This scenario represents how many job seekers misstep in the interview process. They begin doing everything right, like researching the company and preparing questions in advance. They make a great first impression and dazzle recruiters and hiring managers with their knowledge and ideas. But too often they fail to finish strong, because they underestimate the importance of following up after their interviews.
"Potential employers will be influenced and continually impressed not only by what you did, but what you continue to do, which is why it's imperative to take action immediately after an interview is over to stay on contacts' radar screens. It's your job to sustain their enthusiasm for you over time,"says Molly Fletcher, author of "Your Dream Job Game Plan."
Below are four post-interview steps she believes are vital for scoring an interview victory:
1. Write notes immediately after the interview
Reflect on your observations, impressions and conversations throughout the interview. Jot down any information that may be valuable for when you write a thank-you note to your interviewer, move on to the next interview round or start the job.
Key pieces of information include recent projects, professional organizations, industry events, upcoming conferences and company-wide meetings. You'll want to remember personal things about the interviewer too, such as any pet peeves or hobbies she might have mentioned.
2. Send an e-mail to say "thank you" as soon as you can
Be professional throughout your e-mail and mention some specific points from the interview that you noted to demonstrate that you were interested and listening. Answer any questions or issues that may have been left unresolved.
3. Follow up with a handwritten thank-you note, too
Within 24 hours of the interview, snail-mail a personal thank-you note. This extra, personal touch is something many other job seekers are unlikely to do and gives you another opportunity to stay in the minds of interviewers through very little effort.
4. Follow up with any referrals you were given
During the interview, you may be encouraged to reach out to other people or organizations who the interviewer believes might interest you. If so, contact these people in a timely manner to demonstrate that you are fearless, passionate and serious about moving your career forward.
"This follow-up process will not only help you track your action steps, but will also efficiently and effectively develop your relationships with people who can connect you to great job opportunities," Fletcher says.
Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog (jistjobsearchandcareer.blogspot.com).