Many job seekers are not aware that it is important to follow-up with the employer after their interview. One of the first questions I ask a job seeker after they tell me they had an interview is, “Did you follow-up?” You would be surprised that the answer nine times out of ten times is “no.”
A follow-up can significantly affect whether or not an offer is extended. Following up after an interview tells an employer your level of interest in the position. In addition, you are demonstrating, by the very act of following up, that you have the personal and professional qualities typically sought by an employer –dedication, tenacity, attention to detail, and the ability to follow through. In some instances, employers may even use the lack of follow-up as a screening device, a way to narrow down the number of candidates to a short list and decide who will become finalists.
There are several ways to follow-up, and you may want to let your interest level in each position guide you. Thank-you cards and strategic letters are most common.
Strategic letters are the most effective, requiring a little more effort on your part. These letters can be sent via e-mail or postal mail. It is best to save thank-you cards for those who have been particularly helpful, such as administrative assistants, etc.
A strategic follow-up strengthens the interviewer’s perception of you, and it addresses any concerns you feel the employer may have about this position being the right fit for you. It also provides an opportunity to add any related skills, abilities or interests, and other information that you did not think of in the interview and might have a bearing on your candidacy. Since there will typically be several top candidates for the position, each one with various tradeoffs regarding strengths and liabilities, your follow-up helps nudge a difficult decision in your favor.
I have been hiring candidates for various positions for almost 20 years now. Hiring managers are very busy and often have a pile of applications sitting to the side on their desk just waiting for some time to start reviewing them.
If you want to rise to the top of that pile, make sure your cover letter expressing interest in the job makes the manager want to look at your resume and offer you an interview. Once you’ve had that interview, follow-up. That strategic letter or thank you card will definitely set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Good luck in your employment adventures and don’t forget to follow-up.
Tim Lopas is the Office Manager at Workforce Solutions – Pasadena. He has been in Workforce Development for seven years. His career began in the hospitality industry where he was manager of guest services. Tim is a native Houstonian whose passions include mentoring youth and going fishing.