Set yourself apart by sending an effective, value-add thank you message after each interview.
Q: I've been interviewing a lot but I'm not getting the position. Any suggestions? - Lana W. of Cincinnati, OH
A: I know it’s hard to stay positive, but the fact that you’re landing interviews is a good sign! This means your resume and online presence are sending the right signals to recruiters and hiring managers. Now all you need to do is brush up on those interviewing skills and your follow-up approach.
Preparation is key for a successful interview. Research the company’s business on their corporate website and through sites like Hoovers and Yahoo! Finance. Set up a Google News Alert in the days leading up to the interview to stay on top of relevant industry and company news. Additionally, learn as much as you can about the company culture by talking to contacts who’ve worked at the company and by going to sites like Glassdoor and Vault.
Consider all the different questions interviewers might ask and prepare responses for each. Spend time practicing your responses out loud so you can deliver them smoothly. Be prepared to pitch yourself and the value you can provide during the interview. It’s also important that you prepare questions for interviewers that (a) demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and company, and (b) help you better understand the company’s needs.
Keep in mind that your evaluation as a potential employee continues even after your interview concludes. A recent survey conducted by TheLadders found more than 75 percent of interviewers say receiving a thank you note impacts their decision-making process. A carefully crafted thank you message creates an opportunity to reconnect with employers, build a relationship with interviewers, and keep your candidacy top of mind. Here are eight tips to help you gain the most out of this valuable message:
Stand out from the crowd. By sending a thank you message after each interview, you differentiate yourself from other candidates and can help advance your candidacy to the next round. Use this communication as a tool to address any objections expressed by interviewers and demonstrate your qualifications for the job.
Make it personal. Follow up with every person you interview with. Tailor each communication by focusing on the most significant points raised during each interview. Don’t be afraid to mention little details you learned about the interviewer, such as a shared passion or an upcoming trip – this demonstrates your attention to detail and makes the message more memorable.
Be specific. Relate how your experience is directly tied to the hiring manager’s needs and how your skills will help him or her solve these challenges. Call out any achievements, experiences, or qualifications you think are relevant to the job’s requirements but didn’t get a chance to mention during the interview.
Overcome objections. If the hiring manager communicated a concern with hiring you, address it in the thank-you note. Spell out that you can demonstrate what it takes.
Timing matters. In this mobile age where the expectation of immediacy is higher than ever, it’s imperative to send thank you notes within 24 hours of every interview. Make sure to collect business cards or write down the proper spelling of the interviewers’ names and email addresses during the interview process to ensure follow-up in a timely manner.
Culture counts. It’s important to consider the individual and the company culture before sending your messages. A more traditional organization may prefer a hand-written letter, while a technology start-up may expect an email immediately.
Show interest. In a highly competitive job market, every detail counts. Choosing not to send a thank you note jeopardizes your positive perception as being lazy, ungrateful or disinterested.
Sweat the details. Proofread your thank-you note. Then read it again. Then have your friend proofread it. Make sure everything is spelled properly (including the interviewer’s name and title), and correct all typos before hitting the “send” button or dropping the envelope into the mailbox.
Think of your thank you message as a tool to influence the interviewer and advance your position. Once you’ve sent your initial message, follow up via email or over the phone one week later (assuming you didn’t get a response) to determine where they are in the hiring process and how you stack up against the other candidates. If you didn’t get the job, request feedback whenever possible so you know how to improve for the next interview.
Click on the following links for more information on preparation for, management of and follow-up to the interview process. Click on the following link to download these eight tips on interview follow-up.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.