Treat every interview like a sales call and close for the next step. Just like the ABC’s of selling (Always Be Closing), you should close and ask for the next step at the end of your interview. For example, if you go on a sales call and don’t close for the next step, more than likely you are not going to get the business. This philosophy is very applicable to interviewing.
Closing the hiring manager for the next step and following up after the interview is important to differentiating yourself from other candidates. After an interview you should always ask, “Do you have any hesitations about moving me forward in the process?”
This open ended question can reveal a lot about where you stand in the eyes of the interviewer. If they say no, then politely ask to schedule the next step. If they say yes, have the interviewer explain all hesitations, which should give you the opportunity to overcome them.
Once you have responded to each point, go for the close and ask for the next step. Once the next step is explained, thank the interviewer for their time and be on your way. Now that the interview is over and the next step is clear be sure to follow-up that day with a thank you.
Even though the interview went well and you closed for the next step, it is very important to follow-up with a voicemail, letter, or an e-mail to thank them for their time. Sending a thank you follow-up will give you another opportunity to get your name in front of the employer, confirm your next step, show your enthusiasm for the job, and address any possible concerns. Here are a few tips to take into consideration when following up:
- Communicate in the appropriate medium: Hand written letters are always best if possible (do not use US Mail). Bring a thank you card to your interview and on your way out drop it by reception. Make sure you have appropriate spelling of names and positions on the card. If you cannot leave a thank you card, follow-up immediately with an e-mail or leave a voicemail.
- Keep the thank you short: Keep the letter short and to the point. Make sure you thank them for their interest, time, and the opportunity for the next step. Also, briefly remind them why you are the best person for the job, but be careful not to sound desperate.
- Use spell check: Make sure you have correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Do not send a letter or e-mail before you have a chance to get it proofed or run it through spell check. Also, make sure you have the correct spelling of names before you send the letter.
- Be persistent: If you are asked to follow-up, make sure you call until the next step has been set. However, remember there is a fine line between being persistent and a pest. A good strategy is to leave a voicemail and then follow-up immediately with an e-mail. This will give them a couple of options to respond.
- Be patient: Some interview processes can be 3 to 4 weeks long. Make sure you understand the timeline and respect the process that has been put in place. Do not apply to much pressure if the timeline is out of the hiring manager’s hands.
- Use other offers: Use other offers in your follow-up to get the next step. This is a delicate situation that needs to be handled with tact, but can increase the chances of getting the process moving. Let your interviewer know that you have outstanding offers, but you really feel that this position is the best fit and would like to see it through before you make a decision (see Counter-Offer Section).
Good luck on your next interview and remember to Always Be Closing and Following up!