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This is the best way to follow up after an interview to stand out

The wait-and-see approach can totally backfire. Here are the things to do after you nail the job interview to improve your chances of getting an offer.

This is the best way to follow up after an interview to stand out
[Photo: rawpixel.com /Unsplash]

The interview went well and you left feeling optimistic about the potential of getting an offer. If you’re like the majority of job seekers, you’ll take a wait-and-see attitude, checking your email and keeping your fingers crossed. This can be a mistake.

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“Just because interview is over doesn’t mean you should stop,” says Helen Oloroso, assistant dean and director of the McCormick Office of Career Development at Northwestern University. “Following up is an important part of the process.”

So what should you do next?

Send a thank-you note

A thank-you note is the single strongest thing you can do, says Oloroso. “If you find out during the interview that the hiring timeline is several weeks away, pop a thank-you note in the mail right away,” she says.

It could pay off–literally. A recent report from iCIMS found that only 26% of entry-level job candidates typically send a thank-you note after a job interview. If you miss this step, you could be leaving money on the table; 63% of recruiters say they would be more likely to hire someone who wanted slightly more money and sent a thank-you note than someone who wanted slightly less money but did not send a thank-you note.

The note should focus on three objectives: thanking each person for his or her time, explaining why this is a perfect-fit role, and asking how you can be helpful in the interim, says Keca Ward, senior director of talent acquisition at the talent relationship marketing platform Phenom People.

“Underlay the note with personalization,” she says. “Mention a moment in the conversation that adds personality and highlights that you were listening.”

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And don’t be afraid to get creative. “One of my recruiters was once sent a chocolate foot with a note saying, ‘Would love to get a foot in the door,'” says Ward. “Ideas like this leave a lasting impression and are a great way to stand out.”

Or an email

“If a decision is imminent and they’re saying you are the last candidate before they make decision, a card may not reach the person in time, so sending an email is more important,” say Oloroso.

Make sure an email is customized to each interviewer, says Katie Barnes, director of people operations at Bankers Healthcare Group, a company that offers financing solutions for healthcare professionals.

“We receive a lot of thank-you emails from candidates, which is great; however, most of the time they are pretty standard and the candidate sends the same email to everyone who interviewed or they will send one email and ask that we pass it on to the rest of the team,” she says. “When each person who interviews a candidate receives a personal email thanking them for their time, along with specifics on how they feel they would be a great fit or how they could move the needle at our organization, it always catches our attention.”

Check in

If you don’t hear anything after your interview, it’s acceptable to check in, says Oloroso. But be sure to ask for a timeline of the hiring decision before you leave the interview.

“You need to develop sensitivity as to how frequently to reach back out to check on the status of your application,” she says. “I’ve had candidates who check in every day or couple days and that’s too much. The hiring manager can begin to form negative impression, and reaching out too frequently can backfire. There’s a fine line between being needy and desperate and engaged and interested.”

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Use the check-in to restate your interest in the position. “You can say, ‘This job is appealing to me because of the opportunity to work with a great team or to do important work,'” says Oloroso. “Until an offer is on the table, your focus should be on what you can do for the company.”

Continue to network

Keep networking after the interview, says Oloroso. “You can ask for informational interviews with other people in the company,” she suggests. “And continue to gather information. If you’re invited back for round two or three of the interview process, you’ll have something more meaningful or deep to say as result of networking, and that will distinguish you from the other candidates.”

Oloroso suggests learning about the job, the company, and the industry. “Have 12 questions ready,” she suggests. “Three or four should be on the job; others should be on the unit, company, and industry.”

But use caution connecting on LinkedIn

You might consider connecting on LinkedIn, but you might want to wait, advises Shelley Osborne, head of learning and development at the online learning platform Udemy.

“It may seem innocuous enough, but as a hiring manager it could feel as though it’s crossing some boundary,” she says. “If you’re successful and land the role, you will likely connect anyway, so why not wait? If you aren’t the candidate selected, this could feel invasive. If the interviewer requests to connect with you, they likely want to know more about you and potentially keep you in mind for future roles as well.”

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