The Job Hunting Podcast

5. Something important most people forget to do when going through job interviews

November 14, 2019

Hi, I’m Renata Bernarde and this is the Job Hunting Podcast, where I try to help you nail your next job and have the career you want.

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In my previous podcasts (# 1-4) we discussed the effect of stress and anxiety on how we perform at interviews, or anything we feel threaten with. I can be a tough conversation at work, a difficult negotiation, a presentation you have to give and so on. When we get re-wired to cope with stress, we can sometimes forget our manners. This can be a real problem when there is so much at stake during the recruitment process.

Here is the thing: I’ve interviewed others as much as I was interviewed myself. And it has surprised me that many interviewees don’t follow up. At all. I am such a pro-active person that I cannot understand why one wouldn’t follow up after being called about a role, or better still, being on a physical face to face interview with a recruiter or employer. Even if you don’t do that, you have to at least, the very least, say thank you at some stage during the interview, but I would suggest a sandwich so add a thanks to your introduction and a thank you to your goodbyes. To get to the job interview is a major milestone for everyone involved. It’s like you have been chosen to be in the finals of a competition, in the Olympics, nominated for an important award. IF you don’t win the prize (ie get the job), it does not mean you are not a great candidate. It means you are so good that people spent valuable time researching you, comparing you against other candidates, and choosing you for them to spend time getting to know. Ok, so if you didn’t get the job you were not a perfect match for the role for one reason or another, but please leave this recruitment experience with the strength and positive reinforcement that you are on track. We will address taking you from good to great at another time, but you know what is not going to make you a perfect match? Not saying thank you! At least 3 times. Three times is my "go-to", folks. The 3rd time is you know when? When you Follow up!!! Right? So, you sandwich it at the interview, then you wait a few days - you should be the best judge of how long - let’s say 5 days, then you call them (my preference is always a call if you have the number) and thank them and ask for an update. Note here: they may have given you a time frame in which case you follow their guideline.

Another thing to note: If you have an intermediate, a recruiter who is managing the selection process, call them immediately after the interview to give them an update. And thank them! And ask them to thank the panel on your behalf. Because he or she will have a meeting with that panel once all candidates are interviewed and the way he or she refers to each one of you will make an impact of the decision. She or he may say: "I touched based with all of them, Mary ask me to convey her thanks to you, she really enjoyed the conversation, I only reached John a few days later and he said all went well." What do you think that shows the selection panel? Who seems more interested in the role?

Don’t over flatter people, no one wants that. In my view you should however acknowledge "the process". This is the process: you are a box of cereal, they are choosing a cereal, they think you might be it. So you are doing the marketing, and enchanting the customer is part of the game plan.

So there you go: 3 thank yous, everyone. What do you think? Looking back have you done it? I sure learned along the way. I think really it was when I was on the other side of the table, selecting candidates, that I realized that there is an etiquette that I would expect candidates to follow.

Also remember to adapt this to your situation, sector, or country, yes? This is very important. Although the message is universal, the culture and also how much you know/don’t know the people involved may influence how you decided to activate the ideas above.

Below I've added links to research done by Amit Kumar and his colleagues at the University of Texas on the power of saying thank you, for both the giver and the recipient. He says: "What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones," said Kumar. "It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect." I hope you enjoy the extra reading.

References I have made in this episode:

UT News: Writing Thank You Notes Is More Powerful Than We Realize

Writing a 'thank you' note is more powerful than we realize, study shows 


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