Monday, May 2, 2011

Job Interview Follow-Up Tips

So what happens when you have a really great interview, you send your follow-up email in a timely manner, but then you hear nothing? What do you do? Do you send another note? Do you contact HR? Or the hiring manager you spoke to in the interview? It's a tricky situation, and a lot of people struggle with what to do.
My answer is: You need to both call and email the hiring manager. You took the time to meet with him, and if you went through that process, you spent at least 4-5 hours speaking with him or preparing for speaking with him, and you deserve to know exactly what is going on. Have they filled the position? Are they moving forward with other candidates, or are you still being considered? Are you no longer being considered for some reason?
(Don't get me wrong—I'm not telling you to "grill" them on what's up…but if they have moved forward with another candidate, you need to ask the question: If I were to do this again, what two things could I have done that would have made a difference? Or: What did the candidate you chose do that really separate him from the rest of us? You really want to learn from this. The ultimate goal for you is a great job. If this one has gone away, you need to learn what you can do next time for the next job interview process.)
Specifically, when you call the hiring manager, you can say something like: "Hi, this is John (or Jane). We interviewed last week for the position of XYZ. You said that you would be making a decision within a couple of days and contacting candidates. I haven't heard from you, so I was curious as to where you were in the process. Have you made a decision? If you haven't, is there a way that you and I can speak about this further so that you understand why I'm an excellent candidate?"
If you get voice mail (which will happen a lot), leave that message and say, "I'm going to also send you an email asking you what's going on with this process. I really appreciate speaking with you and I just want some feedback to understand where we're at and what the next steps are." This last sentence demonstrates your communication skills, your confidence, and your ability to handle a difficult situation. It's a tremendous opportunity for you, really. I've seen people save the job offer from the jaws of death by communicating so well in the follow up.
So, absolutely follow up with a phone call and an email, and if you're not getting the job, don't miss this significant learning opportunity to find out what two things you can do differently next time.


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