How to follow up after a job interview

So, the big interview is over and now you’re replaying every minute detail of it in your head. Did you prove that you could think on your feet and react well under pressure? Did you give enough detail and choose the right examples to highlight your skills? Were they won over by your experience and wowed by your ideas?

As well as this cold, hard, forensic analysis it’s also important to listen to your gut – did they like you, and did you like them? Do you feel it’s the right place for your personality and aspirations?

Write everything down the moment you are alone, including small things like the way in which they greeted you, their interview style and whether or not their questions were run of the mill or a bit more unique. Is it a creative place or corporate? Do they value change or are they afraid of it?

Instinct and analysis will play a part in how you handle your follow-up communications, helping demonstrate that you can tap into the finer nuances of their working world and organisational culture, as well as giving you a head start on what to actually say.

The first steps following the interview

A simple email the day after your interview is all that is required initially. If you didn’t get everyone’s name and job title at the time, do some online research or phone reception to ask. Keep it short and to the point, but throw in a line or two about specifics, to help jog their memory and make you stand out.

Be sure to personalise each interviewer’s email, instead of copying and pasting exactly the same words. Something along the lines of: ‘Dear *****, thank you for your time yesterday. I really enjoyed our discussion about project management and China. I look forward to discussing more ideas with you soon.’

And if your forensic analysis of the interview led you to realise there is potential to improve systems or operations, or a particular project that could benefit from your expertise and specialist knowledge, make sure you draw attention to it. Anything that sets you apart and reminds them who you are is a positive, so long as you keep it succinct.

What to do next

If you haven’t heard back within a few days, it’s a good idea to follow up with a phone call. This not only shows willing and enthusiasm, but if they’re struggling to make a decision it could just give them the right push in your direction.

The same goes for recruiters. They’re often really busy and, unless you were discussing a specific role, then it might be that there are no suitable positions for your skill set right now. Whatever the reason, it’s better to make a connection on the phone rather than via email, that way you can get specific feedback.

Be sure to have some questions jotted down for both good and bad news – how you proceed now could be a deciding factor in whether or not you get a second interview and ultimately the job, salary and package you want.

The final steps for following up after an interview

Whether or not you’re successful, consider connecting with your interviewees on LinkedIn; if you’ve not been successful it might just be a matter of timing. Personalise your invitation but don’t be pushy or demand a follow-up conversation or meeting, LinkedIn is not the forum for that. Keeping in touch on a professional network and engaging with similar communities and industry insiders will keep you on a recruiter’s radar and could lead to positive outcomes further down the line.

See your interview as the first step and a door opener and you never know where your carefully planned, carefully thought-out follow-ups could take you.

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