Want the Job? Don’t Block Yourself Out
You have invested emotionally. You’ve experienced the nervous anticipation of a potential new beginning. You invested time to fully prepare for the interview. You invested time for the interview. YOU INVESTED TIME TO COMPETE.
YOU THOUGHT SENDING A NOTE WASN’T IMPORTANT
Turn your thinking upside down. Your first round was the verbal interview; your second round was a written “assessment, “ and you chose to compete. When you write a follow up note you are providing an additional tool for your interviewer to assess your fit and capability. A thoughtful note can demonstrate your ability to listen under stressful circumstances, as well as process and analyze the information you heard in the interview.
YOU MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY TO FURTHER BUILD YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND REPUTATION
Forget the idea of a “thank you” note – it limits your thinking and tends to generate “stock” emails. When you think of a follow up email as a second-round assessment, you open-up your mind to the possibilities. Absolutely thank your interviewer for considering you for the opportunity somewhere in your note, but that is not your challenge.
ASSUME YOUR COMPETITION IS TOUGH
An interview follow-up note is an opportunity to impress, move the process forward, or “close the deal.” It can make all the difference if you are neck and neck with a competitor. It can even put you back on the playing field.
A CHANCE TO GET BACK IN THE GAME
Recently, one of our clients interviewed for a COO position. During the interview he argued with the interviewer, a PE partner, about the valuation of a company they had planned to acquire, but his company ended up walking away. Our client realized too late that he didn’t have as much visibility to the potential acquisition’s finances as he thought he did. I tried to persuade my client to write a very thoughtful letter, but he declined, assuming the disagreement wasn’t a “deal breaker.”
A few days later,the retained search partner told him that while the partners were very impressed with him, they were passing on him, they needed more M&A experience. I encouraged our client to speak to the search consultant to ask his opinion. The consultant approved writing a note directly to the partner, but he was skeptical. My client wrote a powerful letter underscoring his fit for the role, but more importantly, admitting his mistake. He was invited back and ultimately received an offer.
WHO IS BLOCKING YOU?
Clients give us lots of reasons for not writing a compelling follow up note, the most common one being “time”. The second most common reason is, “I don’t know what to say.”
TAKE NOTES IMMEDIATELY AFTER EVERY INTERVIEW
- What were you saying when your interviewer became excited/more attentive?
- What did the interviewer share that excited you?
- What guidance did the interviewer give you?
- What are the problems either the interviewer or the organization needs to solve?
- What do you wish you had said differently?
- What do you wish you had said but didn’t get a chance?
Your answers will be the basis of your follow up email. Be sure to use only the most impactful information. Your ability to listen to your interviewer, recognize what is important from the exchange, and communicate concisely, will make all the difference. Three short paragraphs are enough to pack a punch.If your interviewer does not get to the end of your email, you will not win the second round.
DON’T EASE UP
Jessica Liebman of Business Insider goes so far as to say that she swears by a simple rule: “If someone doesn’t send a thank-you email, don’t hire them.” I agree with Jessica, but even sending a simple thank you email is a missed opportunity.Send your follow up note before 48 hours has passed. If you embrace the second round, you have the power to win.
Founded in 2001, Waterman Hurst is a professional services company that provides strategic job and board search services to leaders. We serve CEOs, C-Suite executives, Next Level Executives, and Advancing Leaders who want to transform their careers. We are the first company to provide B2C high end, high touch comprehensive job and board search services exclusively to leadership clients – we provide expertise in branding, strategy, coaching and serve as agents for top talent.