How to Follow Up Effectively After a Job Interview
Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast.
Big show last week, if you missed it go back and check out Dr. Bill Sutton on the show, if you are unfamiliar with Dr. Sutton, he is the Kevin Bacon of sports.
Everyone tracks back to him.
Seriously, I’d guess at least 20 of my prior podcast guests count him as a mentor. He’s been training and teaching the movers and shakers in the sports industry for decades. Doc Sutton knows how to help people find their fit in the industry, how to inspire and be an ally for diversity hiring, he consults with professional teams on their sales and marketing, he worked directly under David Stern at the NBA. He’s amazing, and we talked for a long, long time, but it’ll feel like 10 minutes.
It goes fast.
He is super connected, incredibly smart, and always pushing the industry forward. A lot of times you hear of someone who has been in academia for decades and you may think, subconsciously of course, that they aren’t up to date, that they don’t push modern ideas, that they may be stale.
Listen to this show and you will be blown away. He’s talking about video as a sales tool, business intelligence, seeing potential in people beyond their test scores – it's awesome.
Let’s get into today’s question from Tony in Missouri
Hey Brian, big fan of the show, I only just found out about the Work In Sports podcast after listening to your interview with Zach Maurides from Teamworks. That dude got me fired up, and you asked the exact type of questions I wanted to know about. It was like you were reading my mind! Since then, I’ve gone back and listened to your interviews with Dan Duquette, Leigh Steinberg, Jack Mills, Kara Walker of the Boston Celtics, Celia Bouza from ESPN and more.
But my absolute favorite was with John Ferguson VP of People and Culture from Monumental Sports and Entertainment.
I’m a victim of covid layoffs. I had my first job after college, things were going well, but then you know the rest. Good news, I have had three interviews in the last few weeks and your advice has been awesome and helpful. In his interview, John said that candidates should follow up with their hiring manager or the person who interviewed them. I think he said “most definitely” when you asked him about follow-up.
But he didn’t really say how. Any thoughts here on how I should follow up?”
Tony – thrilled to have this question, we’ve been talking a lot about advanced stages of interviewing and the job seekers journey, which is a good sign, a really good sign.
I have to say, this is anecdotal evidence, but when I am on LinkedIn lately, I’m seeing a lot of “I just got hired by XXXX”! Which I love to hear.
There are really positive signs in the job market, so this is a good time to be reviewing your follow up approach and strategy.
Here is the rhythm, you get an interview, you do great things, then you wait. It’s like dating, you have a good time, you meet someone nice, then you wait to see what happens next.
This waiting, it’s not for me, I don’t like to wait. I’m what you would call, impatient.
So, let’s talk action.
Start with a Handwritten Card
After your interview, send a handwritten card to every single person you interviewed with.
Why is this important, well, the obvious is that it pushes you out there as someone willing to go the extra mile in communication, add a personal touch, connect on a deeper level. BUT the other great part is that it serves as a reminder of your existence about three days after your interview.
Think about it, you have the interview, write up the card right then, put it in the mail, and chances are in three days the people that interviewed you will read and think about you.
You will be top of mind.
Your card is an active reminder to them that basically says, “don't forget about me!”
If your future employer is having team meetings reviewing candidates and they get a unique and personal card from you, that is your first and most important follow up. It sparks further investigation and conversation.
After Five Business Days, Pick up the Phone
Let’s say even after your send a handwritten card as part of your follow up plan, it’s been 5 business days and you haven’t heard anything from a person.
Time to pick up the phone.
Communication skills are lacking in many of today’s applicants. Fact, not opinion.
When you are able to pick up the phone and call, that shows confidence and a real desire for this role - signs employers love.
Now, you are probably telling yourself, I don’t want to be a pest, I’ll just sit back and wait.
NO. No, no, no, no, no.
You have to be aggressive in this competitive market. You have to make it clear you want this job, it’s important to you, and you believe you are the perfect match.
Pick up the phone!
What Do You Say?
Have a script ready, it'll make you less likely to panic and stumble.
“Hi [Mrs. Interviewee]. This is Brian Clapp, I interviewed with you last week for the [insert position] opening. During the last week I’ve been reading more and more about [insert company] and my interest in joining the team is greater than ever. Has a decision been made on the open position?”
Ending with a yes/no question is imperative because it forces the person you are speaking with to take the conversation in a direction you can be prepared for.
You are steering the conversation!
Here’s how this works – if they say "No, we have not yet decided" celebrate in your mind because you still have a chance, and then ask:
- Do you need additional information from me for my consideration?
- What is the time frame for filling the position?
If the position has been filled:
You can be sad/frustrated/angry later, for now, focus on ending the conversation on a high note and leave the hiring manager with a positive impression of you. You may very well be applying to other opportunities with their company in the future.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I will continue to check your website/job board for future opportunities. If the chosen candidate does not work out or another position opens that I might be a good fit for, please keep me in mind.
Bonus Tip on Following Up After a Job Interview
Don't call more than twice in a week.
Send your handwritten card, follow up via phone after five business days and then you have to wait a bit. Don't keep calling, you'll quickly go from "confidently interested" to really annoying, disqualifying behavior.
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