until you hear from them. Keep it short. Or just be patient!
Just like in the world of sales, the follow up advice out there can be a little conflicting. You don't want to annoy the lead, but you also don't want to be forgotten, right? So whether you're applying for a job or following up with a prospect, it can be a little confusing on whether or not you should follow up.
Regardless of what advice you read, it's proven that a follow up is important. According to CareerBuilder, one in five hiring managers say they are less likely to hire a candidate who didn’t send a thank you follow up after the interview.
Good thing I did, because it worked. I sent a thank-you email that impressed my interviewers so much that they hired me within seven days. Apparently that's 20 days faster than their average turnaround.
Here is the step-by-step process you can follow of exactly what I did:
Step 1: Don't listen to boring and repetitive advice online.
If you search "Follow up email after interview" in Google, you will come across incredibly boring email templates, such as this one:
So, what's wrong with it?
|It's incredibly boring.|
|The same thing could be written to any other interviewer.|
|Fails to mention any personal connection or topic of conversation that occurred during the interview.|
|Conveys a lack of interest in the company.|
|Provides no added value to the interviewer.|
If I sent this as my follow-up thank you email, I might as well not have sent one at all. I needed to prove that I deserved the job. That I was the person this team needed.
Step 2: Write a customized, detailed thank-you email based on your interview conversations.
Here is the word-for-word email I sent my future hiring manager:
I knew I wanted my post-interview follow up email to convey these elements:
1. Context and personality. I started jotting down notes after the interview to ensure that I could include some personal connection or common interest that would help Anum remember me among a pool of hundreds or even thousands of candidates.
2. Determination. I tried focusing on these main themes to demonstrate how badly I wanted the job:
specific characteristics of the team that stood out to me
elements of the position that appealed to me most
values that I share with the company
For example, I emphasized the “scrappy, fast-paced” nature of the team as an aspect that particularly excited me about this role.
3. Value. I recapped why I would be an asset to the team and the company. Instead of talking in generalities, I cited concrete examples of how I would contribute by drawing from past experiences, providing links to various content, projects, and presentations that I have worked on, some of which I had spoken about during my interview.
4. Hustle. Finally, I needed to hustle. This brings me to the next step:
Step 3: Show your unique value in an authentic way.
Smart people want to hire people who hustle. So I had to determine how I could stand out from the hundreds of other applicants.
I needed to demonstrate that I wasn’t just qualified for the position, but I was qualified for the culture. A few years ago, HubSpot published a SlideShare on their “Culture Code.”
So I used their culture code to illustrate (literally) how my own personality matches HubSpot's culture:
A few hours after sending this email, I saw using HubSpot Sales that Anum opened my emails and clicked some of my links.
I had two more interviews scheduled the following week. I was hired that Thursday evening.
Anum later told me the importance of this extra step in the hiring decision …
Your personal culture code was a major contributor in deciding to move you along our interview funnel. Not only was its content reflective of how your values tied to our company’s values, the act of making it showed hustle and that you understood the importance we place on culture at HubSpot.
And now I’m writing this from my desk at HubSpot, sitting directly across from Anum.
All because of a unique thank you email.
It's amazing how putting in a few extra minutes of thought (and creativity) can get you exactly where you want to go.