Following up on a job interview is crucial. Even if you blow the interview, it pays to get in touch after the fact.
Ideally your interviews always go smoothly, and after each one you craft an effective note thanking the interviewer for the time, expressing enthusiasm and making it clear you listened closely to the hirer’s requirements. The follow-up letter is almost like a proposal letter. You should tailor it to the company and suggest specific ways you can address the needs you discussed when you met.
A follow-up note should always focus on what the hiring manager’s looking for. You should say, ‘I listened, I understand your needs and your challenges, and here’s how I can help you address those.’ Ideally you should remind the interviewer of what you’ve accomplished in the past, and make a couple of concrete suggestions for how you can help the company.
Do send the follow-up note as soon as possible. If you don’t have time to craft a longer note, consider sending a short thank-you immediately, mentioning that you want to give further thought to the challenges you discussed and promising to send a more in-depth message soon.
If you’ve met with more than one person in the interview process, think about what will make for an appropriate note to each. For instance, if you interviewed with someone who would be reporting to you if you get the job, you can say something like, “It sounds like you’re working on some interesting projects. It would be great to have you as a colleague.”
HR professionals tend to struggle with overloaded calendars. It’s always a good idea to send a follow-up e-mail, but if the interview was at a large company, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back. Ask the HR person during the interview how he or she would like you to stay in touch.
Do not curb your enthusiasm. A lot of job seekers forget that one of the most crucial parts of interviewing is convincing the hiring manager that you truly desire the job. Interviewers don’t just look for applicants who have the requisite skills and will fit in with a company. Now more than ever, they want candidates who want them.
You can get across your enthusiasm in many ways, preparing an arsenal of stories illustrating your skills, strengths and accomplishments is a good way to go. Rather than bragging in a general way about your abilities, describe specific experiences that show you putting those skills to use. You can speak animatedly about the pleasure and pride you took in overcoming obstacles. One advantage of storytelling over plain boasting is that it is the interviewer who draws the conclusion.
In addition to offering stories that illustrate your strengths, use a direct approach and tell the interviewer how thrilled you’d be to work for her and for her organization in particular. Describe other offers or discussions you’ve got going, and let the interviewer know she is your first choice.
Most applicants understand that they should do their homework, learning as much as they can about a company and a job, before going in for an interview. Candidates who haven’t done basic research still show up.
Ahead of time, take a notebook, jot down a few points to help you remember your best stories and note three questions to ask about the specific job and the company. Then, when the interview starts, ask permission to take notes. Use your notebook as a cheat sheet.
Before the interview winds up, ask where you stand compared with the ideal candidate. Then ask how you compare with other applicants. These questions emphasize how much you want the job and help you take action after the interview.
Write a follow-up note that addresses any ways you were told you might not fit the ideal mold. You can turn a no into a yes through diligent, enthusiastic follow-up. In the interview sometimes the most important thing you can do is get the information you need to sell yourself.
1. Show enthusiasm - Make sure you show your eagerness about both the job and the organization. Start by making sure you know everything you should about the position and the company before the interview begins.
2. How I can help - Explain how your previous experience and your fresh ideas can solve problems and make a contribution at the new job.
3. Tell specific stories - Come to the interview prepared with at least three experiences you can describe to illustrate how you tackled challenges and met and surpassed goals.
4. Say how much you want the job - Look the interviewer in the eye, say you want to work for her and why. Let her know of any other offers you've got or interviews you'll be having, and make it clear that you favor this job above all the others.
5. Refer to notes - Use a notebook as a cheat sheet of stories to tell and points to make in the interview. Then ask the interviewer if she minds if you take notes during the interview.
6. Ask how you compare with the ideal candidate - Before the interview concludes, ask how you compare with the ideal job candidate and how you stack up against other applicants.
7. Follow up - Rather than a simple thank-you letter, write a detailed note addressing any hesitations about you that may have come to light during the interview.