From a veteran hiring manager’s perspective, I’ve found that the weakest part of most job search processes is the deplorable state of follow-up. You can go from the perfect candidate to the bottom of the list before you even know it!
It’s so much more than thank you notes! (By the way, why aren’t you sending yours?) Thank you notes and follow-up communications are NOT optional; they are required.
In Part 1, I showed how great follow-up can put you ahead of other candidates, defined what world-class follow-up looks like and provided sample outlines for thank you notes and a second follow-up note.
In this segment, I’ll give you some more tricks to improve your post-job interview follow-up and ways to avoid common mistakes and excuses.
1. Always appear gracious, positive, patient, and interested. Speak in a very respectful manner if you’re leaving a voicemail message, acknowledging that “I know you are very busy, but I wanted to follow up on the email I sent you and that I’m still very interested in the position.”
2. When following up with an email, always attach the prior email you are referring to, keeping the context of the communication. If there was an attachment to the prior email, reattach it, as appropriate. Reattach your original application or cover letter and resume, if appropriate.
3. Match the communication medium the interviewer has been using, i.e. returning emails with emails, phone calls with phone calls.
Job-Killer Mistakes: (Trust me, I’ve seen them all!)
Mistake #1: Scathing follow-up emails from job seekers who think they are out of the running.
Mistake #2: Rudeness or impatience. If the hiring manager gave you a specific date or timeframe, give them some room. Hiring processes take time and you don’t want to seem overly anxious.
Mistake #3: One-line emails: “Can you call me back?”
Mistake #4: Group thank you notes (one e-mail to two or more people) imply you are lazy. Group notes are not – by their very nature – personal!
Mistake #5: Careless copy and paste. Sending a personal thank you note addressed “Dear Sally” and with a closure that says, “Thank you, again, Bob.”
Mistake #6: Misspellings, grammar, punctuation errors. This is another writing sample for the employer!
Mistake #7: Gimmicks. Do not send flowers, a gift, nothing, nada.
Mistake #8: Do NOT have a friend “swing by” the hiring manager’s office and ask, “How is Bob doing for your position hiring. Isn’t he great?”
(If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another. ~Yiddish Proverb)
Excuse #1: “I knocked the interview out of the park, so no need to send anything since I’ll get the job.” Well, aside from being too cocky, which could have hurt you during the interview, there is no excuse for not being polite. And what if you were good in the interview, but not great, and the next candidate did send a compelling note?
Excuse #2: “I don’t have their email address.” Lesson learned. Ask for all email addresses while you are interviewing. However, if you forgot, contact the recruiter, HR manager, or anybody who might be able to give it to you. Simply say, “I would like to send them a thank you note,” so your intention is clear.
Excuse #3: “Thank you notes seem so phony. I’m not the thank you note type.” First, they should be sincere. Sheer appreciation for their time and for considering you as a candidate should be reason enough to take 5 minutes to review your notes from that meeting and craft a thank you note. Second, if you are not the “thank you note type,” then learn to be one now!
Excuse #4: “They told me I will not be the final choice for the position, so no need to thank them.” Wrong. You want to add your interviewers to your network and you may want to contact them again. In addition, what if that company has another position that opens up? Take the high road and always, always send a thank you note and stay in touch after that. In your thank you note, you may say, “If another position opens up within your organization, I am interested in being considered.”
I want to help you stand out and win that job! Feel free to comment below with any additional challenges you face!
Let me give you a hand; I’m ready to help!