Post-Interview Wait-a-thon

A client this week lamented on the lack of post-interview manners (on the part of recruiters, alas!). Like being ignored after a date that "seemed to go well but who really knows because s/he hasn't called and it's been a week," being ignored after an interview feels awful, especially if you felt it went well.

The parallels between dating and job hunting are interesting. You put your best face on for both, you stick to safe subjects (maybe no religion or politics on the first date/interview), and then you wait.  A recent Globe Careers article, "Interviewed for a job? Prepare to wait" speaks to the hoops job hunters must be prepared to jump through in today's recruitment process. One line in particular jumped out at me: "... following up within 24 to 48 hours remains critical. Write a personal e-mail to each interviewer, keeping in mind that they may compare notes."

Yup! I agree. To capitalize on the opportunity to pen a potentially tie-breaking email wait until after the interview to see if there's a specific topic or question that requires clarification or amplification. (I had a client who admitted to snail mailing thank you notes BEFORE her interview, hence this clarification on the timing.)

When clients ask for my input, I offer the following ideas:

- a short but specific email is preferred to a generic, cliche-ridden one. Skip the reference to "insightful questions" in favour of "wow, I loved the question about how I handled a Help Desk disaster, and after thinking about it on my way home, it reminded me about the time I ..." You can see how this approach allows you to add valuable info that provides insight into your skills, knowledge, and value in this new position.

- write a separate email to the HR rep and the hiring manager. Each has a different agenda or "buying motivator," and thus your email message to each may differ.

- whenever you're writing a message that you want to be influential, you must account for the recipient's "buying motivator." (Google that! Business buying motivators usually relate to the bottom line: saving money, earning money, saving reputation, earning reputation, etc.)

And if and when they compare emails, rather than identical content, they will have messages that although customized to each reader, build trust by building your brand, reinforcing the overriding message that you are a great recruit.

Marie Burns of TalentAmp of Boston, the recruiter who in this article voiced the opinion of writing emails within a 2-day period, went on to say: "not writing a thank you can lose you the job."

Powerful reason to make the post-interview thank you email a routine in your job search strategy.