After you attend an interview, what do you do; what would you do? I am relentlessly suggesting that when seeking a job, your activity during the interview process requires that, in order to increase your odds for success, you must effectively multi-task because it is a contest between you and, well, everyone else. You need more than a good resume, for the simple reason that at some point you’ll be asked, “Tell me about yourself?” at which point you’ll actually have to speak. I also suggest people conduct research, because they are most likely going to be asked, “What do you know about our company?” Additionally, I tell people to prepare and hone their interview (soft) skills so that when they do speak, what comes out of their mouths actually helps, rather than to hurt or detract. I recommend applicants formulate questions to learn as much as possible about the position for which they are interviewing, to not only demonstrate that you are fully engaged in the process, but also to have the information needed to thoughtfully consider any job offer they might receive. For the same reason, I urge them to apply the most basic of negotiating techniques, because you are a process participant and not a mere passenger, and your participation and influence need not end upon your exit from the interview.
As a matter of course, I always suggest job candidates compose and send a Thank You letter or note; each step, each time, sending one to whomever you interviewed with. It needn’t be long and even just a couple lines will suffice. If you are thinking strategically, a Thank You letter is never just a Thank You letter. Rather than to elaborate here, dig into my Blog Archives and look for my entry of 14 January 2013 on just this subject – it is worthy of your time. The Thank You letter gives you yet another chance to get noticed in a positive light.
For those of you who want to be a bit more proactive in your efforts, if you were given a timeframe within which they said they would follow-up with you after your interview and, for whatever reason they don’t, take the initiative and follow-up with them, reminding them of their own positive comments. Lack of follow-up by a hiring manager does not necessarily indicate a lack of interest; sometimes they are just plain busy. On many occasions a hiring manager thanks me for the reminder and apologizes for the delay. Here’s another guideline: if the interview went well, not only from your perspective, but they tell you it went well and give a clear impression they will further consider you, follow up with them. However, if it didn’t go well, then move on to something else. I know some readers may suggest a hiring manager might not like your extra effort and could get irritated, but for what, demonstrating your interest? If you are content with crossing your fingers and hoping no problem, I am making mere suggestions, you’re free to take them or leave them.
Another precaution you should follow is to restrict your follow-up efforts to email or snail mail. Never call a hiring manager’s mobile phone number unless you have been expressly instructed to do so. You don’t want to be deemed a stalker now, do you? I suggest you restrict yourself to typed correspondence. And, if after an attempt or two they don’t reply, you’ll have your answer regardless.
If you received no indication one way or the other about the result of your interview and you want to follow-up after 7 – 10 days, go ahead and make your attempt, always seeking the person with whom you’ve met.
However, if you are represented by a recruiter or a recruitment agency (yes, there is a difference), it means the recruiter represents your interests and speaks for you; you’ve made them your agent, working on your behalf. As such, you should never go around the recruiter to contact a hiring manager; it will anger the recruiter as well as the hiring manager and will not be viewed favorably. This is the trade-off if you want someone else to represent your interests.
On this topic of proactive follow-up, granted, there are hiring managers and HR staffers who will clearly differ with my suggestions. Many want you to obediently submit to their rules, although, consider that they don’t have your best interests at heart, but if you act professionally and in good faith your conscience should be clear. My goal is to better help you to help yourself and there is nothing that I ever suggest that I wouldn’t or haven’t done myself for over 22 years. Another very good reason to do what I am suggesting is because most people don’t engage in these extra steps. Furthermore, what if it is a close contest between you and another applicant for the same position? The present job market is a crowded and competitive landscape, being more assertive than passive can be the difference between success and failure.