Are You Failing At Interview Follow Up?
Now that you have secured the interview, there are some things you should be thinking about to help keep you in the running for the next round of interviews.
Given what I know about the marathon that has become the standard interview protocol (you might meet 87 people over the course of the next 8 months, then wait an additional 6 months for an offer), you should become a pro at following up!
Looking at that schedule, there will be ample time to perfect your follow-up strategies. Here’s the down low on a practical interview follow-up strategy:
Send a thank you note (email and snail mail) within 24 hours of the face-to-face or phone meeting. If you are meeting in person, ask the interviewer for a card so you have correct spelling of his name, email, and traditional business address. If not, be sure to get the correct information from human resources or your recruiter.
Be sure to send an email immediately – this is the most expedient way to get in front of the hiring manager while chances are you are still top of mind.
- Avoid using cutesy Internet stuff, like emoticons (happy faces, u for you, etc.)
- Do not capitalize words randomly or type in all lowercase – email correspondence is the same as other correspondence; you need to employ proper grammar and spelling rules.
- Use bullets to make your point as opposed to writing lengthy paragraphs.
While handwritten letters seem to be a thing of the past, they can help you stand out from the crowd.
Your thank you letter should:
- Demonstrate professionalism and knowledge;
- Capitalize on written communication abilities;
- Elevate you above competition – not everyone sends thank you notes;
- Allow you to reiterate why you are a good match for the position;
- Confirm your understanding of the role.
Here’s an example of a hand-written thank you note:
Dear [Insert hiring manager’s name],
Thank you for your time yesterday to discuss the Operations Manager position with Johnson & Mather. You specifically mentioned the need for someone who can streamline internal processes and improve production of your LCT testing product.
Having added value in a similar role with Mitchell Shields, I believe that my background, knowledge, and skills have prepared me well to join your team. It would be a pleasure to contribute to your ongoing success. I am certain you will find my work ethic and commitment unsurpassed. I look forward to hearing from you regarding next steps in the process.
If no response from either your email or via snail mail, try calling or sending an additional note about 5-7 days after your interview. If you phone the hiring manager, call before or after business hours. Or if you decide to send another note, be sure to express your continued interest – helps to keep you on their mind.
Email is quick short bursts of information, but writing a traditional note sends a different message. It shows that you have taken the time to write and follow up vs. sending something straight from a computer, which anyone can do. Not everyone will take the time to draft a handwritten note.
The point is to follow-up periodically thereafter to maintain ongoing knowledge of where the hiring manager is in the process. Don’t be alarmed if the process drags on – this is a common occurrence – especially in today’s economic environment.
Follow up is predicated on your knowledge of the person and position. Periodically can mean weekly or even longer if there is no position available. You don’t want to stalk the hiring manager; you want to stay on the radar.
Be diligent and professional and don’t be afraid to remind them of your value. If you don’t promote yourself, who will? If you need help, you may want to hire a career coach to help you through the process of interviewing and following up. While it may be grueling, it is the squeaky wheel that will get the grease – and the job!