After the interview, follow up...it can be the game changer!
Back in the early 90's when I was in college, my advisors and professors spent hours upon hours with us on job preparation. We were taught the correct resume format, what content was to be included and that the structure should be a nice, clean professional document. I specifically remember having specialists and members of the community come in and provide us with examples of various things related to topics centered on proper interview etiquette, body language and correct posture during the interview. We were told that our facial expressions and mannerisms could significantly affect the outcome of the interview and they provided tips on how to avoid some of the common miscues during this process. We had been dressed for success by some of the finest professors at the school and by the time we actually got to the interview we were all like robots trying to remember all of these things that we had been taught. Once that interview was finished we were to do just one more step and the process was to be complete, besides the waiting game of finding out if in fact you did get the position. It was time for the follow up. Now at the time, some 20 plus years ago, the hand written note that our professors just mentioned during our studies of the job search process was the absolute best way to follow up with that prospective employer. Fast forward to 2016, and guess what is being taught as the best way to follow up after the interview? you guessed it, the hand written note. Have times not changed? This cant still be the most effective way to seal the deal. There wasn't a lot taught on this, what was the note to say? Was I supposed to get an answer to my note? How could I, everything I was coming up with to write on this note wasn't requiring anyone to respond to me. Was my note even reaching its intended person?
Some years ago I got a call from a great friend of mine, Kevin Hungate and he was working on a project that he wanted to run by me, being that I had been in the HR field for some time. The project he was working on was "The Art of the Follow Up". I thought finally, I have found someone else that had this same feeling of that hand written note. Kevin schooled me on all kinds of follow up techniques and he even wrote a book entitled, "I can start on Monday". I started incorporating some of these techniques and really concentrating on my follow up skills and came up with some things that started to work for me.
Engage the recruiter
I can almost tell you exactly what you will write to that recruiter after you have met them or interviewed with them. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday and providing more information regarding your organization. After speaking with you I am even more interested in opportunities with you organization and I do look forward to hearing from you. Now, there is nothing wrong with this but what this does not do is engage the recruiter or the hiring manager. If you were to change this a bit and have it say, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday and providing more information regarding your organization. After speaking with you, I was able to take a look at your website and I see you all are doing some wonderful things in education. I do have a couple more questions for you... Now, you have engaged the recruiter and you are continuing a conversation with that recruiter because you have asked them a question. This is an opportunity to further show why you would be a great fit for their organization and have one on one time with that recruiter.
Always attach your resume
Many recruiters, especially in the Education field have recruiting seasons. These seasons keeps us on the road, in hotels and living out of suitcases. The follow up "thank you" email can come at a time when we are on the road or in the hotel room. By always attaching the resume electronically to the email, it allows the recruiter to possibly forward your information should he/she get a request from Principal or hiring manager.
These are just a couple of tips on follow up after the interview or the initial meeting. Always look to be creative and try to find a common ground between you and the person. It could be where they are from or a favorite sports team that you share and mention those things in your follow up. Remember, recruiters see a lot of candidates during a recruiting season and having a light moment where someone mentions something that jars a memory can go a long way.
Jason E. Kennedy, MSL
Senior Administrator - HR Retention & Recruitment
Wake County Public School System