Don’t forget to include a question in your follow-up interview email to help make it stand out.

You deserve to take a breath — you've just finished your latest job interview! But now you're wondering what to do next. Well, it's time to craft a follow-up thank-you email.

The good news is this doesn't have to be a super labor-intensive process. You just need to include the essential elements: Say thank you, make it personalized, and show sincere interest. It doesn't need to be anything lengthy — short and sweet.

But there's one element many interviewees forget to include: a question.

Asking a question in your follow-up thank-you note helps convey your interest and keeps the lines of communication open. Not sure what to say? Here are a few questions you should ask — and a few you should avoid altogether.

Questions to ask after an interview in your follow-up note

1. What are the next steps?

You might have asked this question at the end of your job interview, but if it slipped your mind, no worries. Now's the perfect time. You can ask variations of this: “What shall I expect next?” “Do you have a timeline in mind?” Just be careful not to overstep and ask when you'll be hired. Too much confidence, in this case, isn't good.

2. Can you explain this aspect of the job again?

Sure, you walked into the interview armed with a list of questions, but if you were feeling nervous, you might have forgotten to ask some. It could have been, too, that you felt hesitant following up on a certain aspect of the job. Your follow-up thank-you email is the perfect chance to gain clarity.

For example, say the interviewer asked if you're OK traveling a bit for the job. You might have said yes, but now that you're thinking back, you're wondering what that entails. How frequently would you be traveling? How far?

Be sure the emphasize that you're not concerned — you're just looking for some more details and clarification.

3. Do you have any lingering questions for me?

Just like you might have forgotten to ask a question in the interview, the interviewer might have skipped over something too. Let your point of contact know you're open to answering any other questions that could help with the hiring decision.

You can also use this to round out your email. A simple “Let me know if you have any additional questions in the meantime” will do.

4. Is there anything else you need to help make your decision?

If you're stumped and none of the above questions fit your situation, conclude your email by asking if there's anything else you can do for the hiring team. This lets them know you're willing to come in for another interview, get on the phone with another team member, or provide them with more information.

It also continues to demonstrate your interest in the job and your willingness to do what it takes to get it.

What to avoid asking in your follow-up interview email

Now that you have a good idea of what to ask in your follow-up interview questions, it can be beneficial to review what to avoid asking.

It's safe to say you should avoid bringing up money. At this point, hold off on asking about the salary and benefits situation. You're getting ahead of yourself, and these types of questions could give off the impression you're more interested in the pay and perks than the job and company.

You should also avoid asking about any reimbursements. If you had to travel for an interview and the company promised to reimburse you for those expenses, wait to bring it up. Chances are, it'll get taken care of once the interview process starts coming to a close.

Finally, resist asking outright when you'll know if you've been hired. There are more eloquent ways to inquire about the timeline of the hiring process (see question No. 1 above) without being too assertive and aggressive.

Overall, the job-search process takes time. You'll have to be patient and do your best to leave the lines of communication wide open — and luckily a simple question in your follow-up email can do just that.

Not sure if you're effectively selling yourself during the job interview? Our TopInterview coaches can help!

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