“Why doesn’t the company call me back?” or “I feel like I have no power; all I can do is wait for an answer,” or “Can’t I do anything to make the employer say yes?” These are common complaints from individuals who express frustration following a job interview.
Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring, says, “There is no ‘secret trick’ or ‘magic bullet’ that will get the employer to offer you the job. However, there are some strategies you can use to influence the employer’s decision and finesse the process. Changing many of your small actions can actually make a big difference in the outcome of your interviews.”
Here are 10 suggestions for navigating through the interview process and following up afterward:
- Set the stage for effective follow-up. This step will help you feel prepared, proactive, and more in control. Developing your follow-up strategy before the interview will even enhance your behavior during the interview.
- Act more like a consultant than an applicant. Focus on asking intelligent, probing questions about the employer’s business needs, problems, and challenges (like a good consultant would). Write down the interviewer’s answers, which will become the foundation for your follow-up steps.
- Don’t rush toward an offer. The purpose of your initial interview is not to get an offer, but to get invited back for a second meeting—most likely with a higher-level individual at the company. Use every interview to ask more questions and uncover the employer’s primary needs and problems.
- Confirm next steps. Don’t settle for “Thanks for coming; we’ll let you know” or similar comments that place you in a passive position. Assume a more active role, and get a commitment from the employer for their next steps and time frames.
- Follow up promptly and compellingly. Now that your interview is over, send your thank you letters as soon as possible. These should be personalized to each individual (not generic) and must include specific references to each person with whom you met (something they said or contributed during the interview).
- Use every follow-up contact as a chance to build your value. In your thank you letter, include brief synopses of your accomplishments, tying them directly to the company’s stated needs and challenges (usually in a side-by-side chart format). You can even support your “claims” by sending the employer samples of your work, if appropriate.
- Be punctual and persistent. Be meticulous in your business etiquette, which includes consistent, regular follow-ups by phone and e-mail. Be persistent in expressing your sincere interest in the opportunity, but don’t be a pest.
- Leverage outside resources. If you have contacts and connections with anyone who might influence the hiring decision, or who actually knows the interviewer, ask them to “put in a good word for you” after the initial interview.
- Accept rejection gracefully. If you get the message (directly or indirectly) that the company is not interested in you, or if they actually reject you, then all you can do is move on.
- Turn defeat into victory. After being rejected, the first thing you should do is send a letter thanking them for considering you. You can add that “you would be happy to be contacted again, if the selected candidate does not work out.” You can really distinguish yourself from the other rejected applicants if you send this sort of polite, professional letter.
By employing these follow-up strategies after the interview, you will improve your chances of getting more offers, and you will also feel more empowered and effective throughout the hiring process!
Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally known Career Coach and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.