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Following Up After an Interview

By Matt Lowney

Job seekers should make a point to follow up in the application and interview process two times.  The first is after you submit your resume and the second is after you interview.  Most candidates feel like they are being pushy or intrusive if they follow up, but if done correctly this follow up can solidify you getting the job.

After you submit your resume
Depending on the type of position for which you are applying, dozens of other people have probably submitted their resumes as well.  For this reason, I suggest you wait about 2 days before following up with a phone call.  This rule holds especially true if you are responding to a job posting in Sunday's newspaper.  For most hiring managers Mondays and Fridays are their busiest days of the week.  Usually they will set aside time to look all resumes starting Monday afternoon.  As a result, you should hold off until some time after noon on Tuesday with your follow up phone call.  How you handle this contact can go a long way in determining your chances of getting the job.  In my experience, most candidates call and say something like, “I just wanted to make sure you received my resume.”  Often this statement is met with “I did, we'll touch base with you if we're interested.”  This exchange can happen literally dozens of times in a day, so as a candidate you've done nothing to set yourself apart. 
I suggest that you start by saying something along the lines of: “My name is Pete Smith and I noticed your need in the newspaper for a sales manager.  I have 5 years of sales experience and 2 years managing a successful sales team.  I expect you've received several resumes for this position, but I wanted to see if we could set up a time we can meet.” 
In this statement, you've accomplished several things.  First you've set yourself apart by not asking the same mundane question that every other candidate has and you've also provided the hiring manager with a reason to go through her pile of resumes to find yours.  Often the manager will set up an interview right then, or call you back once she's had a chance to compare applicants.  Either way, you've accomplished your goal.

After the interview.
After an interview most candidates wait for a return phone call because they don't want to appear too pushy or desperate.  Once again, if handled correctly a follow up phone call can provide a tremendous opportunity to improve your chances of getting the job.  Most job seekers follow up by saying; “I wanted to touch base with you again about the position, and to see if you have any additional questions.”  This follow up is way too common and does nothing to excite the hiring manager. 
Instead you should say something like; “My name is Pete Smith and I interviewed for the sales manager position on Thursday.  What is the next step in the interview process?  I'm very interested in the position and think I would be a great fit.”  In sales this is called an assumptive close and you should approach the interview process as a sales situation.  You are selling an employer on your skills and abilities.  In one brief statement, you've let the manager know you are interested in the position and whether they are still interested in you.

Matt Lowney is a corporate recruiter and career consultant specializing in the areas of healthcare and information technology.  He can be reached at mlowney@advantageplacement.com for additional information about his services.