After all of your interview preparation, the big day has finally come and gone. Now comes the next phase: the interview follow up email.

Most candidates are aware that the protocol is to send a thank you note to all interviewers within 48 hours of the interview, ideally within the first 24 hours. However, in my experience as a recruiter I’ve seen far too many candidates leave it at a terse sentence or two of generic thanks instead of treating the interview follow up email as the opportunity that it is.

A professional and well crafted (yet still brief) job interview follow up email can reaffirm your interest in the company and keep you top of mind as the hiring manager makes his or her decision.

Laying the groundwork
The follow up actually starts during the interview. When you’re asked if you have any questions, your final questions should always be when you should expect to hear back and what is the best way to follow up.

Say Thank You
Always open by thanking the interviewer for their time and for considering you for the position. Good manners and graciousness always go a long way.

Reinforce Key Messages
Take one or two sentences to remind the interviewer about a couple of highlights from your conversation. Mention a few tidbits you enjoyed discussing that simultaneously reinforce key strengths. Don’t get bogged down in details. Stay top level and upbeat.

Reiterate Your Interest in the Job
To wrap things up, make it clear that your interview has confirmed your interest in the job and how much you would like to work for the company. Hiring managers generally want to extend offers to candidates they are confident will accept.

If you forgot to ask about when you will hear back during the interview itself, the conclusion of the follow up email is the time to do so. Then, if the date you are meant to hear back comes and goes, give a week of cushion then feel free to follow up again with a brief, polite email.

What do you like to include in your interview follow up email? Share your tips with us in the comments below.