Congratulations! You've just completed a highly anticipated interview for your dream job. You prepared, gave it your best shot, and feel confident about the opportunity. Now what?
The ball may seem to be in the employer's court, but there are several key post-interview communication steps you can take to help you stand out from the competition and ensure you're viewed as proactive. To help keep your name at the top of the list (and the hiring manager's mind), consider these five steps for nailing post-interview communication.
MASTER THE THANK-YOU NOTE.
Be sure to collect email addresses of the interviewers to promptly send a follow-up thank-you note. It's recommended to follow up within 24 hours of the interview. Even better, follow up by the end of the day you interviewed, though this doesn't have to mean by 5 p.m. If you send the communication at 8 p.m., your email will have a good shot at being the first thing in their inbox in the morning.
The email's subject line should be something snappy, such as: "Thank you for your time today, [interviewer's name]." The body of the email should include gratitude for the interviewer's time and your interest in the role.
Pro tip: Be sure spellcheck is working properly or download a grammar plug-in. Lastly, your contact information should be nicely spelled out in the email signature.
MATCH YOUR UNIQUE ABILITIES TO THE JOB.
In this new era where culture trumps all, candidates are no longer assessed by their skillset alone. Culture fit, values alignment and a candidate's ability to catch up to speed quickly in complex environments all play a role in candidate selection. We call this the "Head, Heart and Briefcase." Remind the hiring manager why you're qualified in each of these arenas. Some of the best thank-you emails I've received from candidates include not only why their skillset matches the qualifications of the job, but also why their core values resonate deeply with the company.
Oftentimes after the interview, there can be things you feel were left unsaid or that you want to elaborate on. Briefly share those items in the follow-up correspondence. If certain strong suits you possess were listed on the job description but were not brought up in the interview, make sure to acknowledge them in your post-interview email.
IF YOU WANT IT, ASK FOR IT!
One of the most important pieces of advice I give for post-interview communication is this: If you really want the job, ask for it. I've worked with many hiring managers and CEOs that have said to me, "This candidate has the perfect experience, but I feel like she doesn't want it enough." In such an instance, all the candidate had to do was send a post-interview email and express genuine interest.
If you don't hear back on the exact date the hiring manager wanted to have a decision made by, don't be discouraged. Companies have many moving parts and anything can derail hiring timelines. Oftentimes, it has nothing to do with the candidate's qualifications and is simply due to the company's internal relations.
CHECK BACK IN.
After the date has come and gone that the hiring manager said they'd have a decision by, send additional correspondence shortly after. This can be another email or a physical note in the mail, which can be a nice touch. Reiterate your interest, ask if they'd like you to provide references and ask where things stand with the process.
Ultimately, if you don't get the job, reach out with one more note asking for feedback. The feedback can help you learn and grow, and perhaps even demonstrate that you're interested in keeping the door open for future opportunities. What do you have to lose?
Now best of luck, and land that dream job!
Ashley Ward is the Founder and CEO of Hire For Hope, a talent consulting and recruiting firm based in Grand Rapids. A survivor of domestic violence, Ashley founded Hire For Hope in 2017 with a mission to empower women experiencing domestic violence and now gives 10% of profits to the YWCA so that other women can have the same chance she did.
This article originally appeared in the Jun/Jul '22 issue of West Michigan Woman.