Four key follow up steps to the interview

Okay, you have had your interview (and give yourself a high-five just for that in this economy). The interview seemed to go positively and you leave feeling hopeful. Now comes what is the single most agonizing part of the job hunt for most everyone: waiting for the hiring manager to call. Relax a bit; you do still have some control over the process from here. Try the following steps to maximize your chances for success.

* Send thank-you notes
Don’t stress too much over whether they’re emailed or handwritten. The most important thing is to send them. Even if you think the job is in the bag, there are some people who expect this important letter.

Your thank-you letter should contain three parts. Thank the interviewer, and then explain why you’re a good fit. Close by saying you’re looking forward to the next step.

* Breaking through the silence
The interviewer said she’d let you know by Tuesday if you made it to the next round of interviews. It’s now Friday, and you haven’t heard anything. It’s possible you didn’t make the cut. However, it’s also very possible that the interviewer just got busy.

What should you do next? Call or email. If you don’t get a reply in a few days, try again. Yes, you might occasionally annoy a frazzled hiring manager. But as long as your messages are polite and brief, most interviewers are more likely to be impressed by your perseverance, communication skills, and interest in the job.

You should be most concerned about making people see how you can contribute to the organization. The key is to keep your messages positive – don’t sound accusatory or indignant, just remind the interviewer of your conversation, say you enjoyed it, and ask for an update on the process. It may help you to prepare a script ahead of time.

* Correcting a bad first impression
Perhaps you feel that you didn’t make the best impression in the interview. The follow-up is your chance to recover. Tell the interviewer you would like to provide them with some additional resources. If you can send documentation of your abilities–or even get references to send notes on your behalf–consider doing so.

If your reason for thinking you blew the interview is something minor (perhaps spilling your coffee) ignore it. Drawing attention to your embarrassment about little things might lead the person to think you’re too insecure.

* Dealing with rejection
When you hear from an interviewer but the news is bad, what should you do?

First, thank the person for letting you know. Then ask if the interviewer would be willing to give you any feedback that you could use for future interviews. The answer will likely be no, but it demonstrates you are interested in improving.

Then keep networking with the interviewer, perhaps an occasional, well-chosen article related to your industry, for example, or by joining a group on LinkedIn. You never know when the position or a similar one might open.

Before your interview, make sure you prepare, prepare some more and follow these follow up options and your chances of receiving an offer will dramatically improve.

Best wishes!
David Lammert

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