You can breathe now—the hardest part is over. You've landed an interview with the company of your dreams and you've given it your all with the job recruiter or manager who interviewed you. And now, you wait to hear if you've moved on in the hiring process or not. But your anxiety levels are rising on the daily and you're checking your inbox and voicemail every ten minutes, hoping for any kind of response.
What should you do when you find yourself in this situation? Keeping up with job recruiters after your interview is over may seem like an old-fashioned tradition in the modern digital age, but there are many valid reasons to stay on an interviewer's radar even just a few days after an initial meeting. We spoke with job seekers and experienced recruiters alike about what you should do when you're *this close* to nailing the perfect opportunity.
1. Create a "mental hook."
We spoke with Carlotta Zimmerman, a professional career coach, who encourages her clients to create a "mental hook" in a tailored email post-interview. This hook establishes your candidacy by featuring your best skill set, capitalizing on your professional offerings and your personal interests. For example, you might mention a recent article from your favorite publication on a TV show you and your interviewer both liked, if the topic came up during your interview.
Zimmerman also tells job seekers to "share bits of humanity" in their thank-you emails, such as restaurant or vacation suggestions if the conversation ventured into that territory. She even suggests clients use their LinkedIn accounts to connect with recruiters, and share relevant industry articles to remind recruiters and their professional network of their career passions.
Jamie Zabinsky, an account coordinator at 5W Public Relations in New York City, tried those tricks when pursuing her first job. Wanting to prove her professionalism and earnest interest in the role, Zabinsky took it upon herself to send a thank you email to her recruiter, but she also included a relevant article about a topic she and the recruiter discussed during her interview. This personal touch affirmed Zabinsky's interest in her position and her desire to make a connection with her recruiter. Even better? She ended up landing the job!
2. Take advantage of social media.
But job seekers don't have to stop there (though we'd caution against reaching out too often—you don't want to come off too strong!) When used in a professional context, social media can even help you keep in touch after the interview ends. Avoid platforms like Facebook or Instagram, which tend to be used to connect in more personal scenarios, and lean into your LinkedIn profile.
Jennifer Lasater, Vice President of Employer and Career Services at Kaplan University, has some advice on how to effectively use LinkedIn to help you capture the attention of a recruiter post-interview. She says that if you choose to connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn and want to thank them via InMail, to caution against using "cute" thank you clichés and to avoid using the automated gratitude messages the site provides. Instead, Lasater says, "Craft a personal note highlighting your individual skills and why you want to connect, using professionalism in every interaction." This should go without saying, but as a reminder: you should keep every social media account clean, professional and approachable. Future employers can and will search for your profiles, so you should be sure your public persona is one you'd be comfortable with in the workplace, as well.
3. Don't dwell on it.
Career expert Vicki Salemi works with Monster.com to help connect professionals with the job opportunities of their dreams. Over the course of her career, she's witnessed countless job seekers find success connecting with recruiters and knows how to avoid slip-ups.
"The most important thing is to never take rejection personally when waiting to hear back," says Salemi. "It can feel like months when it's only been weeks since you interviewed with a recruiter, but you have to practice patience and follow up in a respectful and tactful fashion."
Salemi advises her clients to look for other jobs and opportunities and jobs while waiting for a response from an interviewer. "It's best to keep yourself busy during this time, whether it means starting a workout class or staying active in other ways," says Salemi. She also warns job seekers against telling friends about potential opportunities in order to avoid negative feedback or unnecessary career advice.
"It's always your responsibility to stay in touch with a recruiter," advises Salemi. "Follow up an interview with a thoroughly spell-checked thank you letter—whether it's handwritten or in an email—and insert a personal anecdote or reference something interesting you discussed with your interviewer."
Even if you don't receive that lusted-after job opportunity, Salemi says a follow-up thank-you is must... regardless of the outcome. "Maintaining a relationship with your interviewer may lead to future employment opportunities, so never respond angrily or rudely even if the results weren't what you wanted."
Even in our digital age, it's just as important to maintain a sense of humanized professionalism throughout the job search. Take the time to thoughtfully thank job recruiters with a personalized email, LinkedIn messages, or a handwritten note. Now more than ever, the power of effective communication will help you land opportunities no matter what route you choose to take.