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Job Interviews -- How to Follow Up Effectively
By: Mary Brent

Getting a job is not just about your performance in an interview. The post-interview follow up you do has a critical role in a successful job hunt. Here’s how to do it effectively.

On the day of the interview or at most the next day, send a thank you note to each of the interviewers. Apart from saying that you’re keen to take up the job, mention two or three of your key strengths or skills that are directly useful for the position.

During the interview, you should find out how soon they plan to have a person in place. Ask “In what timeframe do you expect to make a decision?” That’ll give you an idea about how much time is involved.

Schedule your follow-up depending on this information. If the interviewer says they’ll make a decision in two to three months’ time, it makes no sense to follow up daily or even weekly.

Keep common sense in mind. If you were the interviewer, would you like to receive three calls a day from a candidate? You certainly won’t. On the other hand, don’t go to the other extreme and not follow up for a month either.

Follow up with the right person. That means, talk to the decision maker. If you’re following up with someone who’s got little influence over the hiring decision, you’re wasting your time.

Think about the kind of job and organization you’re targeting. Does the job demand aggression and initiative? If so, you may actually be required to follow up in a persistent manner before you’re extended a job offer.

Never sound passive or disinterested when following up. Don’t say, “I’m calling to see if you have made a decision” Project a proactive stance by asking something like “I’d like to let you know I’m very interested in the position. Is there anything I can do to help you with your decision?”

After a while, step back and see if the follow up is going on to the point of absurdity. If you’ve followed up for months with no results, it may be time to cut loose and move on to other opportunities.

Consider sending a polite but firm fax saying that you’ll need to have an answer either way so that you can pursue other opportunities. And that you’d appreciate an email or phone call to let you know where it stands.

If you have been rejected, make a conscious attempt to not take it personally. Hiring someone for a job involves many variables and you can’t control all of them. Instead, consider doing this.

If you’ve developed a good rapport with an interviewer, call and ask if he or she would be willing to share the reasons why you were not selected.

They won’t always tell you. But sometimes, they are willing to give you the real reasons. And that can be valuable feedback for you in your job search. Learn from them and move on.

About the author Mary Brent is an expert on job interviews and careers. Her numerous articles offer valuable interview tips, answers to common questions, ways to write effective follow up letters and more.

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