It’s the big day. A thousand things run through your mind: be confident (try this tip for a boost); show you’re interested with your body language (without coming on too strong or seeming too desperate); tell some interesting stories about yourself but also listen and ask some interesting questions; determine whether you’re a good fit for each other. No, we’re not talking about a first date. However, a first date and a job interview share several parallels – including the follow-up.
In the moment, conversation flowed smoothly. You think you made a good first impression — and you’ve exchanged contact info. But now new questions emerge: You’re interested but you don’t want to seem too pushy – what’s the next step?
There is one key difference between a first date and job interview follow-up: for job interviews, it’s all about the thank you note. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Don’t wait too long
Just as you don’t want to keep someone waiting too long to hear back from you after a first date, failing to send a thank you note in a timely manner (or failing to send one at all) can mean getting weeded out of the list of potential candidates early. It’s best to send an email note within 24 hours of your interview (writing it as soon as you get home from the interview is the safest bet). Not only will this demonstrate your interest and commitment, but a note sent earlier means interviewers will have you more fresh in their minds as they read it.
Personalize the thank you
While a post-date text saying something like, “Had a great time, we should do it again soon” is fine — it’s nothing special and rather generic. If you really want that second date, why not make it more personal? Similarly, adding something more personalized in a post-interview thank you note can show that you were really engaged in the interview process. Mention something that came up during the interview, perhaps a shared interest or something about the interviewer (but make sure not to veer away from professionalism). This can be especially impressive if you were interviewed by multiple people and send each of them personalized notes.
If you think you might have erred…
If you think that you might have given off the wrong impression about something, don’t dwell on the negative. Apologize if necessary, but try to keep the focus on your strengths. If you think you came off a little stiff on a date, wouldn’t you try to be a little more friendly and relaxed when you call for a second one? Similarly, you should stay on the positive in your job interview thank you note; you don’t have to state outright that you might have said/done something wrong. Instead, try phrasing it as something on which you want to elaborate, such as “I realize I did not mention X…” or ““In further consideration of the question you asked me, I wanted to express…”
Remember, IT pros, a well-written post-interview thank you note has become somewhat of a rarity in this world. It’s an opportunity to reiterate and highlight your strengths as a candidate. Taking the time to send a personalized note can mean getting one step closer to that new job. Sure, you can hope that you passed the interview with flying colors and that a note is unnecessary — but why take chances on your career? Take the time to follow up and get that second date (note the metaphor: post-date thank you emails are not romantic)!