Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Post Interview Etiquette

An interview is tough work, tougher than writing a final exam: You may be mentally and physically prepared, but you don't know what kind of questions will be thrown at you, who will be asking them and how you will psychologically respond to them. Once an interview is over and done with, there is some etiquette you must follow - irrespective of the fact whether you get the job or not. Because a professional approach after the interview will stand you in good stead with your employers, or even if you haven't been hired, the people who have interviewed you will always remember you for your post-interview etiquette and attitude.

Here then is a small guide on post-interview etiquette:

1. Do not show any over-eagerness or emotion once the interview is over. If you didn't do your interview well, do not show overtly that you are very upset. Remain calm and collected, and keep your ears open. You've spoken during the interview, now hear out and remember the closing comments. And do not forget to thank the interviewees and wish them a polite goodbye. Each and every action of yours speaks out the strength of your character, and you never know what can impress or irritate the interviewing board members irrespective of how badly or well you fared in the interview.

2. As soon as the interview is over, make a note of all the important points that were discussed in the interview. Critical and strategic issues dealing with your role, responsibilities and promises of job enhancements may have been discussed during the interview, and it is better for you to jot them down rather than consign them to your memory.

3. After taking down the important notes, call up your recruitment agent, if you used his services, and inform him about what happened during the interview. Recruitment agencies know employers well and they can guess what is on their mind based on certain comments the employers might have made during the interview.

4. Always send or email an error-free "thank you" note to your interviewers. In your "thank you" letter, do not forget to apologize for any slip up you may have made during the interview, and before signing off, emphasize on your commitment to the job. Lastly, your letter must be short and sweet and to the point - no flowery language, no multiple pages, and you know the rest.

5. If your prospective employer says that he needs some time to think over your application, then do not call back or get in touch using indirect methods (friends, friends' friends, etc.). Give them the time they specified to decide your fate, and then get proactive and call them and make polite inquiries about your application. Do not display any eagerness or desperation while making the follow-up inquiry.

6. If you learn that you have not been selected for the job, inquire about the reasons and work around your shortcomings. And, even though you have not been hired, you must be courteous enough to send them a letter thanking them for calling you to the interview.

7. Once the interview is over, do not stop the process of hunting for other jobs because you never know what can come up. But do not pit one job against the other by telling prospective employers "I've appeared in a couple of other interviews too and I would appreciate if you could let me know your decision as soon as possible, or before so and so date because I need to make my decision." Do not pressurize your potential employer into taking a fast decision. This kind of bargaining is not appreciated in the corporate world.

8. Above all, remember that if you do not get the job, it is not the end of the world - there are many fish in the sea, and all you need to do is angle for another one.

In the end, an interview can be a fantastic experience - you learn more about others, your shortcomings show up along with your strengths and you come out of the experience mentally tougher. But, this happens only when you observe and absorb the goings-on in every interview and follow proper interview etiquette. So, work on all aspects of an interview and do everything right after the interview.

Here's wishing you all the luck for all your forthcoming interviews.

No comments: