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How Do I Follow Up After I’ve Had a Job Interview?

How Do I Follow Up After I’ve Had a Job Interview?

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By Dr. Alexandra McDermott Wilcox
Faculty Member, School of Business at American Public University

Third in a series, Ask the Experts: Interview with Senior Director of Top 25 Forbes Global 2000 company.

The interview participant asked not to be identified so as to speak candidly. Throughout his career, he has served in various corporate roles from president to general counsel. In those capacities, he has interviewed and hired hundreds of employees and now shares with our readers how they can best position themselves to land the job of their dreams.

Question: Let’s turn our attention now to the post-interview process. What advice can you give to candidates who want to improve certain answers from the job interview? Should they call attention to mistakes or move forward?

Answer: There’s never a need to alter your answers if you’ve practiced what you want to say. So, practice. And practice some more. Absolutely avoid calling attention to your mistake. It may make you look even less organized and prepared.

Question: What do you expect job candidates to do after you interview them?

Answer: Don’t be one of those people who does NOT follow up. An email is fine. And spell my name correctly. A handwritten letter using a stamp – yes, it will set you back almost $0.50 – leaves a lasting impression. And it never hurts to go back to the same contacts you used to help you find out about the company or interviewer, to get some information about the interview and to reiterate how good of a fit you think you are.

Question: When you extend a job offer to a candidate, do you expect to engage in negotiations? What negotiations are appropriate and what negotiations do you consider inappropriate?

Answer: I primarily hire sales people. So if there’s no negotiation, I immediately question if I’ve hired the right person. But everything should be done in moderation. So it’s incumbent upon you, the job candidate, to carefully watch the tenor of the negotiations and know when to accept or reject the offer. Try to stay away from things you know are not going to happen. Recall your research about the company and understand the company deal breakers. These could be health coverage, vacation time or your title. You should have a bottom line and commit to it.

Question: We talked about résumés and interview deal breakers. Do you have any post-interview deal breakers?

Answer: Follow up. If you don’t follow up, you are telling me you don’t want the job. 

Question: What should a job candidate do after she accepts the job offer with your organization?

Answer: Show up. The worst thing a candidate can do for her industry reputation is to interview, negotiate, accept and then rescind the acceptance. If you are not serious about leaving your current employer and not serious about working for the new company, don’t waste anyone’s time. Understand your professional goal, and make sure that leaving or staying helps you achieve that goal.

In Summary, Here Are the Top Three Things You Can Do to Land the Job After the Interview

1. Follow up. A personal email or a handwritten letter demonstrates you care about the position.

2. Practice answers before the interview to eliminate the need for changes later.

3. Have a bottom line, but know the limits of your negotiation.

About the Author

Dr. Alexandra McDermott Wilcox has 20 years of professional business experience as an executive, attorney and entrepreneur. Alexandra has earned a Juris Doctor, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Global Executive Doctor of Education and a B.A. in English Literature. She has authored many published articles covering business and employment topics, as well as poems in a variety of literary journals.

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