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Following Up After the Interview

The interview has ended, you made it home, and now it's all over, right? Wrong. Effective follow-up actions can make a big difference in getting a job offer over more qualified applicants.

What to Do as Soon as You Get Home

Following up can make the difference between being unemployed or underemployed and getting the job you want fast. When you get home from the interview, do the following:

Make notes on the interview. While it is fresh in your mind, jot down key points. A week later, you may not remember something essential.

Schedule your follow-up. If you agreed to call back next Monday between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., you are likely to forget unless you put it on your schedule.

Send your thank-you note. Send the note the very same day if possible. Send an e-mail thank-you that day, and follow this with a thank-you note through regular mail.

Call when you said you would! When you call when you said you would, you create the impression of being organized and wanting the job. If you do have a specific question, ask it at this time. If a job opening exists and you do want it, say that you want it and explain why. If no job opening exists, say you enjoyed the visit and would like to stay in touch during your job search. If interviewers referred you to others, let them know how these contacts went. Ask them what they suggest your next step should be. This would also be a good time to ask, if you have not done so before, for the names of anyone else with whom you might speak about a position for a person with your skills and experience. Then, of course, follow up with any new referrals.

Schedule more follow-up. Set a time to talk with this person again. And, of course, send the interviewer another thank-you note or e-mail.

The rest of this chapter details several ways to follow up with employers after the interview.

The Importance of Thank-You Notes

Resumes and cover letters get the attention, but thank-you notes often get results. Sending thank-you notes makes both good manners and good job search sense. When used properly, thank-you notes can help you create a positive impression with employers that more formal correspondence often can't.

Three Times When You Should Definitely Send Thank-You Notesand Why

Thank-you notes have a more intimate and friendly social tradition than formal and manipulative business correspondence. I think that is one reason they work so wellpeople respond to those who show good manners and say thank you. Here are some situations when you should use them, along with some sample notes.

1. Before an Interview

In some situations, you can send a less formal note before an interview, usually by e-mail, unless the interview is scheduled for a fairly distant future date. For example, you can simply thank someone for being willing to see you. Depending on the situation, enclosing a resume could be inappropriate. Remember, this note is supposed to be a sincere thanks for help and not an assertive business situation. You could, however, enclose a JIST Card (see chapter 6). This note also serves as a way to confirm the date and time of the scheduled interview and as a gentle reminder to the recipient that you will be showing up at that time.

2. After an Interview

One of the best times to send a thank-you note is right after an interview. Here are several reasons why:

Doing so creates a positive impression. The employer will assume you have good follow-up skills as well as good manners.

It creates yet another opportunity for you to remain in the employer's consciousness at an important time.

It gives you a chance to get in the last word. You get to include a subtle reminder of why you're the best candidate for the job and can address any concerns that might have come up during the interview.

If the employer has buried, passed along, or otherwise lost your resume and previous correspondence, a thank-you note and enclosed JIST Card provide one more chance for that person to find your number and call you.

For these reasons, I suggest you send a thank-you note right after the interview and certainly within 24 hours. The following is an example of such a note.

Tip: Send a thank-you note by e-mail or regular mail as soon as possible after an interview or meeting. This time is when you are freshest in the mind of the person who receives it and are most likely to make a good impression.

August 11, 20XX Dear Mr. O'Beel,

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position available in your production department. I want you to know that this is the sort of job I have been looking for, and I am enthusiastic about the possibility of working for you.

Now that we have spoken, I know that I have both the experience and skills to fit nicely into your organization and to be productive quickly. The process improvements I implemented at Logistics, Inc., increased their productivity 34%, and I'm confident that I could do the same for you.

Thanks again for the interview; I enjoyed the visit.

Sara Smith

(505) 665-0090

3. Whenever Anyone Helps You in Your Job Search

Send a thank-you note to anyone who helps you during your job search. This group of people includes those who give you referrals, people who provide advice, or those who are supportive during your search. The following figure shows an example of this type of note.

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