By the Ignite Career Center of JCS
Congratulations! You spent weeks preparing for this moment. First you prepared your resume, searched for open positions, wrote cover letters, and waited to hear back about scheduling interviews. Then, after much preparation, including mock interviews, you finally made it to the big day — interview day.
Now you’ve completed a successful interview! You can breathe a sigh of relief, right?
Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than you might think. In today’s saturated job market, it is a step in the right direction to secure an interview (especially if you’ve made it past the initial screening to the first-round interviews). But you must also ensure that you make a lasting impression.
The good news is that you can take steps to stand out from the competition! Here are the top five things to do when following up after your interview.
Send A Thank You Note
About a third of job seekers fail to send a thank you note to their interviewers. Yet, 94% of hiring managers expect a thank you email. That means you improve your chances of moving on the next round of interviews or receiving a job offer if you do the following.
- Timing: We are living in the digital age! To show your sincere interest in a position, send a thank you email within 24-48 hours of your interview. While it is acceptable to take up to a week to send your note, the sooner you express your appreciation, the more eager you will appear.
- Customization: While you can set up a template to use for thank you notes, be sure you tweak each letter you send. First, make sure you address your notes to each of your interviewers in separate emails. Within each letter, express something specific from your interaction with the individual. For example, if you had two interviewers, you might write to one thanking them for expounding on the responsibility of the role and to another thanking them for clarifying a question you had about the company. Doing so will show that you are an observant and effective communicator who cares about building meaningful relationships.
- Responsibility: Perhaps you’ve had a great interview, but the hiring manager has asked you to send samples of your work or contact information for references. Be sure to provide these items as quickly as possible to demonstrate that you can follow up on tasks in a timely manner, which is an important skill on the job. If you are providing references, it may also be a good time to alert them that they might be hearing from a prospective employer.
- Effort: If you really want to wow your hiring manager, send a hand-written thank you note. You could ask the hiring manager or HR contact who helped you schedule the interview for an appropriate address via email. Taking this extra step could show just how excited you are about your dream role.
Reflect on Your Answers
Be honest with yourself. Assess how well you answered questions during your interview. Did you speak with fluency or did you say “um” a bit too much? Were you flustered by some of the questions?
- Keep practicing: Every interview is a chance to practice. Whether or not you get the job, use the opportunity to learn more about what hiring managers want to know. Take note of the questions you could have responded to more clearly and ask a friend, family member, or your career coach to organize mock interviews so that you can improve each time.
- Prepare for the 2nd round interview: These days, it’s likely that you’ll have to pass a second or even third interview to land the job. Think ahead to what other questions the hiring managers or employee panelists might have for you. Be sure you practice using the STAR method to illustrate how you are the best fit for the position.
Hone Skills They Said They Value
A great question to ask your interviewer is “What qualifications does your ideal candidate have?” If the hiring manager mentions they’d like someone with specific training or certification that you don’t yet have, it’s a great opportunity to take a course and learn that skill, since there are more free or affordable resources than ever.
Enrolling in a course after the interview could also give you a chance to follow up with the employer and mention that you are working to obtain the qualification, since it’s so valuable to them. This action could show them how serious your interest in the role is and convince them that you are a real go-getter.
Connect on Social Media
Hopefully you’ve already conducted preliminary research on LinkedIn and other social media about the company you’re interviewing with, as well as on your hiring manager. Now that they know who you are, it’s time to engage. Make sure to like, comment, and repost their content to highlight your investment in their company’s success. Seeing your name in their notifications periodically may influence them to choose you over another less active candidate.
Follow Up Within Two Weeks (What to Say After the Thank You Note)
Hiring managers need time to interview candidates and make decisions. It is important to be respectful of their time, but it is appropriate to maintain communication with your interviewer.
- Creative Touchpoint: About a week after your interview, you can stay fresh in your hiring manager’s mind and show you’re still interested in the position by sending them a valuable resource. You can share a thought-provoking article or video and explain why you thought they might enjoy it. Or you can mention that you followed them online and noticed their progress on an important project. In either case, you should express that you hope to join their team and have more opportunities to discuss relevant news or work on projects with them soon.
- Status Update: If you have not heard back from a hiring manager two weeks after an interview, you can email about the status of your application and ask if they require any additional information to assist them in making a decision. Usually, they will let you know how much longer they anticipate the process will take. You can repeat this step every two weeks, as necessary, if they fall behind on their timeline.
Every step of the job acquisition process is important. Be sure to follow these 5 steps to land your dream job. If you need assistance with any part of your career journey, contact an Ignite Career Center Coach.
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.