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You just finished interviewing for a job and feel great about your prospects. You delivered intelligent answers with poise and confidence, displayed impeccable etiquette and established rapport with the interviewer. In other words, you nailed it. All that's left to do is go home, breathe a sigh of relief and wait for human resources to call with a job offer.
Wait -- that's not exactly where things end. Don't forget to show your enthusiasm -- and good manners -- by following up with a written or oral thank you. Why? According to a Robert Half International survey, 91 percent of managers believe it's helpful for job candidates to show their appreciation after an interview.
Here are six tips for following up with finesse:
1. Choose the right medium. Save the informal "thx!!" texts for your friends. The survey asked respondents to cite the most appropriate way for job seekers to express their gratitude. An email was the top response (87 percent), followed by a phone call (81 percent), handwritten note (38 percent) and social-media message (27 percent). Just 10 percent of those polled said sending a text message was acceptable.
2. Act fast. Time is of the essence. Touch base within 24 to 48 hours of your interview while the details of your conversation are still fresh in the hiring manager's mind.
3. Keep it concise. The more you say or write, the more opportunity there is to fumble. Limit your message to a highly focused and personalized paragraph or two or a few minutes on the phone. Reiterate your top selling points, mention what excited you most about the job and company, and offer your thanks for the opportunity to interview. Preparing some brief speaking points before making a call can help you stay on track while talking or leaving a voice mail.
4. Share the love. Employers today often involve various team members in the hiring process. If you interviewed with multiple people, follow up by phone with your main contact, but also send a thank-you email or card to every individual with whom you met. To help, think ahead and ask each person you meet for a business card when you're introduced. Make each message unique by referring to a specific point of discussion you found interesting.
5. Don't let grammar mistakes or typos derail your chances. Proofread thoroughly before sending your email or dropping your note in the mailbox. In fact, you might even ask a trusted friend or member of your professional network to double-check your work for errors. The last thing you want to do is raise questions about your attention to detail because of an easily avoidable faux pas.
6. Practice good penmanship. Believe it or not, many employers still like the personal touch of a handwritten thank-you note. Just make sure they can read it. If your handwriting is genuinely illegible, you can print something onto a note card or stationery and sign it. Also, don't skimp on the paper; buy good-quality business stationery or personalized note cards.
Finally, keep in mind that your efforts to show your interest and initiative can backfire if you go overboard. Regardless of how badly you want the job, don't be a nag. Follow up once and then back off. Badgering a prospective employer with repeated messages or calls won't help your cause. The hiring process can drag on for any number of reasons, so it pays to be polite and patient.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit www.roberthalf.com. For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series at www.roberthalf.com/dont-let-this-happen-to-you or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/roberthalf.
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