How to clinch the job, post interview

You’ve just finished your job interview. And now you feel like you can breathe a sigh of relief. But, then you realize a big part of the process is the job interview follow-up.

How you follow up post job interview can make or break your chances of landing the job. Anything you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition can be the difference between getting hired and getting passed over.

Here are the 4 key rules you should abide by when following up after an interview.

Rule #1: Begin before it ends

The first step begins before you even leave the interview. You should always ask the hiring manager what the next step in the recruitment process will be. This shows the interviewer that you are proactive and gives you a timeline of what to expect and when. And if you’ve made it to the next step, you will find out when the next interview may be.

You should also always ask each interviewer for their business card. This, once again, shows your proactive nature, but also means you have the correct name, spelling and email address for each person. Misspelling the company or interviewer’s name is a surefire way to knock yourself out of the candidate pool.

Rule #2: Remember your manners!

Saying thank you may be the most important rule of all. Unfortunately, three out of four job seekers don’t even bother sending a thank-you note after an interview, according to a recent Accountemps survey of HR managers. The survey found that only 24% of HR managers receive thank-you notes from applicants. But, 80% of HR managers say they are helpful when reviewing candidates. These statistics alone should be enough to warrant taking a few minutes to draft a quick note 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 so staying top-of-mind should be your number one priority. In today’s digital age, a simple email thanking your interviewer will usually suffice. But sending a hand-written note may be just another way to stand out from the other candidates.

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 enables the hiring manager to quickly recall your specific interview and keeps you fresh in their memory.

In addition, connecting with the manager or company on LinkedIn may be another good way to show your interest and dedication to the position (assuming your profile is updated and professional).

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.

Oftentimes, applicants may feel like they are annoying or bothering the interviewer. In actuality, companies can 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 email or phone, always make sure you are enthusiastic, but not desperate sounding, about the job. Be sure to convey your continued interest in the position but also respect that the hiring process can be lengthy.

Rule #4: Always be gracious

Sometimes, other candidates are more qualified for the position than you are. Even if you don’t 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 smart to burn bridges in business, and this applies to interviewing as well.

The interviewing process can be long, tedious and stressful. If you’re putting all your time and effort into getting hired for a certain position, making sure you follow up correctly can give you a leg up on the competition and secure the job.

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