A Recruiting Must-Know: How to Write a Candidate Follow-Up Email

Writing the right follow-up email is an art. A good follow-up email to your candidates after an interview can do wonders for your recruiting efforts, and even for the candidate you end up hiring.

Maintaining good communication with your candidates ensures they remain engaged and gives them the respect and appreciation they deserve after setting aside time to sit with you. However, not all recruiters have the time to sit down and spend time deciding what to write in a candidate follow-up email.

It’s important to know the anatomy of a good candidate follow-up email so you can write your own follow-up templates. Below you’ll find pre-written examples.

Why Should You Care About Candidate Follow-Up Emails?

Although many recruiters tend to think about candidate follow-up emails as an optional matter, the reality is rather different.

Candidate follow-up emails allow you to establish an open channel of communication with your candidates. It lets them know that your company appreciates their time.

Job interviews are pretty stressful to many, so follow-up emails, even just to let them know you appreciated their time, can go a long way. They allow you to begin on the right foot with whoever you end up hiring and help you leave doors open in the future for the candidates that don’t make it.

According to Glassdoor, 74 percent of candidates read employee reviews from companies before giving their opinion. Candidate follow-up emails help you capture good talent from the beginning, attracting talent instead of hunting for it.

Plus, since over 50 percent of companies expect the candidate to follow up after an interview, taking a proactive approach can help you land better talent.

In essence, follow-up emails help you and the candidate communicate openly, and establish a professional relationship.

Anatomy of an Ideal Candidate Follow-Up Email After an Interview

Here’s what the ideal candidate follow-up email looks like:

Subject Line

The subject line gives your readers a reason to open your email. Although your candidates will likely be eager to open any email coming from you, the subject line helps you establish the tone and gives them a preview of what’s to come.

Here are some examples:

  • Thank you!
  • Thank you for your time this morning/afternoon
  • Follow-up on your [DATE] interview
  • About the [position title] interview
  • Great talk yesterday!

To avoid confusing your reader, tell in the subject line the purpose of the email whenever possible.

You can, for instance, write “Thank you!” in the subject line if you’re not expecting anything of them. Like when you’re thanking them for taking the chance to speak with you or when the job has been given to someone else.

Whatever you end up writing, keep it formal and concise.

Intro

We rarely go immediately to the point in the business world. Instead, you can use the intro to thank them for their time or follow up with something that came up during the interview.

It’s always best to mention your candidates by name and mention the job position they interviewed for.

Body

Now, you can finally deliver on your subject line.

When writing the body of the article, it’s always better to keep it short. Write a body of about 100 words, and break down sentences to make it easier to read. Instead of offering as much information as possible, give them only the information they need to know and go to the point.

However, you can still make it personal by adding a few extra lines on top of your template. This works incredibly well when you’re especially keen on a particular candidate, and want to keep them engaged.

To make your emails even more effective, look through your past email exchanges with other candidates in your email provider or HR software tool and write down the main asking points. Then, you can organically weave the answers into the body of your email and make sure you’re giving the candidate the information they need.

Finally, check on your interview notes before sending an email to make sure the candidate didn’t ask for a file or a piece of information beforehand.

Closing

Now, it’s time to end the email on a positive note. You’ll, again, want to keep it simple, professional, and friendly.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Thanks again,
  • Best,
  • You’ll be hearing from me soon!
  • Let’s stay in touch!
  • Let me know if you have any other questions.

You may also want to take this chance to encourage them to contact you if their circumstances change, to let them know more about the onboarding process, or to soften a rejection with the candidates who weren’t chosen.

After adding your signature, you can use a “P.S.” to quickly add onto a ready-made template some extra information without worrying about fitting it into the body and flow of the email. You can even add a personalized signature to your closing to make it more personal.

Great Examples of Candidate Follow-Up Emails After an Interview

Here are a few examples of follow-up emails to get you started:

Simple Post-Interview Follow Up Email

Here’s a simple template to thank the candidate right after the interview and before you’ve made any final choices:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

I just wanted to thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

I was impressed with your experience and, although we haven’t made any decisions yet, I was glad to see that [COMPANY] and you share some of the same values. We’re still conducting interviews until [DATE]. After that, you can expect to hear back from us before the [DATE].

Thanks again, it was great meeting you.

[SIGNATURE]

This simple follow-up email is an excellent template for your immediate follow-ups. In less than 100 words, the email gets to the point while keeping the tone friendly and professional.

You can even use this template to automate responses and add a simple “P.S.” at the bottom when you need to add something else in any of them.

Job Rejection Template

Here’s a simple template to let your candidates know you won’t be considered for the job position:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

Thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

Unfortunately, the hiring team will be moving forward with other candidates.

At the moment, we’re looking to hire someone with a different business profile. However, I would love to keep your resume on our records to let you know as soon as we have a job opening that fits your profile.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts or feedback for me or [COMPANY NAME].

Thank you again for your time. I enjoyed getting to know you and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

[SIGNATURE]

This template lets you inform your candidate about your decision of not hiring them in a tactful and streamlined way. The rejection is softened by talking about the candidate’s profile instead of them, and the open invitation for feedback and questions may give you valuable data on your hiring process.

Finally, the closing lets you end on a positive note, wishing them well and leaving the doors open if you reencounter them.

Job Offer Template

Here’s a simple template to offer the candidate a job:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

I want to thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

The team enjoyed meeting you and, after finishing our interviews, we’d like to offer you the role of [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY]. This is a [TEMP/FULL-TIME/PART-TIME] position in the [DEPARTMENT] at [COMPANY], with a [MONTHLY/ANNUAL/YEARLY] salary of [$X] and [BENEFITS].

I’m sure you’ll fit right in with the rest of the team, and we’re excited to have you with us if you decide to accept the offer. Please find the list of documents attached to this email to finalize your hiring process.

We need your documents and signatures by [DATE], with [DATE] as your expected start date.

We’re excited to introduce you to the team and start working together.

Best,

[NAME]

When you’re offering someone a job, even if it’s something as obscure as an online job for a college student, it’s okay to flesh out more ideas and write a longer email. After all, the email should include all the information your candidate needs to decide whether or not to start working with your company.

Give your candidate clear timeframes, and make it clear when you expect to hear back from them to follow through with their application. Since you’re welcoming them into your team, you can start to transition to a less formal tone and more into the tone you have when dealing with your teammates.

Make sure you let them know you’re looking forward to working with them, and don’t forget to add any attachments before sending your email.

Conclusion

Not all of us can send a personalized note to every single one of our candidates. However, we can still show how much we appreciated their time with easily modifiable templates, cutting time, and establishing a clear channel of communication.

Streamline your follow-up process through the right recruiter tools, and automate your responses to keep up with all your prospects easily.