You’ve just interviewed for your dream job.
You sent a nice interview follow-up letter and now you’re waiting to hear back. And nothing.
Let’s rewind this scenario all the way to the interview and replay it.
Think of an interview as your fact finding crusade.
If you approach an interview primarily as a forum to showcase your accomplishments and capabilities, you’re mistaken. If you’re overly focused on pushing out information about yourself during the interview and remain in ‘sell’ mode only, you will miss an opportunity to tease out what really matters to your future bosses and teammates. Interviews should be a balance of listening and picking up clues about the company’s challenges, as well as selling yourself as an attractive candidate.
Be an active listener during any job interview (phone or face-to-face).
During an interview listen actively to hear what are the good, bad and ugly things that keep your future managers awake at night. Try to note what you’re asked, and by whom. Ask insightful questions of each interviewer that will give you glimmers into the inner workings of the company.
The initial follow-up letter—getting it right.
Did you know that interviewers sometimes share candidates’ follow-up letters? This is done to track the candidate “dialog” and build a shared view of candidates for a specific job. Your initial follow-up letter needs to:
- Be an original thank you to each person you spoke with.
- Address the unique elements that defined these discussions.
- Play back what you heard in a well-structured and thoughtful way.
- Suggest how you could approach the company’s different challenges given the opportunity.
While your follow up letter won’t guarantee you an offer, it will help you keep the communication channels open and keep you forefront and center in the hiring cycle for the position
A few days pass. A week passes. Nothing. You are not sure whether to follow-up and inquire about the status of your candidacy, or to play cool.
If, you’re confronted with radio silence after a time, do NOT play it cool. Write.
Write to the most senior person you interviewed with to follow up on your candidacy. Reference your prior follow-up letter. How you follow-up at this critical juncture will make all the difference. This is your chance to sell yourself again. What to include?
- Mention a recent article or development that is relevant to the interviewer or company, or expands upon your initial follow-up email.
- Tell them something new that makes you an even more relevant candidate.
- Keep the tone light and engaging.
You have more to lose by not keeping a respectful and engaging dialog going, than you have to lose by writing. So, when the silence is deafening, write. Mindfully. It is your chance to stand out from a crowd of candidates.