Following up after an interview is practically a requirement in the legal industry. Thank you notes, or emails (depending on how laid back the firm is), all play a part in confirming to a recruiter that you are passionate about working at their company. So if you’re looking to work in the law, you’ll need to pick up on this tactic quickly, and know how to do it effectively.
Why should I follow up?
Following up post-interview shows the potential employer that you appreciate the time they spent with you. It allows you to reference key parts of your conversation, and reiterates your interest in the job. It also provides you the opportunity to invite requests for additional information or a follow up.
What type of follow up could I action?
Following up can be done in a number of ways – but first, make sure you’re not following up too soon, and always ask the interviewer when you should expect to hear back first. In this article, the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs take us through the best methods:
Sending a thank-you letter
A thank you letter is courteous, polite, and well respected in the law. According to Harvard Law University, thank you notes are the key part of following up post interview in their process. A brief but enthusiastically written note a day or two after the interview can be particularly effective. It should be written within 24 hours of your interview, and emailing it is perfectly acceptable. Ensure it touches on the following points:
- Your appreciation for the opportunity
- Any references of key parts of your interview/conversations
- Your interest in the position
- An invitation to request extra information
Here is an example of a thank you note:
Dear (address the person you interviewed),
I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday to discuss my strong interest in the training contract at your firm. I enjoyed learning more about your firm and its recent efforts towards legal aid. As a local, I am aware of the issues many people in our city face with regards to this. Our conversation yesterday further strengthened my interest to work with you – I think it would be an excellent opportunity to further my career. Thank you once again for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Send a short email
If the deadline passes and you still haven’t heard back from the interviewer, send a follow up email to confirm the status of the role a couple of days afterwards. Keep the email short, courteous and friendly. You can also invite them to request any more information.
Avoid calling them – this can feel intrusive if you’re putting the person on the spot. The hiring process can often take longer than expected and can be a tense time for the recruiter. Reaffirming your interest in a position can reassure them about your level of commitment for the job.
Send an email regarding a point of interest
If a topic of mutual interest came up in the interview, then send a follow-up email referring to it. Ideally, this topic would be related to the industry you are hoping to gain employment in, so it doesn’t hurt to brush up on a few key areas which relate to your field before the interview. You could:
- Send a recent news article or a link to an online presence;
- Send a study of a positive business solution which you think could be beneficial if implemented within the company.
The idea behind this is to ensure you are at the front of the interviewer’s mind. It is also a way of building rapport with the company and shows that you are interested in your field outside your working hours. This demonstration of your initiative could be the factor that gives you the edge over other candidates.
Send an email informing of another offer of employment
If you secure job offer (congratulations!), then it makes sense to send an email to inform the desired company about the offer. This not only keeps them updated about your availability, it allows them to see the value you could add to their organisation if you are deemed employable by another. It could even make them realise they don’t want to lose you.
Connect on LinkedIn
Follow up by sending a connection request on LinkedIn. This is a friendly way of keeping in touch, and branching out on networking opportunities. If you want to add a touch of formality, let them know first before you do it. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date before you do though – it should represent you at your best. And remember, if a position doesn’t become available to you now, securing these relationships could open another door for you in future.
Bear in mind that whether you are a legal secretary, a solicitor or paralegal, sending any kind of written follow up is an opportunity to flex your written ability – proofread everything before you send it, and take a bit of extra time to draft it up.