When should you send a follow-up email?
Let’s first define a follow-up email. It is a brief, polished thank you note addressing an interviewer.
After a screener? Not expected.
After an OCI or pre-OCI screener interview, no one is necessarily expecting a follow-up email. So you shouldn’t feel obligated to send one (and it won’t reflect poorly on you if you don’t send one), but you are welcome to if you especially connected with the interviewer.
After a callback? Nice touch for the attorneys with whom you had a great conversation.
After a callback, it’s a good idea to send a follow-up thank you email to attorneys with whom you interviewed and had a particularly positive conversation.
Be careful – don’t let your follow-up email be used against you.
A follow-up email is a good way to reinforce your interest in the firm, but must be done cautiously. A simple email saying “Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it.” is nice, but doesn’t do much for your candidacy. And an error in your follow-up email can reflect negatively.
— Be sure to touch on a specific point in your conversation that you connected on or that you found interesting. If you joked about something during the interview, that could be something to reference to add a nice touch to the email, if appropriate.
— Be sure to proofread you email so it is polished. Having a typo or poor grammar could count against you. Don’t worry if you don’t get a response either — usually attorneys will forward it to the recruiting team and add it to your file, but won’t always respond. And make sure to always, always, always spell the attorney’s name correctly. Double-check if you have any doubt.
— Keep it simple, nice, and short. Don’t overthink it.
Send it 12-24 hours after the interview.
For morning callbacks, sending that evening or the next morning is good timing. For afternoon callbacks, sending the next morning is good timing.
A good tip is to draft the follow-up emails immediately after the interviews (as tired as you might be at that point, you will not regret it). This way, the interview is still fresh on your mind and you can write it more easily. Then, save the emails in your drafts. When you are ready to send later that day or the next day, revisit the draft and proofread carefully with fresh eyes. Then, send away.
Another pro tip — never put the recipient’s email in the “To” line until you are ready to send. Otherwise, you risk awkwardly sending accidentally while you are writing the email or saving to drafts.