Thursday, June 27, 2013

4 do's and don'ts of following up

Tips for following up
IN TOUCH: Following up after a job interview
can be less stressful when you know some basic rules
We've all heard it time and time again: After you leave an interview, you need to follow up. Whether it's with a phone call, email, or handwritten letter, following up can make or break your chance of getting a job offer.

But what if you don't feel comfortable following up? What if you're a recent college graduate new to this experience, or a seasoned professional who's re-entering the job market unsure of modern follow-up protocol? Whatever your circumstance, here's some insight into the do's and don'ts of following up to help you battle those butterflies.

DO send a thank you letter. You should always send a thank you letter after an interview. Many recruiters or hiring managers have come to expect this. Consider how you have been communicating with the recruiter, and use his most preferred communications method. Send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you, not just the recruiter who took the lead. Before leaving an interview, get every interviewer's business card so you have their contact information.

DO be prompt. If the recruiter tells you he hopes to have a decision made by the end of the day, or the next day, time is of the essence, and you should follow up as soon as you can. Send your email as soon as you get home or are in front of a computer. If you know you have time to send a thank you note the old-fashioned way through snail mail, take the time to hand write it and mail it no more than 48 hours after your interview. The benefit of sending the thank you note via post mail is that you can stand out from other applicants who are sending emails. Never send a thank you note via text messaging or through social media outlets. According to MSN Careers, 90 percent of people polled said sending a text thank you or following up via social media was inappropriate. What the employer wants to see is that the candidate knows proper business etiquette, and text messages and social media avenues are too casual and suggest a lack of professionalism.

DON'T be afraid to call. The last question you ask in an interview should be, "When do you see yourself making a decision?" or "When can I follow up with you?" It's OK to ask this question -- the recruiter wants you to. This way, you give yourself an advantage because you create an opportunity to call the recruiter and remind him why you are so fantastic, ask for the next interview, or ultimately, ask for the job. If the recruiter says, "Yes, call me in four days," then make sure you call in four days. By giving you the green light to call, he is telling you he WANTS you to follow up. Don't be intimidated by this step since many times it is used to determine who has the courage to do what they say they are going to do and who has the follow-up skills needed to get the job done.

DON'T be overly persistent. What if you call and the recruiter or hiring manager doesn't answer? Leave a brief message and your phone number. Talk slowly and repeat your number. Calling back once shows you follow through. Calling twice shows initiative and desire. However, anything after is overkill. If you're looking for a position, you need to be proactive, but if you don't hear back after a week that is your sign to move on. But don't be discouraged. Be proud of yourself for making it this far in the application process, and remember that every interview is a great experience. Mark down your experience and results from this interview process, and use it to improve your chance of success with you next interview.

In short, the post-interview follow-up is an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and remind the recruiter or hiring manager what you can bring to the table. Following up after the interview gives you the chance to continue the conversation after the interview is over, or get the closure you need in the interview process. Ultimately, you have to use your best judgment and hope for great news. Keep these guidelines in mind and be confident! Stay tuned for more advice on thank you letter etiquette in an upcoming post.