So you got the interview! Congratulations!
As discussed in Why Are Employer Not Calling Me Back? (Part 1), landing the interview is a crucial step that can put you in the top 10% of applicants. But what happens when you don't hear back after the interview? Here are some things we have experienced and heard about from family, friends, clients, hiring managers and recruiters.
Part 2 - After The Interview
The interview was a success! Or maybe it wasn't? It seems the longer it takes to hear back, the more you begin to doubt your success, even if they said it would take two weeks. While I have worked for companies that hire on the spot if they find the right candidate, other companies have a very specific procedure for interviewing and vetting candidates, including recording why they may not be chosen for the position. Additionally, some interviewers purposefully wait to see which candidates will follow-up to reiterate their interest in the position. Slick, but effective!
Hit and Run
The job market can be a tough place for organizations as much as it is for job seekers. After all the Association for Talent Development reported in 2012 United States employers spent over $164 billion dollars per year on organizational training alone! That means that companies are looking for employees that are engaged, motivated, reliable and serious about the job.
So what is one thing that displays your motivation and seriousness about this job? Say it will me now...Follow-up! Within 24-hours after the interview, we suggest sending at minimum a thank you email to all of the parties you interviewed with. Sending an email or thank you letter is a great way to reiterate your qualifications and perhaps bring up anything you may have missed. You know, from those moments driving home from an interview where you may think, "Oh I forgot to mention [insert incredibly important accomplishment and/or qualification that could make or break the interview]!"
But, please don't worry if you don't hear back from your thank-you letter or email right away or even at all. Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are often incredibly busy trying to find the right candidate, which means lining up interviews and reviewing resumes, plus their other day to day duties. The important thing is that they will remember it when it comes time to make a decision.
Another opportunity to follow-up is around one week after the interview has taken place if you have not heard anything yet. Of course, this can be flexible depending on when they plan to make a decision. For instance, if they tell you that the hiring manager is on vacation next week and they're making a decision the following week, don't follow-up while the hiring manager is on vacation. It may send a message that you were not paying attention to the small details and could come across as overly eager.
Remember in both situations to reiterate why you are the best fit for the job!
Did You Dress the Part?
You've probably heard it a million times, "Dress your professional best for the interview!" Well, we're here to tell you it's true - most of the time. Consideration should definitely be given to the type of job you are applying for. An interview for a Visual Merchandising position should not be met with the classic black suit, white shirt and no accessories rule, while an interview in a corporation may need to be. Sites such as Pinterest are great for ideas, but also research some best practice in the industry. Unfortunately, just about anyone can upload and repin all types of pictures, captions, and tags on Pinterest (including an interview outfit consisting of green cargo pants and some fresh Adidas!) so be careful.
Workplaces that consist of a business casual dress code can be met with the classic pantsuits, skirt and blazer or cardigans and a pop of color to show your personality. After all, with more and more team-driven workspaces, personality is an important aspect of potential candidates. Some workplaces even provide a guide on how to dress for the interview - FOLLOW IT. Seriously. While your personality is important, understanding what is expected and fulfilling those expectations can be more important in finding the perfect candidate. You will have plenty of chances to stand out during the interview and in your follow-up!
Keep in mind that looking your best goes beyond the attire and also includes your hairstyle and makeup choices (as applicable)! We'll be putting out some blogs on this very topic in the future!
Did You Do Your Homework?
I would say that in 95% of the interviews I have participated in, the interviewer will ask the candidate what they know about the company. After the candidate's answer, the interviewer will go on the clarify or reiterate what the candidate may have said. The reason employers do this is to see if you understand what the job may entail and they are trying to understand why you chose this job specifically.
While the truth may be that you applied to any job with the title "Administrative Assistant" within the last three weeks in a 20-mile radius, you deserve to have a job that you will be happy doing as well. Finding out what the company does and the direction it is moving in can tell you a lot about the type of company you may be working for and what is important to them. As a bonus, many companies are starting to include their employee benefits on their website to help bring on quality candidates. At a minimum, become familiarized with the product(s) or service(s) that the company offers and any recent large-scale changes or developments you can find. This will show the interviewer that you are prepared, organized and willing to do what it takes to land the job.
Were You Prepared?
Aside from any questions on the company, you will be asked series of questions on behavior, experience, and situations depending on the format of the interview, and you should be prepared to answer them all. Practicing some of the most frequently asked questions and your answers to them prior to the interview can allow you to feel confident from the moment you walk into the interview. You can do this with a family member or friend (or even Elarie!) to help you practice, and we suggest even multiple people if you can.
Aside from your A+ answers, you should also bring the following:
Hard copies of your most recent resume
A list of references or reference letters
Notepad & pen
A folder or briefcase for all of the above items
Having these items on hand show the interview that you are prepared for anything they may throw at you, including instructions on the next steps you need to take in the interview process. It also can demonstrate your organization skills (bonus!) for the interviewer.
So What Now?
While some of these tips can help you in the future, we cannot stress how crucial appropriate follow-up is after any step in the process, even if your interview already occurred!
If you go on an interview and do not get the job, we suggest asking for feedback. Although it is always an uncomfortable topic, it can help you greatly in the future! For example, one client was told that her answers were strong, but that it was evident she did not research the company very much prior to the interview. Knowing this now, one of her strongest interview tactics is researching the company prior to the interview. Keep in mind when you are given feedback that this is a growth opportunity and every employer is looking for different qualities. This is also not an opportunity to explain yourself or become defensive, while they may not have chosen you this time around, you could be considered for a position in the future.
So now that you have this information - it's time to ace those interviews and follow-up on your opportunities!