Some people believe the interview is over once they've shaken hands with the interviewers and left the room. That went well, they think. Now it's time to wait for the decision.
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And perhaps it did go well – but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews and followed up on their interviews with thank-you notes.
So here's the question: When is the interview really over?
The answer: not until you've sent a follow-up note!
- 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire them;
- 86 percent of employers say it shows a lack of follow-through;
- and 56 percent of employers say the candidate isn't really serious about the job.
If these figures aren't enough to convince you to follow up after an interview, then you shouldn't hold out much hope of getting a job – especially when smart job seekers around you are sending notes. I hope this gets your attention!
If you're wondering how to go about sending a follow-up note, start by considering to whom you will send it and how you will send it.
To Whom Do You Send a Follow-Up?
If you're interviewed by five people, how many unique follow-up notes should you send? The correct answer is "five." Take the time to write a unique follow-up to everyone who interviewed you.
(These notes really matter. Read my post on a thank you note that was sent to my daughter after a college visit.)
How Do You Send Your Note?
You can send your follow-up note via email or you can send a hard copy. This depends on your preference and/or the industry. For example, someone in the humanities might prefer a thank-you card, whereas someone in the tech sector might appreciate an email.
Here's an idea: Send both an email immediately after the interview and a professional card a week later.
What Do You Say in Your Follow-Up Note?
1. Show Your Gratitude
Obviously you're going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you. After all, they're busy folks and probably don't enjoy interviewing people.
2. Reiterate Why You're the Right Person for the Job
This is the second most obvious statement you'll make in your follow-up notes. Mention that you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, remind them of your relevant accomplishments.
3. Reference Interesting Points Made During the Interview
This shows you were paying attention. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest or asked a pertinent question. Impress the interviewers with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.
4. Do Some Damage Control
How many candidates wish they could go back and elaborate on a question or fix a really weak answer? Now's your chance! This may be of little consequence, but what do you have to lose? Besides, interviewers know you were under a great deal of pressure. It's hard to think of everything on the spot.
5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
During the interview, you should have found out about problems the company is facing. If you have a solution to any of these problems, mention it in your follow-up note.
6. Express Your Desire for the Job
You told the interview committee at the end of the interview that you want the job. Reiterate this sentiment by stating it in your follow-up note. This reiteration can be as simple as asking what the next steps will entail. This shows your enthusiasm and sincere interest in the position.
Once you've made it this far in the process, it would be a shame to blow it by not sending a follow-up note. Take the time to send a unique note (within 24-48 hours) to each interviewer. When you get the job offer, you'll be happy you did.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.