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Interview Follow-up Communication

 

Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview Follow-up Communication

What to do | What to say | What not to say | So what?

 

When you have had an interview for a job, it can be a very good idea to follow up with a communication to remind them of how you are the best person for the role. Here are some ideas to help you with effective follow-up that increases the chance of getting your dream position.

Reflect

After the job interview, first of all sit down and reflect on what happened and how you think it went for you. Make a series of notes that tell the story of who said and did what. Try to be honest, neither exaggerating nor downplaying your performance. Things to think about include:

  • Who were the people who interviewed you? What was each looking for?
  • Did you fully answer the questions they asked?
  • Did they ask you questions that uncovered your abilities that would be needed in the job?
  • Did you feel confident (but not over-confident)?
  • Can you imagine yourself working with them?
  • Do you really want the job?

Even if you think you did not do as well as you might have hoped, beware of this getting your down and feeling negative. The candidate's view of how things went and the interviewers view can be very different.

Short-term contact

It can be a good idea to contact them the same day or the day after, just saying thanks and showing enthusiasm. You will possibly be still quite high on adrenaline and it is easy to say the wrong thing here, so just keep it brief and positive.

Email is a common medium to use, though you can use text or whatever they have used in contacting you. Direct phone calls are not always a good idea as the interviewers are likely to be busy and an interrupting phone call can seem pushy.

Thanks

Say thank you, but avoid being effusive. Keep the formal thanks short. Add the date/event so they can place you more accurately. You can also add an assumptive phrase that implies you can do the job well, although beware of seeming arrogant.

Thank you for taking time in the interview today to understand me and how I can contribute to XXX.

Show enthusiasm

Without going overboard, it always helps to show you are very keen to get the job. This not only confirms your passion, it also makes it harder for them to turn you down. Temper the level of enthusiasm to meet their culture. If they are a passionate bunch, then be excited. If they conservative, be interested.

I was already very interested and hearing further details has made me even keener to work with you.

Later contact

As well as quick 'thanks', it is a good idea to get back to them in the relatively short term with proof of your ability that adds value as well as reminding them about you and making you different from all the other applicants.

Add value

If you've found out some of the issues that they are facing at the moment, demonstrate your skills and passion with a real value-add for them. You can also show you care about them by saying 'it's free'.

You mentioned you were revising your website. To show what I can do and offer practical help, I've created five images you can use and written a sample section for your home page. This also demonstrates my productivity as it took just two days. I really enjoyed doing this work and whether or not you offer me the job, I'd be delighted if you can use any of this material.

It is a good idea to do this within a few days, while they are still interviewing or reflecting. Even if you did not get the job you may pick up some contract work (that may yet lead to full-time employment).

What not to say

Just as important as saying the right thing is not saying the wrong thing. Even after the interview, you can blow it by saying things that put them off you.

Do not plead

While enthusiasm is good, you can over-do this. Particularly if you come across as desperate, they might start wondering if you just want 'a' job rather than the one in question.

Beware of aloofness

Some people are so desirable and have such rare skills that they can pick and choose. If you are like this, it can become easy to assume you will get the job and that it is you who are choosing them. Yet they are the ones who will give you the job. If you are too aloof, distant or arrogant, they could decide you would be too much of a handful.

Do not make demands

As with aloofness, you can put them off by making demands, even reasonable ones. For example if you are going on holiday and want to know if you've got the job by the end of the week, do not require or even request this. You can certainly ask when you will hear from them, but if they hear you saying 'I must know by XX or I'm not interested' then they will doubt your motivation to do the job.

If you did not get the job

First of all get out any negative feelings. Wail, cry, shout. Moan at friends. Then get positive and determined to learn from it all.

Get feedback

Get back to them to ask for feedback. This is best done on the phone as emails may be ignored and responses can be quick and unhelpful. It is harder to refuse a person who is talking with you now.

Ask them for feedback on your performance at interview. Look for honesty rather than brush-off phrases such as 'not quite what we wanted'.

Thank you anyway. I really want to learn from this and I'd appreciate if you can take a few minutes now to give me an honest view of where I can improve, both in my skills and at interview.

Seed future possibilities

If they do not say you are really the wrong person (and perhaps even then), look for ways to keep the door open for future possible jobs. For example you can:

  • Ask what kinds of jobs might be coming up in the future.
  • Ask them to call you if they see a job that you might be good at.
  • Ask about contract work.
  • Ask them where on their website to look for jobs.

Remember that this can be helpful to them too. It is not uncommon for interviewers to like several candidates and keeping in touch with the good ones may well useful for everyone.

In all this, keep up the enthusiasm and show how you would really like to go and work with them.

Make it a learning experience

Reflect on what you have experienced and heard. Think about how it went for you. Take the feedback seriously and work hard to improve the areas where you are weaker.

As one example, you can improve your interview technique by doing dummy practice, either with a friend or in front of the mirror. It can also be useful to video yourself and watch this (it can be cringe-worthy but at least you'll see yourself more as others see you and hence find ways to come across better).

So what?

When you have been interviewed, do not just sit back passively and hope they select you. Continue to show your determination and dynamism so they know you are an exceptional candidate.

See also

Communication, Conversation techniques

.

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