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Job Interview Follow-Up Do's and Don'ts
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Job-seekers must remember that your work is not done once you finish the job interview. If you want the job, you can't just sit back and wait for the job offer, so consider these key rules, guidelines, and strategies for following-up your job interviews.
- Do ask at the end of the interview when the employer expects to make the hiring decision.
- Do be proactive and consider follow-up a strategic part of your job search process. Follow-up can give you just the edge you need to get the job offer over others who interviewed for the position.
- Do use these follow-up techniques to continue to show your enthusiasm and desire for the position, but don't make it seem as though you are desperate.
- Do obtain the correct titles and names of all the people who interviewed you. (Ideally, do get each person's business card.)
- Do write individual thank you notes or letters to each person who interviewed you -- within two business days. Each letter can be essentially the same, but try to vary each a bit in case recipients compare notes. Don't ever fail to send a thank you -- even if you are sure the job is not for you. And do write thank you notes after every interview.
- Don't worry so much about hand-written versus typed thank you letters, but don't make a mistake by sending it through the wrong medium; make sure you know the best method of reaching the employer, whether by postal mail, email, or fax.
- In your thank you letter, do show appreciation for the employer's interest in you and do remind the employer about why you are the perfect person for the position. See some sample interview thank you letters.
- Don't ever have any errors (misspellings or typos) in your thank you letters.
- Do alert your references -- if you have not done so already -- that they may be getting a phone call from the employer.
- Don't stop job-hunting, even if you feel confident that you will get a job offer. Do continue to interview and attempt to find other opportunities.
- Do follow-up with a telephone call to the employer within a week to ten days (or sooner, if the employer had a shorter timetable) to ask about the position. And do continue to build rapport and sell your strengths during the phone call.
- Do be patient. The hiring process often takes longer than the employer expects.
- Do continue following-up, especially if the employer asks you to. Remember the adage about the squeaky wheel getting the oil. Just don't go overboard and annoy or bother the employer.
- Don't place too much importance on one job or one interview; there will be other opportunities for you.
- Do use other job offers as leverage in your follow-up -- to get the offer you really want.
- Don't burn any bridges if you do not get a job offer. And do try and turn the situation into a positive by bringing the interviewer(s) into your network, possibly even asking them for referrals to other contacts. Read more about the art of networking.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com.
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