Following Up after the Interview
You've made it through the toughest part — but now what? First, breathe a sigh of relief! Then record the name and title of the person you interviewed with, as well as the names and titles of anyone else you may have met. Ideally, you'll have collected their business cards. Don't forget to write down what the next agreed-upon step will be. Find out when the employer will contact you. Then you have some things to attend to — and some waiting around.
Don't Forget to Write
Write a follow-up letter immediately, while the interview is still fresh in the interviewer's mind. Not only is this a thank-you, it also gives you the chance to provide the interviewer with any details you may have forgotten (as long as they can be added tactfully). If you lost any points during the interview, this letter can help you regain your footing. Be polite and make sure to stress your continued interest and competence to fill the position. Just don't forget to proofread it thoroughly. If you're unsure of the spelling of the interviewer's name, call the receptionist and ask.
23 West Honeybell Lane
October 3, 2007
Mr. James Reynolds
Triangle Farm Equipment Company
43 Rhodes Avenue
Dear Mr. Reynolds,
Thank you for interviewing me this morning for the customer service account manager position. It was a pleasure meeting with you and learning more about the job.
As we discussed in the interview, my five years of experience in customer service has prepared me very well for this position. I am confident that my problem-solving skills and management skills will serve as assets to the customer service department, in improving both its efficiency and its reputation with your clientele.
I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Waiting for News about a Job Offer
Waiting to hear whether you got the job, or at least a second interview, can be excruciating. If the interviewer told you when you can expect to hear from her, then don't contact her until after that date. However, if she didn't provide that information, allow her five to ten business days to contact you after receiving your thank-you letter. If you haven't heard anything after that time, follow up with a phone call. Express your continued interest in the firm and the position and ask whether a decision has been made or when you'll be notified.
Don't be discouraged if you don't receive an immediate response from an employer. Most companies interview many applicants before making a final decision. Take advantage of this time to contact other firms and schedule more interviews, so that if a rejection does come, you have other options. Continuing to job search and interview is a good idea, even if you end up receiving the offer. Ultimately, you may have a number of opportunities to choose from, and you'll be in a better position to negotiate terms. So keep plugging away!
Rejection is inevitable, and it's bound to happen to you, just as it happens to all other job seekers. The key is to be prepared for it and not take it personally.
One way you can turn rejection around is by contacting each person who sends you a rejection letter. Thank your contact for considering you for the position and request that she keep you in mind for future openings. If you feel comfortable about it, you may want to ask her for suggestions to help you improve your chances of getting a job in that industry or for the names of people who might be looking for someone with your skills. You can ask something like “Do you have any suggestions about who else I might contact?”
Two cautions are in order: First, don't ask employers to tell you why they didn't hire you. Not only will this place a recruiter in an awkward position, you'll probably get a negative reaction. Second, keep in mind that if you contact employers solely for impartial feedback, not everyone will be willing to talk to you.
Send a well-written thank-you note, mailed within one or two days of receiving notice of rejection. This makes a positive statement. When Danny P. was turned down for a position as a publicity director, he wrote his interviewer a letter that expressed his disappointment at not being offered the job and also his thanks for the company's consideration of his qualifications. The interviewer was so impressed by Danny's initiative that she provided him with several contact names to assist in his continued search.
If, when talking to the employer about your rejection, you learn that your skills and background don't match the position the interviewer needed to fill, ask him if another division or subsidiary could perhaps profit from your talents. If the interviewer liked you, he may be willing to recommend you for a more suitable position in the company.
In your letter, emphasize an ongoing interest in being considered for openings. Also, be careful to use an upbeat tone. Although you may be disappointed, you don't want to put the employer on the defensive or imply that you don't respect his decision. Above all, don't give up! Stay positive and motivated, and learn from the process.