Well-done, eager candidate!
The interview went swimmingly. You were attentive, engaged, and asked the right questions. You hit all your talking points in a natural fashion, got off a one-liner that killed, and felt genuine warmth in the manager’s goodbye handshake.
But don’t celebrate yet; the work’s not done!
Before gathering your gear to walk out the door, make sure you’re leaving with everything you need to gracefully remain in touch with this prospective employer.
Here are four guidelines to make sure you perfect your post-interview follow-up.
“What happens now?”
There’s nothing wrong with the direct approach. As the interview winds down, ask the manager about the next step in the process. When can you expect to hear from them? A few days? Next week? It’s imperative to get something nailed down that serves as a basis for checking in.
Don’t be shy, but don’t be make a nuisance of yourself either. If the interviewer says they’ll be in touch within 7-10 days, and it’s now Day 12, you should be on the phone or firing up the laptop.
Hit the right note
A respectful thank-you note should be a standard component of your interview follow up. Ideally it should be in the manager’s email inbox within an hour of your exit.
Be sure to include a reference from the meeting itself, such as, “I will definitely read the book you mentioned,” or “That website looks interesting.” A personal touch makes the note seem genuine and less contrived, and also creates another plausible reason for periodically reaching out.
You should also send a paper note, by mail, within a day after the interview. For many employers, this is a key indicator of a candidate’s interest in the position.
Keep it professional
An excellent way to remain in contact is through the LinkedIn, a move that also indicates you’re up to speed on how people in your industry keep track of each other, as well any recent developments in the field. In this way, you maintain professional contact with someone who could prove to be a resource.
Social media can be a valuable asset, but don’t extend your reach to Facebook invitations. Naturally, you want to convey to the world that you’re a well-rounded person with lots of attractive friends, but the truth is you can’t control all the variables in Facebook. A potential employer could soon be reading about your beer-fueled exploits at college, or some friend of a friend’s unpopular political views.
Drop the anchor point
As mentioned earlier, creating a plausible reason to keep in touch is a good idea if it’s done gracefully. A book, a website, a mutual friend, or whatever else that established a temporary bond between you should be nurtured carefully but used parsimoniously.
A follow-up email, citing that anchor point, can be used to indicate continued interest in a position even if you weren’t chosen. It also gives the employer another chance to stack you up against the person they hired. New workers don’t always work out, and sometimes the runner-up can end up with the crown.