***Article 3 of 3. After the Interview. This series is specifically for those who are either new to the workforce (teens and college students) or are returning to the workforce (stay-at-home parents) after having a significant period of time off. But even if you don’t fall into this category, you should find these tips for interviewing helpful all the same.***
Here’s what you’re probably thinking right now.
Strong eye contact. Check!
Killer, professional-looking outfit. Check!
Hand gestures under control. Check!
Good answers for all the questions. Check!
Whew! So glad I am done with that!
Whoa there slick. Not so fast! All of that prep time and smooth talking isn’t going to matter one bit if you blow it by thinking you’re actually done after answering that last question. Do not let your guard down, I don’t care how nice the interviewer is being right now. Because guess what? You ain’t done yet! Not by a long shot. Here are two very important final steps you have yet to complete. And if you don’t do well in these final steps, you probably shouldn’t have even bothered showing up for the interview in the first place.
1. Do You Have Any Questions for Me? – Just about every single interviewer wraps up the interview with this question. If you want a fast way to completely erase all of the great progress you’ve made so far, then answer this final question with a simple, “No.” Translation? “I really have no interest in this job or what goes on here outside of getting a paycheck.” Congratulations! You just earned your place in the “Do Not Hire” column! To avoid having your name thrown into the recycling bin, take heed. I’ve compiled some simple questions and translations below.
Avoid asking any of the following:
If your goal is to NOT get the job, then you will absolutely succeed by asking those types of questions. Not to mention, you came here to get a job, but don’t you want to know if this is even a good place to work? Don’t you want to know if this is a good fit for you? That’s right. It’s your turn to ask the questions that will help you decided if this is a place where you want to come to work every day. You are much better off asking questions like these:
Of course there are many more questions you can and should ask before you wrap it up. Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes writer, offers even more examples in her article, "30 Questions You Should and Should Not Ask in a Job Interview." The bottom line, don’t stop here! Keep doing your homework!
2. Give Thanks – Yeah, of course it’s important to shake hands and make good eye contact and smile and all that jazz at the very end of the interview. But ending with a solid “Thank you for your time” is not what I’m talking about here. This is more about follow-up. Don’t think of this as a check-the-box exercise like sending out a thank-you note for the fruit cake you got from Aunt Mona over the holidays. Think of this more as an extension of the interview itself. This is an important distinction. I don’t call them “thank-you” notes. I call them “follow-up” notes.
Now, depending on who you ask, some experts will tell you to send your thanks via email to the interviewer. Others, will recommend that you send a typed-letter via snail-mail. What’s the difference? Really, the difference is all a formality. So, take your cue from the type of company and the experience of the interview itself. For example, is the company’s culture less formal? Did the manager contact you and set up the interview mainly by using email? Or did you get a more formal invitation either by letter or perhaps even by a phone call from an administrative assistant? Simply mirror the formality of the follow-up letter based on what you experienced. A less formal environment and manager will probably expect an email. A more formal manager will probably be more appreciative of a typed letter.
Regardless if you decide to send an email or a typed letter, every follow-up should be tailored to the audience who will be reading it. In order to tailor your message, make sure to include the following in each letter:
Oh, and don’t forget the support staff. Perhaps the administrative assistant worked with you to set up the interview day and time, or an employee gave you a tour of the facilities, or a group took you out to lunch as a part of the interview. In these instances it’s entirely appropriate to send a handwritten “thank-you” note or card. Not only will they appreciate the sentiment, but it doesn’t hurt to have them in your court when it comes down to decision time for the boss.
Jennifer Furlong has 25 years’ experience in the communication field and teaches communication and public speaking courses in the Savannah area. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. She currently resides in Richmond Hill, Ga. with her family of canines, felines, and humans. Let's be social! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. Just look for Professor SpeechLady. See you in cyberspace.
Get my new book available on Amazon!