#4: Pushy Interview Follow Ups

19 Jan

The days are gone of companies “expecting” you to chase their jobs.  When I was a teenager, I remember my family’s advice to call multiple times to follow up after an interview because it shows that you really want the job.  I won’t go into how long ago that was – but this is a much different job market.

There are too many candidates out there doing exactly what you are doing after an interview – or even before (which is more annoying).  It’s generally my advice to not call blindly into HR after submitting a resume online – after all, you don’t even know what they want yet.  You are selling them something before you even know what their needs are and that’s a futile waste of your time and mine.

If you do score an interview – follow up is important – but there are ways to conduct follow up that is appropriate and professional.  Please don’t hound me on the phone everyday after an interview to check on the status of the position.  We have automated systems in place to notify you if the position get’s filled.  Internal collaboration needs to happen before hiring decisions are made – and you interrupting me daily is not good personal branding.  Don’t drop by my office with cookies or add me to your stupid email distribution list so I get your inspiring motivational crap email forwards either.  Another BIG no-no is sending a follow up email that is too long.  If you send me a novel in an email before I hire you, I will assume that your emails to me and other managers after I hire you will be equally as inappropriate – those emails suck the life out of me.  Making that mistake makes you look like you have never had a job where you kept yourself busy.  It makes me think that you waste time, and have no consideration of my time.

And, asking me to forward your thank you email to the hiring manager you met with?  That’s not a deal breaker – but it’s annoying.  I’m busy.  How about you ask for that person’s business card while you are interviewing with them?  If they don’t have one on them, then how about asking for their email so you can follow up, looking on Linked in, taking the formula of MY email address (first.last@companyname.com) and copying it for the other guy?  How about you do the leg work?  Exceptions exist when a hiring manager specifically asks that you follow up with someone else – then do what they say.  Candidates who cannot follow directions in the interview process is like babysitting.

OK that was what not to do.  Here is what generally is a good idea.

1) Thank you Email the day of or the day after your interview.  Two lines at the top thanking everyone for their time and the opportunity to present yous skills.  Then some BULLET POINTS (no more than 4 or 5) that touch on items that you discussed in the interview – a reiteration of how, based on what they told you they needed for the position, you are the best fit drawing on examples from your own experience.  This should be brief.  Close with “Looking forward to next steps.” And be sure to include your contact information.  If I want to call you to schedule a 2nd interview and can’t just pull up your last email for your number, it’s inconvenient.  Bottom line: You want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact you period.

2) Send a hand written thank you note to everyone that you met with.  Spell their names right.  If you didn’t get a business card, then look them up on the company website, Linked In, Jigsaw, anywhere.  Make each card different – and responding to the specific conversation with each person.  Send it out two days after the interview.  The goal of interview follow up is to send reminders of you.  If they all come in the same day it defeats the purpose.

If you don’t hear back – get used to it.  Hiring processes in this sort of economy can take weeks, even months.  For every job we post we get 100 resumes.  We are trying to get back to everyone – but if you submit online and don’t get an interview, it’s safe to move on.  Don’t get fixated on one opportunity because you think it’s your dream job.  You have no idea.  You don’t know the people, the culture, the pay, or the specific needs of the hiring manager yet.  Move on.  Be deliberate and thoughtful in your applications.  Write targeted objectives for each job you apply for.

Oh, and please know that either before or right after an interview, I am Googling you.

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