In an era where e-mail, text messaging, and social networking have encouraged quick hits and casual correspondence even among professional colleagues, it’s not difficult to understand why post interview etiquette is commonly overlooked. But at a time when competition for almost every job is stiff, simple gestures to follow up with the person who has the power to hire you, can’t be overlooked.
Here are several suggestions for putting the finishing touches on a great interview:
Collect contact information from hiring managers. Before completing an interview, always ask about the next steps for the hiring process and then exchange business cards. (It’s important to have a set of personal business cards that provide a professional profile.) If the interviewer for some reason does not have a card handy, suggest following up with his or her assistant to get the proper contact information including the correct spelling of his name and title.
Follow up with a thank you letter. A note of thanks is a gracious gesture and communicates to a hiring manager that you are very much interested in the position, says Lisa Dubose, human resources director for a Detroit-based government organization.
“I would never reject a candidate for not sending a thank you note. Selections should be solely based on bonafide occupational qualifications,” Dubose says. “If a candidate chose to submit one, it only lends itself to leaving a good impression, representing their writing skills and ability to follow up on matters of importance.”
Writing a winning thank you letter requires attention to detail. The very first detail you want to be sure is correct is a hiring manager’s name. Remember those business cards?
Also take this time to reiterate your expertise and highlight your core professional competencies and successes. A hand-written note is preferable, but even if you decide to email, professionalism is key. “Thank you letters should be brief, yet succinct, professional in appearance, and express appreciation for the interview and interest in consideration for hire,” says Dubose.
It’s advice Adrienna Smith, a pharmacy technician and recent college graduate, wished she had when she was seeking to transition into a marketing position.
“I highlighted universal aspects of being a good employee, since I was applying for an entry-level position, instead of just focusing on getting the job, and how I could benefit the company as whole,” Smith says.
What should you do if you don’t get a response? Be persistent, not aggressive, in demonstrating your continued interest. Dubose recommends: “A simple phone call to follow up on the status of position is acceptable.”
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