Many remote jobseekers are fully focused on getting that all-important interview. This is where you really have an opportunity to show your stuff, so to speak, whether it’s by phone, video call, or in-person. Maybe you thought you killed it, or maybe not. But what happens now? In this article, we share advice on job interview follow-up when you have interviewed for a remote position.
Job Interview Follow-Up: The Dos and Don’ts for Remote Jobseekers
You went to all that work. You rewrote your resume (or had it professionally rewritten), carefully crafted your cover letter, and diligently applied for your dream telecommute positions. All your hard work paid off and you were rewarded with an interview. Job done. Or is it?
As a remote jobseeker, interviews may take many forms including telephone, video, and conference calls. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how well you did, especially if you are not familiar with giving remote interviews or proficient at using specific technology chosen by an employer. As the days tick by, you may wonder if you missed out on an opportunity to create a better impression. So what do you do now?
Should you send an email? Try calling? Has it been long enough? Will the employer think you are a pest? According to Forbes’ Daily Muse, you should find out the answers to these questions before the interview is concluded; therefore, your first “Do” is:
DO: Ask what the next steps are at the end of your interview.
This question not only indicates your continued interest in the position but also provides you with information regarding the company’s hiring processes and timeline. Information like this is invaluable when determining how and when to do your job interview follow-up. For example, if the employer suggests they will make their decision the following week and you haven’t heard from them, then you are free to contact them for information.
You can also obtain information regarding how to best to reach them—typically by phone or email—and sometimes who is best to contact if your interview involves more than one person. By catering to employer preferences, you will increase your chances of receiving a response.
Another way to increase your likelihood of receiving a response is to create logical reasons to conduct a job interview follow-up. These reasons are sometimes built into the interview process; for example, an employer may request a list of references. Other times, you might find opportunities during the interview to create a reason, such as forwarding an interesting and relevant article you have read.
Remember that even if you are not selected for the position, this doesn’t mean you can’t add a valuable contact to your professional network. This brings us to our second “Do” which is designed to create goodwill with your interviewer:
DO: Send a thank you letter as your first job interview follow-up.
Most experts agree that sending a thank you letter should be one of the first things you do after concluding an interview. There are several reasons for this, first and foremost, it shows good manners and that you appreciate their time. Second, it again shows your continued interest in the position. Third (or should this be first?), it might make you more money. According to an iCIMs 2018 study, 63% of recruiters say they would be more likely to hire someone who wanted slightly more money and sent a thank-you note, than some who requested slightly less money and didn’t send a note. Anecdotal evidence also shows that it may even overcome an unfavorable first impression or other problems arising from the interview.
Remote interviews make sending thank-you letters even easier as you don’t need to change rooms to start work. Since, as a job seeker looking for telecommute positions, your position will most likely be reliant on computer technology, sending a thank you letter via email is a perfectly acceptable form of job interview follow-up.
Depending on whether the corporate culture tends toward being more formal or more casual, you may wish to create a letter as an attachment to an email as opposed to including the thank you in the body of the email itself. In either case, make sure to send off your thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.
Having said that email is an acceptable form of thank you letter, you may still want to consider a handwritten option, especially if you are interviewed in person. It stands out as a more unique and thoughtful response. Even job searches on a tight timeline can benefit from a handwritten thank-you when you drop a card with the receptionist before you leave the building. For remote job interviews, handwritten notes are only an option if time permits and should be mailed that day regardless so that it arrives before the interviewer has an opportunity to forget who you are.
However you decide to send your job interview follow-up thank you, it is important to be concise and to the point. So the first “Don’t” is…
DON’T: Make your thank you letter too long or complicated.
The purpose of the thank you letter is just to touch base and remind the interviewer who you are, what your strengths are, and most importantly, to foster their goodwill. When you go out of your way to be considerate of another, it is a natural human reaction for them to want to go out of their way and be helpful to you. You don’t want to mess that up by going on and on.
The most effective thank you letters will be very short. Handwritten versions needn’t be more than three to five sentences and typed letters should not be more than three short paragraphs. The first sentence or paragraph should focus on thanking the interviewer for their time. This is a good time to mention something you had in common or enjoyed learning about them, “Talking with you about your time in Washington D.C. really brought back some fond memories…”
The second sentence or paragraph should focus on what you brought away from the interview as your strengths for this specific position, “The IT migration project you have coming up sounds very similar to the project I mentioned completing in my previous position.”
The third and concluding sentence or paragraph should re-emphasize your interest in the position and sum up your understanding of the next steps. “After our conversation today I am even more interested in this position. I look forward to hearing from you following your committee meeting next week.”
As you can see, the last sentence of the thank you letter sets you up for your next job interview follow-up communication should it become necessary.
DO: Send a follow-up email if you don’t hear back within the established time frame.
Many times, job interview follow-up does not end after the thank you letter. Everyone is busy and even the most anticipated new hire can end up taking a back burner to more pressing matters. When you follow up will depend on the information you gathered regarding the hiring process during your interview. Hopefully they have provided you with a time frame within which they expected to contact you. After this amount of time, it is OK to send a follow-up. If no time frame was provided, most experts feel that 2 weeks is a good time to wait before a job interview follow-up.
Email is usually going to be the best method for your second job interview follow-up. In the age of the robocall, many busy professionals screen all of their calls and you may be forced to leave a message if you try and telephone. If you’re not the greatest at leaving phone messages, then email is a much better way to communicate as you will have time to present your thoughts clearly.
Regarding the content, make your text short and concise—do not overcomplicate your job interview follow-up email. Make reference to yourself and the interview date, the job title and any other identifying information regarding the position. Reiterate your interest in the position and politely ask for an update.
Don’t forget you are still selling yourself for the position! Include a reminder and reference as to why you are a good fit. Also, make sure that your subject line is specific and compelling enough to get opened, especially if you do not have a previous email chain to respond to.
There are exceptions to the email rule, and the form that your job interview follow-up communication takes may depend on the corporate culture as well as your previous communications. For example, if you have previously communicated primarily by phone, then a phone call is the best way to follow up. In this instance, it is a good idea to have a general script drafted ahead of time for both a live conversation and a voice mail.
DON’T: Make a pest of yourself.
While it is a good idea to send a thank you note and to email again if necessary as part of your job interview follow-up, don’t overdo it. Too much communication is almost as detrimental as too little and may leave potential employers wondering if you might be an overly needy employee. Make sure you respect the timelines they have provided regarding the hiring process in determining when to undertake further follow-up.
One way to get around this limitation is to engage your contact on another level. For example, offering information or introductions to people that they have indicated interest in or that is related to the role you are applying for. In this way, you are free to forward that article or provide the contact information for the person you know. This serves to engage your contact, illustrate further your expertise, and add value to your relationship.
As you can see from these Dos and Don’ts, job interview follow-up is a topic worthy of lengthy consideration. Communication after an interview has the power to keep you top of mind, emphasize your enthusiasm, overcome problems from the interview, and develop a new professional contact whether you end up getting the job or not.
iStock Photo Credit: 1. Kritchanut
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