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After the Interview:...

After the Interview: Follow-Up Protocol

So, you made it through the interview. That's one hurdle in getting a new job, but it isn't the last one you need to jump. What you do after the interview is almost as important.

Dear Christine,
I had a job interview today that I thought went really well. I am anxious to follow-up with the people I interviewed with and know I should send some kind of “thank you” note as well. What is the protocol for appropriate follow-up?—Job Seeker, 23, Kansas City

Dear Job Seeker,
Congratulations on a great interview! In terms of follow-up, there are various schools of thought on protocol, but I’ll give you a summary of what I have heard most from employers, as well as what I did that worked well back in my interviewing days.

First, never leave an interview without the business card of the interviewer so that you have their email address, mailing address, and phone number. If they don’t offer it, ask for one. I also encourage job seekers to create business cards of their own to exchange that includes your name, email, and phone number. Keep it simple, sleek, and professional.

In terms of follow-up and thank you notes here is what I suggest:

#1. The day of the interview, send an email to the individual(s) you interviewed with thanking them for their time and for the opportunity. Keep it brief and professional. Include appropriate salutations, mention one thing from the interview to jog their memory of your interaction, and also indicate when you will be following up with them, I recommend one week from the interview. This is also an opportunity to answer or further address any question you felt you didn’t cover well in the interview; the brilliance that occurred to you in the elevator ride down to your car after you left the office. Also, make sure when you send an email, that it displays your name when it appears in someone’s in box—not an abbreviation or nickname. Send a test email to yourself and a friend to confirm this.

Here is an example of a follow-up email: 

Subject line: Thank You for the Interview

Dear Mr. or Ms. X,

It was nice to meet you today and I am enthusiastic about being a candidate for xyz position and the opportunities you presented. I enjoyed discussing my love of xyz with you and learning about xyz regarding your company. (If applicable:) I gave some additional thought the question you presented to me about xyz and (insert response here). Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to following up with you on Monday.

Sincerely,
Job Seeker

#2. Send a hand-written “Thank You” note on nice stationary or buy a very simple card (no butterflies, poems, or flowers, please). In this note, again thank them for the opportunity and their time. Keep it short and sweet. If there is something more personal you discussed in the interview, like a shared hobby or a future trip they are taking, this is a good place to reflect upon that.

#3. If you do not hear back from the potential employer, call them on the day you noted you would follow-up. I recommend NOT calling first thing in the morning, right after lunch, or at the end of the day as these are times people tend to be busier. When you call, re-introduce yourself, remind them of when you interviewed, and for what position. Ask them if they have made a selection, and if not, when they plan too. Again, keep it short and thank them for their time.

And one more thing, I hear many twentysomethings be very self-critical after an interview so it is refreshing to hear that you feel good about it. Even if you don’t get the job, I encourage you to leave interviews with a positive intention. You are doing the right thing by proactively following up. Now go start writing your emails and thank-you notes!—Christine Hassler

Tidbit …

I am often asked what type of questions one should ask when presented with the question, “Do you have any questions for me?” during an interview. Whatever you do, don’t say you don’t have any!

Here a list of topics to put into your interviewing back pocket. Use these to get your juices flowing and make sure to tailor your questions to fit the moment and specific job you are interviewing for.

  • Questions about their professional background: How long have you worked here? What was your first job? Did you always know you wanted to go into this field? What do you enjoy the most about this field/your job?
  • Questions about the company that shows you’ve done some research and that you are interested in learning more: I read on line that this organization supports xyz charity or organization, can you tell me more about this? Are there weekly staff meetings? How involved is the CEO or owner in the daily operations?
  • Questions about the company culture and benefits: What kind of hours do people work? How many people work for the company? How long do people usually stay with the company? Is there a 401K program? Health benefits?
  • Questions about the position: What do you think is the most important skill required to excel at this position? Do you think there is a large learning curve to this position? What is the training protocol?

Remember, when interviewing, it’s key to be confident without being arrogant or demanding. The more prepared you are, the more calm you will be. Be sure to really listen and stay 100 percent present. As soon as your mind starts wandering to the next question or ahead to questions you may have, you are going to loose your stride. Practice your interviewing skills with a trusted advisor, mentor or interviewing service. Don’t go in cold turkey!

Originally published on ChristineHassler

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