Interview Follow-Up Wins Entry-Level Job Offers

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services

For most people job interviews are like dentist appointments: you agonize about it beforehand, suffer through it as best you can, and try not to whine about it afterwards. But the truth is that interviews don’t have to be torture and they don’t end when you walk out the door. A successful candidacy requires putting yourself out there in a professional way and keeping yourself in the forefront of the employer’s mind.


Don’t Be The Forgotten Candidate
The fact is, interviewers are not information-storage machines. You may actually blow them away at the job interview, but six candidates later your face can become a blur and your resume a distant memory. Studies have shown that the last person

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interviewed is three times more likely to get a job offer. And even if you’re the last one interviewed, the longer the decision-making period, the less distinct every candidate becomes in the hiring manager’s memory. 
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Your goal is to leave your interviewers with a strong, positive image, and not let that memory  slip with the passage of time and a busy schedule. A good follow-up strategy could well be the deciding factor in who gets the job offer, because it helps your positive image remain the fresh and vibrant.


Develop Follow-Up Strategy
As soon as you can after the interview, make notes on what went well and not so well. This information will improve your follow-up with the interviewer, and reviewing all your follow-up notes after two or three interviews may alert you to a weakness you hadn’t noticed. Self-awareness, that rare ability to look at oneself objectively, is always the first step in fixing behavioral and performance problems. Make notes on these categories:
* Who did you meet? What were their titles and e-mail addresses?
* What did you find out about the job?
* Why can you do it?
* What are the job’s typical problems?
* What are likely first projects/challenges?
* What went right and why?
* What went wrong and why?
* What was a royal screw-up and why?
* Did the interviewer comment on any topic that might give you a unique follow-up?
* What did the interviewer say was the next step?
* Are there other candidates in contention?
* When will a decision be made?
* What did the interviewer say in concluding the interview?

Hiring Managers Appreciate Follow-Up
Over 90% of managers say they appreciate follow-up from candidates and regard it as a demonstration of both interest and professional courtesy. Using the information gathered from this exercise, you can begin a follow-up campaign. Knowing if there is another round of interviews or if the decision is going to be made tomorrow afternoon or next week has a significant impact on how and when you will follow up.

If you can find something interesting that possibly made your meeting unique, your follow-up should reinforce that connection. Job search expert Leslie Ayres points out the value of the personal touch in these follow-ups: “If you talked about anything personal in the interview, mention that: ‘Glad to meet another Thai food lover. Here’s the link to the restaurant I mentioned.” Following relevant comments about the job, now you’re even more memorable.

Although you might have been encouraged to use first names during the interview, because you are younger you should revert to the formalities of Mr./Ms. in written communication. This will be perceived as respectful, and also demonstrate that you understand professional protocols—something all too many of your peers do not. If use of first names hasn’t been encouraged, don’t presume: it won’t win you points, while showing professional courtesies always does.

Personable, professional follow-up notes that adhere to these rules will make a bigger difference than you can imagine.  You can really set yourself apart by maintaining contact with employers after the interview has ended. Invest yourself in learning how to conduct a good follow-up campaign,   with more advice on how stand out from the crowd, check out Knock Em Dead – Secrets & Strategies For First-Time Job Seekers.

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Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved

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