Preparing for an interview takes a lot of energy. And after the interrogation— err, interview— it’s easy to want to let out a huge sigh of relief and wait to hear back. But if the interview process was a movie villain, they’d say ‘it’s not over yet!’ And they’d be right. There is a massive opportunity right in front of you. The window for persuasion has not closed, and you still have an active role in the evaluations taking place. By taking the five following steps after an interview, you can tip the scales in your favor.
Big or small, progressive or traditional… Every organization has its own ideas of best practices. Technically, this step is best taken before the end of the interview. But if you didn’t get to it beforehand, it’s still a good idea to ask afterward. You want to find out about the preferred way to follow up post-interview. If they can give you a timeline for their decision-making as well, great! Ask about when to follow up, with who, and how. And speaking of knowing who to follow up with, hopefully, you took note of each person you met along the way.
You never know who will end up being a part of the hiring decision. It’s not unheard of for hiring managers to ask janitors or receptionists for their impressions of you. Therefore, remembering everyone you bumped into during interviews will reflect well on you. If you aren’t sure of someone’s name that you spoke with (or can’t recall what they do) try to look them up on LinkedIn. This can help you ensure you are spelling their name right in your thank you note, too. For future interviews, ask each person you encounter about who they are. Express interest in what they do and how they feel about working for the company. This can also give you insight into the company culture, and whether your values align with the company’s.
If you think that giving out thank you notes is old-fashioned, you aren’t alone. But the truth is that although thank you notes are increasingly rare, it’s an advantage for you if you send one. It’s one more way to stand out in the crowd of applicants and interviewees. Accountemps took a survey of over 300 HR managers in the United States to find out how effective thank you follow-ups are.
The research found that:
It’s all right there in the data. Reaching out after the interview will only help your case! As far as the best way to go about your thanks, there are a few good options. Sending out physical cards, virtual thank you notes and emails, or phone calls. The same Accountemps survey also asked hiring managers about their preferred method for interviewees to send their gratitude.
It documented that:
Whatever you decide on, make sure the note or phone call is professional, sincere, and prompt. To sound genuine, it can help to include a note that is specific to the company and the person who interviewed you. There’s no need to stalk their Instagram and comment on how cute that picture of their dog in a Halloween costume is. (You don’t want them to think your theme song is Creep by Radiohead.) Just reference details you discussed while getting to know them during the interview. If multiple people interviewed you, make sure to send each one a custom note.
Here’s an example of a thank you note to get you started:
Thank you so much for meeting with me today. I loved learning about how you built your career at Techxellent, and where you see the company going over the next few years.
To follow up on our conversation, I have attached some work samples beyond what is in my online portfolio. I also included some initial ideas for increasing website traffic with quality content. I’m happy to talk about the ideas more if it resonates with you.
Based on our meeting and research on the company, I can tell that working at Techxellent would be amazing. I strongly believe in the company’s vision of uplifting people from all backgrounds. I would love to join the passionate, hard-working team at Techxellent.
Thank you again for your time, and the chance to meet with you. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide to make your hiring decision easier.
Sometimes, the person who interviewed you may not be willing or able to discuss your interview performance. You are welcome to ask them how you did. But if they shy away from answering, leave it at that and ask if they would be willing to be part of your network. You can connect with them on LinkedIn, or ask if they have advice.
Pro tip: even shy people tend to open up when you show interest in their path, and why they do what they do. Doing so makes them more likely to be willing to connect with you. This is a great way to open doors. Maybe it’s the job you interviewed for, a mentor to guide you, or even other future opportunities. The key is to care about the person you’re talking to. Don’t fake it or try to force a networking opportunity with someone you don’t vibe with.
This goes for how you felt your performance went, and how the hiring managers represented themselves. After all, every interview is a two-way street. When you answered questions, how did the interviewer react? Were they thoughtful, or condescending while talking to you? And were you prepared for the questions they had for you? Think it over thoroughly, but don’t torture yourself by overplaying the scenario in your mind too much. The point isn’t to make you feel bad about yourself. But thinking about what went and what didn’t can help you improve the next time around.
Continue the job hunt after the interview, even if you feel like you are likely to land the position. As they say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch! Avoid making announcements on social media, or calling off other interviews you may have. Until you sign the dotted line and are officially onboarded, a company can rescind its offer at any point. So while you wait for the final decision, keep searching and networking. That way, in case you don’t land the role, you haven’t wasted time or burned any bridges.
The battle to land the job might not be over, but you still deserve to celebrate your hard work. By sending thank-you follow-ups, you’ll be going the extra mile to set yourself up for success. And even if you don’t get the job this time, there’s still a higher chance of the hiring manager remembering you. Making an impression is huge in business, so that’s nothing to sniff at!
All of the steps above will help you avoid missing a job opportunity over an absent thank you follow-up. So make sure to reach out to each person, and send unique thank-yous to everyone you speak with. Once you have followed up according to the company’s preferences, pat yourself on the back and keep job hunting. Consider networking with the people you’ve met, as well. And if you’re looking for help landing the job of your dreams, take a peek at our webinars and coaching services here.
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