Follow Up After a First Job Interview
You applied for a role, earned an interview with a recruiter, set an interview with the company, and prepared for it. After you've completed the interview, you are left to wait and wonder whether you'll be moving on through the hiring process.
If you thought everything went well and this is a role you want with a company you want to join, don't let the conversation stop after they say they'll be in touch. You have to be your own advocate in your career path. There are a few ways to follow up without seeming overly eager or pushy.
Send a Thank You Email to the Interviewers
The question of whether or not thank you emails following an interview is a thing of the past remains a matter of opinion. In this candidate-driven talent market it could be argued that to do so is a waste of time. Your personal brand as an interviewee matters, and sending an email after the interview is a good use of your time, resources, and energy.
Here are a few things to include in the email:
- Thank them for meeting with you
- Reference something that was said which you found interesting
- Tell them something you learned during your conversation
- Drive home why this role is a good fit for your skill sets
- Articulate why you are a good fit for this company
- Offer to answer any more questions
- Provide your contact information (yes, it's in your resume)
- Thank them again
Make sure to reply to the most recent correspondence with the interviewers if there is any, rather than composing a new email thread. It will show up in their inbox as a new reply and remain linked to the rest of the communications. If there were no previous communications with the hiring managers, ask your recruiter to send it along on your behalf.
Give yourself time to review the draft and revise it later, you will want to send it within a day of the interview. To send it too quickly may give the impression that you did not spend the time to reflect on this particular opportunity.
Email Your Interview Feedback to Your Recruiter
Your recruiter is working hard to provide the best candidates on the job market to their clients. They will likely want to reach out to you to find out how the interview went from your perspective. The trouble is that in this day and age, it can be difficult for both recruiter and candidate to connect at the same time. It is important to stand out from the crowd to your recruiter, just as it is important to do so with the hiring managers.
Give them the insight they need to evaluate how good the match was. Within a few days of your interview, reply to the last email in your correspondence and provide your feedback. Tell them what you liked about the company, why you think this could be a great fit, and ask for next steps in the process. Offering written communication is beneficial in that it can be forwarded, saved, and applied to notes in the recruiters' ATS systems. In short, you will have greater control over the impression the company has of you.
Most importantly, thank them for their part in setting up the interview. Yes, it's their job, but a little appreciation goes a long way in establishing yourself as a top candidate.
For more on managing your relationship with recruiters, read our recent article "What Does a Recruiter Look For in Tech Talent?"
Connect with Hiring Managers on LinkedIn
The interview process does not necessarily have to be the only dynamic to a relationship between you and the company. Especially in the tech industry, you never know who might be a beneficial add to your ecosystem. An interview is a good occasion to add to your network or ecosystem without the recipient wondering why you are sending the request.
Sending a simple LinkedIn connection request is a non-pushy way to get... connected. In fact, it frequently shows initiative and the potential for long-lasting value. At minimum it offers an opportunity to remain top of mind for the hiring managers. If you get the job, it likely will have little to do with whether or not you are connected. If you do not, for whatever reason, you will have gained a new member of your network.
One caveat, do not use this connection to follow up with your interviewers regarding the job search process. Keep the social media channels, social. Keep the hiring conversation limited to professionals channels.
"Throughout my career I've connected with thousands of people across the globe from all walks of life. You never know when a connection with someone in your industry will come in handy." - Drew Evans, Senior Director of Computer Futures.
If You Don't Get the Job
It can be so easy to become disheartened when you are not selected to move forward in the interview process. If a company decided to move forward with another candidate, there could be a million reasons and few of them may have to do with you. Remember, the decision is seldom ever personal. Accept the decision as a professional, and take care not to create any negative feelings with the company so as to keep yourself in good standing for future roles.
It is generally acceptable and sometimes encouraged to ask for feedback from your recruiter on the company's decision. Whether it was your unassailable competition, the role's requirement having changed, or perhaps something less than ideal in your interview process, the feedback is objective and can only serve to help you grow as a professional. Listen non-defensively and receive the gift of their feedback with grace and appreciation.
- Send a thank you email to the hiring managers and interviewers. Rather than lose a position to someone who did send one, make the extra effort for your career.
- Treat the relationship with your recruiter with the same respect and appreciation you would show a hiring manger.
- Connect with your interviewers on LinkedIn like you would any other connection in your industry.
- Take a decision not to move forward with you professionally and positively.
- Ask for feedback and listen to what the responder has to say.
- For a bonus: do not stop your job search process during the holidays. Companies are preparing their proposed lineup for their 2022 teams now. Even if you may not be able to start until January, optimize yourself now to offset the slow moving holiday season.