We were at another couple’s house for supper when my friend said she was tired of going on interviews for months after she had been laid off. Not a single interview resulted in a second or a job.
Without thinking, I asked, “What are you saying in your thank-you notes?”
Her husband and I, in unison, said, “But you must.” And he added, “No wonder you aren’t getting callbacks.”
The woman admitted she thought they were stupid, an unnecessary and passé formality. But we helped her with wording and she sent one after the next interview, and she got the job.
Debbie Page, who dubs herself a business coach and cash flow efficiency expert for women in business says, “The old adage says, ‘your fortune is in the follow up’. It's true whether you are an entrepreneur looking to close the deal or the job hunter pursuing your next great career move. Follow up and follow through are essential ingredients organizations look for when bringing on talent. Your follow up through your recruiting process will make you stand out from the competition.” Page recommends to start with a thank you after the meeting by first sending an e-mail communication, and then a handwritten note. She calls this the “old school one-two combination” that can be a deal maker in a hiring decision. Caroline Gray, at GlassDoor.com, says, your thank-you note should include three things:
1. Gratitude for your interviewer’s time
2. Appreciation for gaining more information and insight into the position and the company
3. Enthusiasm for the role (and for meeting the team).
All of these things can be said simply and succinctly. And if you left the interview unsure of the hiring timeline, your last line can be, “Please let me know next steps or anything else I can provide to assist you during the process (or decision-making).” Or even better if this is worded as a question. Recruiter Richard Moy says that one candidate caught his attention after her interview when the last line of her thank-you note said this: Is there anything else I can forward along to make your hiring decision easier?
Page says after the two thank-you notes to follow up regularly until the final decision has been made. Make sure your check-ins add value, she advises, suggesting, “Perhaps the following week your e-mail includes a link to an article related to the role or the company and thoughtful commentary showing your wisdom in the industry or position and your awareness of the company and its place in the market.”
All communication you send should not be pushy but should express your interest and desire to work for the company and in this position. As Page points out, “Many large companies today have large recruiting machines with many layers.” The follow up communication is meant to keep you on the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.
Moy calls the follow up “an easy way to show the employer that you're a hard worker who has a sincere interest in joining this organization — and not someone who's just looking to find any old new job.”
Former professor Jill L. Ferguson is an award-winning author of seven books, including co-author of Raise Rules for Women: How to Make More Money at Work, and thousands of published articles. She is also an artist, business and higher education consultant, entrepreneur and founder of Women's Wellness Weekends.