Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Bringing the job market and marketplace into focus – Part 12: post-interview follow-through

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on September 12, 2010

It amazes me how often people strive to get an interview and with all of the steps and preparation involved in that, only to go silent and fail to follow through after the meeting itself. This is done with informational interviews where someone has given them the gift of their time, effort and experience. This happens with gatekeeper interviews that should be prelude to formal job interviews. This happens even at job interviews with hiring managers who you need to favorably reach out to and connect with if you are to get that job offer. Silence here is anything but golden. It signals a lack of interest and can also realistically be considered a lack of respect for the people who have given of their time to meet with you.

Follow-through can make the difference in whether your search proceeds forward and for job interviews themselves this can make the difference as to whether you get an offer or not. Put slightly differently but with very real accuracy, a failure to follow through can make a difference too, where silence conveys its own message – just not the one you want to send out.

Most follow through is done in the form of follow-up letters, and these days that primarily means emails. This is one of the main reasons why you need to get those business cards when you meet with people so you are sure to have their correct email addresses to send to them by, and just as importantly the correct spelling of their names and their correct business titles. So you need to write and quickly send out effective, well crafted emails to the people you meet with.

I have already posted on the interview follow-up emails and letters in my series on Plan B job searches with Finding Your Best Practices Plan B when Your Job Search isn’t Working – part 13, following up for success and I am not going to repeat the details of that here, simply noting I do outline a tested and effective format for this type of message there, among other things. Instead I intend on supplementing that posting here with some thoughts that may be particularly relevant to the career changer.

First and perhaps foremost, don’t come across as self-conscious or uncomfortable about making a career change. Remember that you would not have been offered an opportunity to meet for an interview if the people who made that selection decision to meet with you were uncomfortable with this. Your interviewers want to meet with you because they see you as a viable enough candidate on the technical and skills issues and as to experience so your career change is not a major or show-stopping issue for them – even if they do wish to touch on that in their conversation with you. They are looking for insight on what you would be like working with as a member of their team, and to find out what your interpersonal skills are like.

So you do not want to come across as brash or difficult to work with or as over-confident. You want to come across as calm and relaxed and easy to work with – as someone willing to learn and to accommodate the needs of others in helping them meet goals and priorities, as well as someone who can carry out your own tasks.

This starts in the interview itself and it continues in the follow-through. And showing that you really listened and that you remember issues that your interviewer discussed with you in your post-meeting email tells a very positive story about what you are like to work with.

And if this meeting is just one in a in a series and you have not gotten an offer yet, be sure to include how you will follow-up if you have not heard from them, for setting up that next meeting.

Success in landing that great job can come down to deciding who shows the greatest skill and enthusiasm for the job through their pattern of follow-through. Think yours through and use your follow-through as a tool for helping to show you are the best candidate available.

I have offered an exercise in every other posting in this series, just as I did with my Plan B job search series (see the Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, postings 56 through 72 and 89 through 100) and for this one I suggest that following through is an exercise in and of itself. Get feedback on your draft follow-through emails if you would find that of help and adjust them to make them really shine, but remember that timeliness is important here too so don’t take too much time getting feedback before sending out your final version.

The next posting in this series will look at negotiations, and as a heads-up an important consideration there is in what you want to get on the table in your negotiations.

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