So you impressed HR with your resume and landed an interview with the hiring manager and a few select employees. You met with the group, and you’re so confident in your performance that you’d be surprised if the company doesn’t erect statues depicting your glory.
But a few weeks have gone by and you haven’t heard a thing. What happened? You failed proper interview follow-up etiquette.
A recent survey of more than 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees revealed that 91 percent found it helpful for a promising job candidate to send a thank you note following an interview. While the communication vehicles for sending the note differed, the message is clear: following-up remains an essential step in the hiring process.
Following-up demonstrates that you’re interested in the position and the company for which you interviewed, and that you truly appreciate your interviewers taking time from their busy schedules to meet with you. It also keeps you at the top of the hiring manager’s mind when it comes time to make a decision.
To correctly follow-up after an interview, you must begin during the interview itself.
Ask About The Next Steps
Since you’re such a stellar interviewee, you already know that coming prepared with questions is a must-do. Don’t leave this very important question from your list. Asking the interviewer, “What happens next?” gives you a timetable of when it’s acceptable to touch base. If the hiring manager says he will be making a decision within the next two weeks, you know how long you have to complete the other steps in the follow-up process.
Acquire Business Cards
The professionals who interviewed you may have slipped their business cards in your hand immediately after the hand shake, but if they didn’t, be sure to ask for their cards before you leave. Collecting business cards from each professional makes your life easier when crafting thank you notes (our next step!) because you’ll have their titles, emails and correct spelling of their names. If one of the interviewers forgot to bring his business card, write down his name, email and title on the pad of paper you came prepared with.
Send Thank You Notes
Notice that the heading of this section is plural—if you interviewed with multiple people, you need to send individual notes to each. Physical paper notes are a nice personal touch but aren’t always necessary. In the survey mentioned above, 87 percent of those interviewed said email is an appropriate method for following-up. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your interviewers how they prefer to be contacted before leaving the interview.
When crafting thank you notes, keep your copy concise and specific. Integrate key messages from your personal brand and remind your interviewers why you’re the ideal choice for the position. If you discussed a certain project you completed at a previous position (and you’re sending a thank you email), attach the project specifics. Keep your thank you pleasant and brief, providing the interviewer just enough to recall your meeting. And no matter what, always get your thank you note out with lightning speed.
Sometimes the hiring process can really drag out, especially if you’re the first to interview in a long string of candidate meetings over several weeks. To stay at the top of the hiring manager’s mind, don’t be afraid to check in periodically after you send your thank you notes. You’re obviously most interested in learning the status of the position, but the hiring manager has other things on his mind, so give him something of value when checking in. Instead of asking, “Have you made a decision yet?”, forward a recent article you’ve read that you believe he’ll find interesting and helpful. Following-up in this way demonstrates that you’re a great network connection instead of a pesky wannabe employee.
When the interview is over, breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t rest on your laurels! Complete proper follow-up etiquette keeps you at the top of the hiring manager’s mind and gives you an advantage over your competition.
How do you follow-up after an interview? Share your follow-up success stories in the comment section!
Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a job seeker focused platform, making the job search social, fast and easy. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.