If you’ve ever read blog articles or taken any classes regarding interviewing etiquette, you know the necessity and importance of following up with the interviewer. It would seem most people would understand how and why following up is so important, but unfortunately a majority of job seekers still don’t seem to grasp the concept. According to Synergis Technical Recruiter Chad Embry, “A good portion of job seekers nowadays don’t follow up in a timely manner, and some surprisingly don’t follow up with me at all.” With the job market being as competitive as it currently is, anything you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition can be the difference in getting hired and getting passed over.
Follow-up advice and opinions on best practices may vary among sources, but there are always 4 rules you should abide by when following up after an interview.
Rule #1-Begin before it ends
The first step in the follow-up process begins before you even leave the interview. You should always ask the hiring manager what the next step in the process will be. This displays to the interviewer that you are proactive, and also gives you a timeline of what to expect, and when the next interview may be if you are fortunate enough to continue the process.
You should also always obtain business cards from every person you interview with. This once again shows your proactive nature, but also allows for you to ensure correct names, spelling, and e-mail addresses for each interviewer. Misspelling the company or interviewer’s name is a surefire way to weed yourself out of the candidate pool.
Rule #2-Remember your manners! Say thank you.
This may be the most important rule of all. According to a 2011 survey by CareerBuilder, 22% of hiring managers said that they would dismiss any applicant that didn’t send them some sort of post-interview thank-you note. This statistic alone is enough to warrant taking a few minutes to draft a quick thank you to send to your interviewer.
Do your best to follow up as soon as possible-ideally within 24-48 hours of the interview. Hiring managers may be interviewing multiple candidates each day, and staying top of mind should be your number one priority. In the digital age of today, a simple e-mail thanking your interviewer will usually suffice, but sending a hand written note may be just another way for you to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. Also, connecting with the manager or company on LinkedIn or following them on twitter may be another good way to show your interest and dedication to the position (assuming that your profiles are updated and professional).
When writing your note, do your best to personalize as much as possible. If you and the hiring manager had a discussion involving certain trends or recent events within the industry, try to attach an article you read that focuses on those exact points. Being able to recall and mention certain items that were discussed in the interview allows the hiring manager to quickly recall your specific interview, and keeps you fresh in their memory.
Rule #3-Be politely persistent
Assuming you asked the correct questions (see rule #1), you should know when it is appropriate to contact the interviewer regarding the status of the position. This part of the follow-up may be the most misunderstood among job applicants. Often times applicants may feel like they are annoying or bothering the interviewer, when in actuality sometimes organizations wait a week or more after the interview to see who follows up and use that as part of the decision making process. Whether you decide to follow up by e-mail or phone, always make sure you are enthusiastic-but not desperate about the job. Be sure to convey your continued interest in the position but also respect that the hiring process can be lengthy at times.
Rule #4-Always be gracious
Sometimes other people may be more qualified for the position than you are. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to get the job, always be sure to express to the interviewer how much you appreciate the time and consideration. You may not be a perfect fit for the current position, but there is always a chance that they may consider you for a future position. It’s never a good business practice to burn bridges, and the same can be said for interviewing practices as well.
The interviewing process can be long, tedious and stressful. If you’re putting all of the time and effort into getting hired for a certain position, making sure you follow up correctly can help you stand out against your competition and give you a better chance at getting the job.