This article is part of our 52 week journey through Bill’s latest book, “The Graduate’s Guide to Life and Money.” Each week, a full excerpt from his book will be presented from beginning to end. To get your copy of his book, visit www.TheGraduatesGuide.com.
Last week we looked at some sample interview questions, including illegal ones. Also, the four types of questions to NEVER ask during your interview. This week we will wrap up this section as we look at the one thing you MUST do after your interview. I have even included a sample of what it should look like.
After the interview is over, you probably just want to go home and relax. Sorry. You’re still not done. Now you get to go home and write your follow-up letter. This letter provides you the chance to thank the interviewer for his or her time. If you interviewed with more than one person you should write a follow-up letter to each one.
If you were paying close attention during the interview (or if you were taking notes), you may have noticed one or two particular concerns from each interviewer. You could address these concerns in your letter. For instance, if you heard, “Well, your grades look great, but you don’t have a lot of experience,” find a way to address that issue, such as mentioning your internship or how well you learn new things, and give an example.
The follow-up letter should be professional and polite. Keep it short and to the point. Its purpose is to show you are professional, address any last minute concerns, and most importantly, to remind the interviewer who you are. If the decision comes down to two or three close choices for the job, the one who sends a professional follow-up letter will most likely get the position.
If you have not heard back from the interviewer for several days, you may want to make a follow-up telephone call. Simply remind the person who you are, “This is Anita Jobb. I interviewed with your company last Friday for the network programmer position.” Next, tell them why you are calling, “I was calling to see if the position has been filled, or if there is any other information you may need from me.” If the position was filled, you will be presenting yet another professional image of yourself. If something else opens up in the future, you may be remembered. If the position is still open, a professional phone call may be all it takes to show the interviewer you are the right person for the job.
If you do not get the job, be prepared to move on. Any form of rejection is difficult to handle. Just remember they were not rejecting you as a person, but something else such as your amount of experience or lack thereof. It’s also possible the interviewer was just having a bad day when you interviewed or doesn’t like your alma mater.
Anyway, don’t be bitter. Another job with the same company may open up in the future. In some instances, where there is an interview committee, one or two of the members may have been really impressed by you, and they may still contact you in the near future if another opening becomes available in their department. If not, go to the next interview with the assumption this next company is the one that is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet you. Just don’t tell them that.
After several interviews, if you still do not have any luck, you may want to take another look at your interviewing skills. Not getting a job doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad interviewer. However, it never hurts to have someone else take a look. Your career center at college may be willing to help you, even if you have already graduated. If not, get a relative to do a mock interview. You could even record the session to see how you present yourself and to listen to your voice. You should sit tall and still, but not stiff. Some hand movement is allowed, but don’t start knocking things off the interviewer’s desk while talking.
In the end, you just have to keep trying until you find the right job. Good luck on your pursuit to find the perfect career!
Sample Follow-Up Letter
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with you for an interview for the economist position last Thursday, November 10th. I am excited about the possibility of working for your company.
As mentioned in my interview, I will be graduating from The University of Maryland in May with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
During the interview, you expressed some concern over my inexperience in the field of economics. While I have not been working full-time as a student, I did gain three months’ experience as an intern for X-Stat where I was able to perform some economic forecasting. In addition, my overall academic achievements, especially in economics, demonstrate my ability to learn quickly and accomplish what is required to succeed.
If given the opportunity to work for your company, I will be able to use the experiences gained at X-Stat, as well as my knowledge of current economic modeling to help your company remain at the top of the industry.
If you have any additional questions for me, I can be reached at (301) 555-5555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
1. Make sure you have an outfit appropriate for the interview. If you do not, get one or ask your parents for a little help.
2. Review the interview questions. Formulate your own answers to the questions and write them down so you can review before each interview. (But please do not take your notes into the interview with you.)
3. Do a mock interview. Either have a friend or family member perform the interview, or practice in front of the mirror. Trust me, if you can keep a straight face while interviewing yourself in front of a mirror, you’re ready.