Now that the interview is behind you, what comes next? And, in what period of time? And, why? Let’s discuss those very questions, right now …
After the Interview
The Type of Interview Dictates Your Actions
What you choose to do after an interview is wholly dependent upon the type of interview you just experienced. It was either formal, quasi-formal, or casual. Let’s look at each:
Your interview was formal if it looked something like this: You went to someone’s office, dressed in your best business attire, carried a portfolio, and sat across a desk from someone who was rather intimidating. Your interviewer knew what s/he was doing, and regardless of whether s/he appeared to care — you knew that you were only one in a long line of interviewees.
For the post-formal, corporate level interview, you will continue to make sure all those t’s and i’s are properly crossed and dotted. Timing is everything, as is your level of persistence.
Here is your Action List to follow after the formal interview:
- Write a formal “Thank You” note to each person who interviewed you. If you do have more than one person to thank, make sure to personalize each letter. They should not be carbon copies of each other.
- Send your letter by snail mail in most instances. The exception is in those situations where the majority of your pre-interview correspondence was via email. In that case, send your note by email.
- Your letter should go out within 48 hours after the interview. In my opinion — being one who is on the receiving end of those letters — it’s best to wait until the 2nd day after the interview. Why? Because the day of and the day after, you should still be fresh in the mind of your interviewers (if you did a good job!) By the end of the 48 hour time frame, you may be starting to fade. That’s the perfect time to re-activate their interest in you.
Here is a sample letter for your convenience (but, keep in mind that I have a following of hiring authorities. You have my permission to copy this letter verbatim, but I recommend that you don’t):
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for the time you allowed on Monday for our interview. It was such a pleasure to meet you, and I am thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and atmosphere of the Name of Company, Inc.
It would be an honor to join the team as NOC, Inc’s new Director of Position. Though it is no doubt premature to do so, I have already started to consider the strategic options for increasing revenues in the Name of Department, which I understand to be NOC’s immediate objective.
For your convenience, I will check back with you at the end of next week. If you have any questions in the interim, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Again, thank you for your consideration. I look forward to a continued dialogue.
Then, by all means, follow-up at the end of the following week — or at whatever time your or your interviewer indicated.
A follow-up to the follow-up thank you note might look like this:
Per my correspondence to you on [date], I promised to follow-up today.
I do hope that you are still considering your options for filling the vacancy, and that I remain one of your top candidates. I have some innovative ideas for the Name of Division that I’m eager to share.
May we schedule a time for a brief phone conference, at your convenience?
Thereafter, if you’ve not heard back within a business week, make a phone call. “Just checking on the status of the Name of Position.” Casual, but professional.
The quasi-formal interview is often a phone interview. It sounds much like the formal office interview, but is conducted by phone. These are more common today due to an employee’s ability to telecommute. Even major corporations are hiring this way.
The quasi-formal interview may also be an in-person affair, but one in which your environment was more casual. Perhaps you met your interviewer for coffee, for example. Sometimes, too, the interview is impromptu. You meet someone and, in the midst of conversing, you realize he is hiring and he realizes you are seeking a job. He does an on-the-spot interview, albeit with pointed questions, etc.
Sending an email after a quasi-formal interview is acceptable. The tone of your language needs to match the tone of the interview. If your interviewer introduced himself by first name, for example, the salutation of your note should be to “Bill” or “Sally,” not “Mr. Smith” or “Ms. Johnson.”
As with the formal interview, you want to send that note within 48 hours. Then, follow-up at the time indicated for a follow-up.
Here is a sample letter, a real-life example I received from someone recently (although I’ve edited it slightly to correct an error the author made):
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to discuss the executive assistant position with me. The launching of a company sounds exciting and I hope I can contribute to your future success. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me to discuss them.
I look forward to hearing from you concerning your decision. I appreciate your consideration.
It’s not perfect, but it fits the style of the phone interview that preceded it. The author thanks her interviewer, she makes a comment that is specific to the position, she includes a remark about her enthusiasm for the opportunity, and she invites a continued dialogue. The only thing missing is a specific date for follow-up.
The informal interview may take place at a bowling alley. You and the boys have your standing Friday night routine, only last Friday, one of your buddies mentioned to you that he needed to fill a vacancy. You and he casually chat about your interest in the job.
The informal interview is often the best interview. Because all of the pressure is off, and because the informal interview is often impromptu, you don’t have time to get worried. You are yourself. And so is your interviewer. But this doesn’t mean that you can drop the ball after the interview.
A day or two after discussing the position, pick up the phone. Say, “Hey, Bill, I just wanted to touch base with you about that job. It’s exactly what I’m looking for, and you know I’ll do a great job for you.”
When he says, “Glad you called. We’ve got some interviews set up this week, and I have to go through that process,” you close with, “Okay. I’ll get back to you on Friday.”
When Friday arrives, send a short email.
When you Get a Job Offer
It’s important for me to note what to do immediately upon receipt of a job offer.
You’ll likely receive an email that starts with, “Congratulations…” or “I’m happy to …” If you DO get that celebratory note in your inbox, DO NOT DELAY in sending a reply. Even if it is on the weekend, you want to quickly and immediately send a response.
When a hiring authority makes his / her decision, that person is sincerely excited to let you know you got the job. Neglecting to send an immediate reply will cause him / her to believe that you are less than enthused about the opportunity. It leaves the impression that you were desperately interviewing for any position you could get, and now that you’ve gotten an offer, you’re not so sure if you want it. That, in turn, leaves the impression that you wasted his/ her time. Even if it’s a false impression, it is the likely result of a failure to reply immediately.
Thus, if you are going to be out-of-town or otherwise have limited access to a computer during that period of time in which you expect notification from your interviewer, SAY SO. Let the person know that you will be unavailable, so that if she does send the happy letter, she understands your lack of an immediate response.
~ Lynda C. Watts
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