What “Following-up” Really Means

In the past few months I have had a lot people ask for my advice on various interview scenarios. Each scenario is unique because even though a recruiter asks the same interview questions to all the candidates, the candidates and their responses are all different. Saying that, I find myself giving out the same feedback to a lot of the people who ask for my help; don’t forget to follow-up.

Standing out from the Rest

Following-up after an interview is SO important. Recruiters usually interview 5-6 candidates for each open vacancy. If you happen to be the first candidate that the panel or hiring manager/recruiter sees than how are you going to make sure that they remember you over the others. Even if you are the last candidate they see, how are you going to make sure that they know that you are the best and most qualified candidate?

People seem to forget that a job interview does not begin in a small conference room. It can start with a phone interview and it definitely starts when you walk into the building and say “Good Morning” to the receptionist. So when does a job interview end? The formal interview portion of it does end after the 30, 45 or 60 minute meeting where the candidate meets the hiring manager and gets asked common interview questions. When you’re thanked for coming in and you’re walked out the door the interview is still not over. It’s not over until you either receive a job offer or receive a rejection letter.

What NOT to Do

When I asked a few of my clients if they follow-up after an interview and what they actually did I was shocked by the results. A little less than half said they never really follow-up and just wait to hear back from the recruiter and the rest either send a Thank you note or call the recruiter a week later and ask if the role has been filled.

My clients have told me two very important things. First, people don’t want to annoy the recruiter by harassing them after the interview and Second, people don’t want to look desperate so contacting the recruiter and telling them that they really want the job is just out of the question. Following-up can be a thin line but this thin line is actually not that thin and scary when you follow-up correctly.

Following-up DOES NOT mean that you call the recruiter and ask them if the the job has been filled. What happened to your confidence?! This question is horrible and I want everyone to stop using it. If you came in for an interview you exuded confidence, were prepared, calm and professional. By following-up and just asking if the job has been filled shows that you are pretty sure that you did not get the job because you suck and that you’re not surprised that you didn’t get the job because you didn’t deserve it. What kind of message is that to give a recruiter?!

Stand out: A person or thing of exceptional ability or high quality-Wikipedia

The Right Way

The fact is that a recruiter wants to hear from you. We know that candidates almost never turn down an interview and in this economy apply for any full-time job. This being said, we (recruiters) have a hard job on our hands; figuring out which candidates are genuinely interested in the job and who will not just quit when a better opportunity comes around.

So how do we (recruiters) figure out the duds from the stars? Well, I personally try to relate and befriend each candidate. I talk to them from the first hand shake at the reception area, in the elevator, in the hallway and when I walk them out of the room, down the hallway, in the elevator and in the reception area again. I genuinely want to find the best candidate for the job, not just the person who has all the right qualifications (because I already knew that from the resume) but the person who sees this job as a great opportunity and it will be a great step in their career.

Thank You Notes

I love receiving Thank you notes after an interview and even though in almost all of my posts I ALWAYS stress to send Thank you emails the reality is that most people just don’t. It’s like going on great date and then never talking to that person again. If you are interested in that person you would call them right? Well, if you’re interested in the role then you need to call and tell the recruiter that. Yes, it should go both ways but a recruiter needs the feedback from everyone in the panel who have to decide between a few candidates and this can take a few days so while they are deciding why not be an ACTIVE candidate and stand out by following-up.

Hopefully, after the interview the recruiter gave you a timeline when you should hear from them regarding the decision. So you should send a Thank you email to all the people in the interview panel (refer to them by name in the email if you only have the recruiters email and ask the recruiter to forward the email on to the rest of the panel) a day after your interview. A few days before the day you should hear from the recruiter send another follow-up email.

Be Friendly

This is where befriending the recruiter is key. You have hopefully learned that you have something in common with the recruiter or hiring manager and this is the time to remind them that you are not only the perfect candidates as your resume and interview state but that you are a cool person to hang out with and sit/work beside for 8 hours a day for 365 days 🙂 If you haven’t really learned anything personal about the recruiter or anyone in your panel that you can relate to try to search on Google Plus, LinkedIN, Twitter, About.me, and a general Google search should help you.

Remember when you’re leaving an interview with the recruiter to be very friendly and ask them what how they plan on spending their summer? or if you revealed that you love dogs and have a pet why not ask them if they do. The point is you’re trying to get some information from them that you can then mention in your follow-up email. When you relate to another person it makes that person think that they know you and recruiters/hiring managers like to hire people that they can relate to and that they like.

At the End of the Day

You’re main objective is getting a job but you are also trying to show the interview panel and the recruiter that you are a normal person who would be a fun (not annoying) person to hang out with for 8 hours of the day. Obviously you first want to make sure that you prove that you have the experience and have the skills to do the job. Once you accomplished that then try to relate and get to know your panel/recruiter and see if you have anything in common. If you don’t get the job you might befriend a recruiter and add valuable people to your network, which are not bad things to happen 😉

Photo by: Nina Matthews Photography

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