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Job Interview Thank You Calls

Job Interview Follow Up Call Do's and Don'ts

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Job Interview Thank You Calls

Follow Up a Job Interview With a Thank You Call

Image © istockphoto.com/Daniel Laflor
Job seekers are usually hesitant to call to follow up after a job interview. You always wonder if you are bugging the interviewer and whether calling to follow up will help or hinder your chances of getting a second interview or even a job offer.

A recent survey from Accountemps should put your mind at ease. In fact, following up after an interview with a thank you phone call was one of the preferred ways Human Resources Managers would like to hear from candidates who have recently interviewed.

Here's how HR Managers like to be contacted (respondents could select multiple options):

  • Email - 87%
  • Phone Call - 81%
  • Handwritten Note - 38%
  • Social media - 27%
  • Text message - 10%
The first three options are the best ones, but I'd recommend avoiding social media. An HR Manager or the person who might be your new boss is not your Facebook friend. LinkedIn can work, if you are connected with your interviewer already. Otherwise, I'd stick to email, a call or a note. Texting obviously doesn't cut it as a way to follow up. Your follow up needs to be as professional as you were during your job interview.

Why Follow Up Phone Calls Work

A phone call is a quick and easy way to follow up. In addition, it's more personal than a thank you email message or a thank you note, even though those work well, too. You're connecting personally with the person who may be making the decision to hire you or who will, at least, have some influence on that decision.

What To Say When You Call

Try to call within 24 hours of your interview and call your interviewer directly. If you get voicemail the first time you try, you don't need to leave a message. Try again and see if you can catch them when they are available to answer the phone. Early or late in the day works best because people are less likely to be in meetings or interviews then.

However, don't call too many times without leaving a message. If you don't reach them on the second try, leave a message with your name, the job title you interviewed for, say thank you, ask the person to call you back if you can provide any additional information and leave your phone number so it's easy for them to call you back.

If you reach the interviewer, first of all, good for you - many people screen all their calls these days. Be brief and to the point, thank the hiring manager for their time, recap your qualifications, then ask if there is anything else the interviewer would like to know or if there is any further information on your background or experience you can provide.

If there was anything you wish you had mentioned during the interview, but didn't, take this opportunity to share it with the person who interviewed.

Follow Up Calls Do's and Don'ts

Be Prepared. Have a copy of your resume in front of you when you call. That way, you'll be prepared to answer questions if the interviewer has any. Also, have a list of references ready, just in case you are asked for them.

Make a List. Create a short list of what you're going to say, including your key qualifications for the job.

Practice. If you're nervous about calling, and that's entirely understandable, practice. Ask a friend or family member to pretend they are the hiring manager and make a couple of calls. The more you say it, the easier the conversation will be when it's for real.

Call in Private. You obviously don't want to call from a cubicle at work, but it's also important not to have a lot of background noise if you call from home or somewhere in public. You need to be able to hear, think and speak clearly and a quiet spot to call from will make all the difference in the world.

Smile. If you project confidence when you call, it will get through to the other end of the phone line. Confident and assured candidates have a better chance at getting a job offer than someone who is nervous and hesitant.

Call the Decision Maker. Be sure to get the interviewer's business card at the end of the interview if you don't already have a phone number. It's important to talk to the person who has hiring authority or can at least recommend you as the top candidate for the job.

Make a Match. Mention how you are a perfect fit for the position, highlighting - specifically - why you're a match. Briefly mention the qualifications you have and tie them to what the employer is seeking.

Offer Information. Use your follow up call as a way to both thank your interviewer and to ask if you can provide them with any further information to help make a decision.

Take it a Step Further. If the conversation goes well, you can even ask when you might expect the company to make a decision.

Don't Overdo It. Don't call the interviewer multiple times. The employers surveyed by Accountemps definitely didn't want multiple phone calls. This is your one shot at making another good impression, so use it wisely, but don't overuse it.

Other Options for Saying Thank You

Not comfortable making a phone call? Or, does calling simply not feel like the best option to follow up with the hiring manager? Other options work just as well, and, in some cases, may even be a better option. Here's how to follow up via email and in writing, including advice on what to include in your message, subject lines and signatures, who to write to and when to follow up.

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