Job Search Tip of the Week #45 (2017)


How to Seal the Deal: Proper Post-Interview Etiquette

Seal the Deal, Get the Job!

You’ve undoubtedly heard countless times before, “The interview starts the moment you walk in the door.” However, did you know that it lasts long after you walk out? Your post-interview behavior may affect a hiring manager’s decision to extend you a job offer.

So what’s your exit strategy to continue making a positive impression and land your dream job? For proper post-interview etiquette, think “AT CTC”:

A is for Ask

Ask direct questions that’ll help manage the process and your expectations, such as “When should I follow up with you?” or “What should I expect after today?” This shows you’re still interested in the opportunity and considerate of your interviewer’s timeline. Avoid leading statements like “It was great meeting you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon,” which may elicit more of a reflective response (“Likewise. I’ll be in touch.”) than an informative one (“After we finish all of our first-round interviews, we’ll decide who to bring back and give you a call in a week either way.”).

T is for Thank

Thank anyone who took the time to speak with you! Some guidelines:

  • While you’re still in the office, make eye contact and use the interviewer’s name as you give him or her a firm handshake. Reiterate your interest in the position and briefly summarize why you believe you’re a strong candidate and a good fit for the job. If possible, thank the individual who greeted you at the door when you first came in. Keep a smile on your face and your cell phone turned off as long as you are in the building.
  • If someone in your network referred you to the company, keep him or her updated on your interview process. If you do so in a timely fashion, your referrer may be able to put in another good word for you before the hiring manager makes a decision. You’ll also be showing your appreciation for the referral, and he or she will keep you in mind for future job opportunities.
  • The moment you walk out of the interview, the countdown starts. Post-interview thank-you notes should be sent within the next 24 hours (ideally, the same day as your interview). Although most etiquette authorities recommend that you send a handwritten note, the technology industry considers an emailed message the norm. Whether you decide to send a snail-mail or email, follow this basic format:

    Dear Mr. / Ms. [Interviewer’s Name],

    I appreciate the time you took earlier today to acquaint me with [Company Name] and to discuss the [Position You Hope to Attain] position. After meeting with you, I am further convinced that my experience as a [Currently Held Position] specializing in [2 Descriptors Maximum. Web? Software? C#? .NET? Java? Ruby on Rails?] development using [Key Technologies] will coincide with your business requirements.

    Thank you again for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding next steps.

    Your Signature
    Your Name
    Your Phone Number
    Your Email
    Your Address

    Note: The above example is acceptable, but not memorable. To increase your chances of being hired or invited back for another interview, insert a few lines after the first sentence that refer to the conversation you had. You want to remind your interviewer of the great rapport you shared! For example, “I enjoyed our conversation about software development methodologies and technology industry trends. I hope an opportunity arises soon where we can continue our discussion on the implications of outsourcing on company morale.”

    Need some more ideas on how to craft the perfect thank-you note? Check out these 10 thank-you note templates!

C is for Connect

Continue to connect. Following the company via social media is a great way to indicate your interest in joining the organization. Also, if your interviewer said to contact them should you have any questions, take advantage of that opportunity by asking questions to learn more about the position and expanding on anything mentioned during the interview. Perhaps send some tech industry news from a site like Wall Street Journal or TechCrunch that you think your interviewer would be interested in with the accompanying message, “Hi, [Interviewer’s Name]. During my interview for the [Position You Hope to Attain] position at [Company Name], you mentioned that you’d just read an interesting article about [Topic You Discussed]. I came across this and thought of our conversation. I hope you enjoy the read!”

Make sure you’re contacting your interviewer for a legitimate reason. For example, you don’t want to ask your interviewer anything that’s already been addressed or can be answered with a quick online search, let alone any of these seven questions. The key is to remind your interviewer of your existence, not to annoy them with spam!

T is for Time

Then wait. Don’t attempt to follow up about your status or next steps before the date given to you by your interviewer. If you neglected to obtain when the hiring manager expected to come to a decision, the standard is to wait a minimum of three days and no more than five after the initial interview before reaching out. However, if an outside or third-party agency arranged your interview, it’s best for your questions regarding feedback and timetables to go to this recruiter and not your prospective employer.

C is for Contact

Contact the interviewer if you haven’t heard back after the follow-up date and/or acceptable waiting period. It’s important that you:

  • Avoid sounding pushy and accusing your interviewer of missing the deadline. Try: “Hi, [Interviewer’s Name]. You mentioned that you would be coming to a decision regarding the [Position You Hope to Attain] sometime earlier this week. I was wondering if you had an update for me, or if I could provide additional information to assist you in the process. Thanks!”
  • Pace yourself, both in quantity of calls and talking speed. Again, the standard is three days, so reach out only once every three days. When leaving a voicemail, state your name and phone number at the beginning and at the end of your message. Tip: Write each digit of your phone number in the air with your finger as you say it. If you can’t write it as fast as you say it, the recipient of your message can’t either!
  • Make yourself available. Being easy to reach and coordinate with post-interview conveys your interest in the position!

Blogging Forward,

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Photo Credit: Justin Henry / Flickr