Most job seekers put a great deal of effort into applying for positions and interviewing memorably. But there is another aspect to job hunting that a lot of people neglect: taking time to follow-up properly at each stage of the search.
As an applicant for a position, you are being judged for each action that you take (or fail to take). Forgetting to send a Thank You note after each interview, not letting your networking contacts know what stage you’re at in your search, assuming that once you’ve applied to a position listed on Monster.ca you should sit back and wait for employers to call…these are common errors with simple solutions.
Don’t Wait Forever
Take the job application for starters. So you’ve sent in your resume to one or more of the postings on our site. A good beginning. But what if you don’t hear anything although a week has already gone by?
Don’t assume that you haven’t been selected for an interview. Employers operate on their own timeframes, which may be very different than yours. A gentle prod can work in your favour here. Consider calling the employer after five business days of applying, to leave a polite message asking if they’ve received your resume, and reminding them what a terrific fit you’d be for the job.
Thank You’s To Everyone
Often you will be contacted by a screener or scheduler from the employer when they want to bring you in for a face-to-face interview. Get the name and title of that person and e-mail them a quick Thank You note. Same for the day of the interview: make sure to get a business card from everyone you meet with, then within two to three business days send each of these people a short Thank You e-mail. After the more important interviews, you might even mail in a card conveying your appreciation.
And what if another week or two passes by without hearing from the employer you’ve interviewed with? Follow-up with a courteous phone call or e-mail, asking when you might expect to hear from them next. Add a short ‘personal advertisement’ (a few words about why you’re the best candidate and how excited you are by this opportunity).
Update and Give In Return
Aside from applying to the job postings on Monster.ca, you will likely be networking with friends, family and others as part of your search for new employment. The people that help you most – by giving you leads, reviewing your resume, offering to serve as a reference – deserve to be kept informed of your status.
Every few weeks send them a message that lets them know you have followed up on their advice. Provide them with a sense of how your applications and interviews are going.
If you can, try giving something back every so often. Maybe you stumble on an article or piece of information that one of your contacts might find useful. Possibly you meet someone new along the way who you’d like to put in touch with one of your references because they share certain interests.
Details Make the Difference
You might not realize how important it can be to follow-up properly at each stage. After all, don’t you have enough on your plate with polishing that resume and honing your interview skills?
To put it into perspective, an employer may be faced, in the end, with two or more “equal” candidates that they must choose from. What if one of them hadn’t bothered to send a Thank You? It could be as subtle as that. It pays to pay attention to details. It demonstrates your professionalism in ways that might just win you that job.
Post-interview thank you email
Are you waiting to hear from an employer after you’ve interviewed them? You can increase your chances of being chosen for the next round of interviews – or of being offered the job – by following up professionally. This includes writing a customized thank you note.
The purpose of this often neglected bit of communication is threefold:
• to remind the interviewer(s) how much you really want the job
• to address any issues or gaps that may have arisen during the interview
• to demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile since many job hunters don’t bother to send such a note (or send amateurish ones if they do)
Every time you go for a job interview, ask each person you meet for their business card. This way you will know their exact names and titles and can send them an appropriate thank you. Thank you e-mail notes are fine. For that extra special touch, consider sending an actual handwritten card or note.
Here is an example of a typical thank-you e-mail:
Dear (name of the person who interviewed you),
Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me on Tuesday afternoon. You gave me quite a bit of insight into your organization and were very courteous and professional. I particularly liked the way you made me feel comfortable from the start.
As we discussed, my five years of experience as an Accounts Payable specialist make me an excellent choice for the position we talked about. At one point you asked if I had any additional experience that would be relevant to the job. I would like to add here that I currently serve as a volunteer Accounts Payable Supervisor for a local charity.
I would really welcome an opportunity to return for the next round of interviews. Please feel free to contact me at the number and e-mail address provided below.
Sincerely,(your name here)
Keep your thank you are short and sweet. Send them around two business days after you’ve been interviewed. Then cross your fingers, keep up your job search momentum elsewhere, and hope for that thrilling call-back.
Top ways to sabotage your interview follow-up
From a hastily written thank-you email to social media snafus, these mistakes can weaken your chances of getting hired.
Navigating your first job search when you’re fresh out of college is no easy feat. You have to craft your resume, apply to jobs, research potential employers, and, of course, ace job interviews—but you probably know you have all that on your plate. Something you may not have realized? Interview follow-up matters—almost as much as the interview itself.
Here are seven things to avoid doing after a job interview.
Rushing your thank-you note
A thank-you letter is a must, says Ethel Badawi, co-founder of legal recruiting firm Pollack Badawi Group. However, Badawi says some job candidates fire off an interview thank-you email right away—as in, from their smartphones the minute they exit the building.
It’s a misstep for a couple of reasons. “Many hiring managers don’t like a rapid thank-you email,” she explains, “because they either think you haven’t taken the time to reflect the interview, or they assume you wrote the thank-you email beforehand and just hit send.”
Another reason you don’t want to rush your interview follow-up. “It’s always helpful to have a second pair of eyes look over correspondence with a potential employer for spelling or grammatical errors, especially when the stakes are high and you’re applying for a position that you really want,” says Stephanie Waite, senior associate director at Yale’s Office of Career Strategy.
Following up too often
Figuring out when—and how often—to check in with a hiring manager is tricky, Waite says, since it depends on the interviewer. Her advice: “Send a thank-you email within 24 hours and then wait about 10 business days to check back in to see what the status is of your job application. At that point, I would ask the interviewer, ‘When would be the best time for me reconnect with you?’”
Connecting to the interviewer on social media
Sending your boss a friend request is one thing—and it’s a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. Trying to add a job interviewer on social media? Bad idea. “[Social media sites are] still very much seen as more personal platforms rather than a professional platform,” Badawi says.
Though social media can be a great networking tool, Waite advises job candidates against sending hiring managers requests to connect. “We tell students to hold off because it can come across as too assumptive that you’re receiving an offer,” she says.
The exception? “I think adding a recruiter is OK before you get a job offer since it’s someone whose job it is to be out there networking and meeting potential job candidates,” Badawi says. Still, it’s proper business etiquette to check with a recruiter via email before sending a request.
Talking about the interview on social media
“In the age of social media, there’s a tendency to want to post about every single moment of your life,” Waite says. “However, I don’t recommend posting anything about how the job interview went, even if it went great.” Why not? “You never know if an employer could misinterpret that information while they’re looking at your social media accounts after the interview,” says Waite. Just…don’t.
Obsessing over your performance
Even when job interviews go well, some candidates will sweat over what they said (or didn’t say) during the audition, says Badawi, to the point where they email the interviewer to explain their statement. However, “you can’t really control the outcome after you’ve interviewed for a job,” she says.
That being said, “If there is something that really, really needs clarifying, like a gross misstatement, I would advise candidates to work that into their thank-you email,” Badawi advises. “For example, if you misstated a position title or dates of employment at a particular job because you were nervous, you’d want to correct that information before an employer runs a reference check.”
Slowing down your job search
You aced the interview—now it’s time to sit back and wait for the hiring manager to offer you the job. Wrong! “Just because an interview goes well does not mean you will get a job offer,” Badawi cautions. “Hiring needs can change, hiring budgets can change, and these are things that are outside your control.”
That means your job search isn’t finished. Keep checking ads and submitting your resume to positions that appeal to you. “You should be applying to jobs until you have the right job offer in hand,” says Pittsburgh-based career coach Chris Posti.
Need some help keeping your search going? Join Monster today for free. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top posts with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent straight to your inbox to cut down on the amount of time you’d spend reading job ads. Those are two quick and easy ways Monster can help you reach job-search success.