Now that you’ve finished your job interview and sent a nice thank-you note, you might think your work is finished–that all there’s left to do is wait.
Not quite. In fact, there are still a few ways you can influence a hiring manager to decide in your favor. Here are four of them.
One of the most awkward parts of the post-interview process is waiting for a response. You don’t want to come off as desperate by following up too many times, but companies are more prone to take their time if you don’t engage with them proactively.
Your first step should be figuring out the appropriate channels to reach out for updates–maybe the best contact is the HR associate who first contacted you, rather than the hiring manager you actually interviewed with. So before the interview ends, make sure to ask who best to follow up with and how.
Everybody has a preferred mode of communication; if they specify short emails to X person, don’t wait a week and then call person Y on the phone.
One easy way to differentiate yourself is to go beyond just saying, “Thanks for meeting with me.” You should remember what happened in the interview, and make a conscious effort to tease out exactly what pain points the employer is trying to solve.
If you were given sample problems during the interview that were geared toward a technical challenge or a question about bridging a disconnect between certain teams, you’ll want to make a note of it for later. Then, either in or after your thank-you note, send some well-considered thoughts on whatever those issues were that might’ve surfaced in your chat.
After all, an interview isn’t just a test, it’s a discussion. If you listen carefully to the questions presented to you and ask the right ones yourself, you’ll know exactly what problems the company is facing. Even after you’ve sent a thank-you note, there’s still a chance to share your thoughts on which solutions you’d pursue.
It’s not always easy for hiring managers to see exactly how your skill set can help their organization, especially when they’ve just met you. Some interviews may include sample problems that ask you to solve some of the real issues the company is facing, but not all of them do. So take it upon yourself to do that.
You can be proactive and use what you learned in the interview to decide how best to follow up. You don’t have to stop at sending them thoughts showing how carefully you listened–you can give them actual, tangible examples of the solutions they’re after.
Alexandra Franzen, writing for The Muse, was told that she didn’t have enough of a portfolio to get a job as a freelance copywriter. After the interview, the hiring manager said that she liked her spirit but suggested she was hesitant to make Franzen an offer. Having listened carefully throughout the interview, though, Franzen knew that a major project–a website redesign–was on the horizon. So she set to work.
Instead of accepting defeat, she recalls, Franzen sent 10 proposed headlines for the website banner, free of charge. This burst of initiative got her the job of doing the rest of the writing for the website–and the attention of a very busy employer.
Whatever job you’re applying for, you need to have some sort of portfolio you can point to in order to show the impact you can make. The interview is the best time to highlight that, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. If you’re astute and you ask the right questions, though, you can usually find a problem the company faces for which to propose a solution.
And there’s always something–that’s why they’re hiring in the first place! There’s often a data project out there that everybody would love to see get done, for instance, or a thorny issue that no one’s had the time to figure out.
So send them a plan for what you’d do, or just play with some of the data they’ve divulged so you can offer some solid insights into how you work. Showing some proactive initiative can go a long way to getting an offer.
If you’ve been building your network, you’ll have a handful of great references to share with your prospective employer. So the time after sending your thank-you note is the ideal time to let them know your interview went great, and that they may soon be hearing from someone inside the company.
Don’t forget: These people are your advocates. And particularly if someone internally has referred you for the job, check in once in a while. You can even see if they can mention how excited you’d be to work there. Hiring decisions are so often network-driven, and the strongest signal you can send to a potential employer is a network of people who are willing to go to bat for you.
After a job interview wraps and you reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, you may think that you’ve done all you can–you’ve made the case for yourself, and now it’s in their hands. But while that’s largely true, you can still control a little more than you think, and sometimes that home stretch can be decisive.
Roger Huang heads up growth and marketing at Springboard. He broke into a career in data by analyzing $700 million worth of sales for a major pharmaceutical company. Now he writes content that compiles insights from Springboard’s network of data experts to help others do the same.
This article is adapted with permission from The Ultimate Guide to Data Science Interviews.