If you’re not using the best, most effective methods of following up after a job interview, you’re missing out on the chance to score some easy points that just could push you over the top and out of the unemployment line.
Make sure you’re going above and beyond to impress interviewers and secure the job. Here are some guidelines for the perfect interview follow-up strategy.
1. Sooner is Better
In a recent CareerBliss Poll asking how soon people follow up after a job interview, 39 percent of respondents said they do it the next day. Good answer, according to career expert Vicky Oliver.
Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, said the best time to reach out after an interview is within 24 hours. The 61 percent of poll respondents who said they wait two to three days, a week or never follow up should take note.
“If you’re incredibly lucky,” Oliver said, “the interviewer will hit the email back to you saying that he really enjoyed meeting you and – voila! – now you’re in the running! These rules apply even if an executive recruiter helped you land the interview.”
2. The 3-Paragraph Rule
Your follow-up email should be short, sweet and personalized. Generally, a good rule of thumb for the length is three paragraphs, with no more than two to three sentences in each paragraph.
- First Paragraph: Briefly thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.
- Second Paragraph: Discuss a couple of your strengths and how the company would benefit if you were hired. Consider using bullet points to break up your text.
- Third Paragraph: Include any points of clarifications you might have. Include answers to questions that you weren’t able to answer during the interview, or add new info about yourself that was left out of the interview. But, remember, keep it brief.
Oliver suggests indicating your next point of contact by saying something along the lines of “Look forward to hearing from you within the next two weeks.” If no date was set at the interview, either ask for one or specify you will loop back to them for a decision in two weeks.
3. Splurge on the Good ‘Thank You’ Paper
Sending a hand-written thank you note via snail mail adds a charming touch, and further showcases your gratitude for their time. Go all out for this gesture. Practice your handwriting. Splurge and spend the extra money for high-quality paper – it will show prospective employers that you value their time, and also will speak well of your attention to detail.
4. Double Check their Names
Candidates should “double check the spelling of the interviewer’s name, his or her title, and the address of the company,” Oliver said. While you’re at it, don’t forget to spell-check the entire letter – both e-mail and snail mail. These steps may seem obvious, but all too often minor spelling and grammatical blunders get through, making the candidate look careless.
5. Avoid Follow-up Faux Pas
After you have written your notes, double check to ensure that you have avoided these common mistakes:
- Cheesy emoticons and exclamation points (express your enthusiasm with sophistication)
- Informal language
- Grammar/spelling errors
6. Don’t Call Them, They’ll Call You
Usually, toward the end of an interview, hiring managers will indicate a general time for when they will contact you. If this was not addressed, be sure to ask them to give you an idea in your initial follow-up e-mail. Only call the employer if that date has passed. Call any time before then and you will come off as desperate and bothersome.