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Thank You Notes and Post-Interview Etiquette Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Workopolis.com Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit www.CareerActivist.com.

Mark Swartz
Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dear Mark:

I have recently been on three interviews for different companies. All three indicated they were going to create a short list for a second interview and that I would be advised either way. They further provided a timeframe as to when I might hear.

All three are now past the date of follow-up. I might add that all three are for jobs that are newly created, or not being currently performed in Toronto, so I understand there may not be any rush to fill them. However, the waiting game can be difficult when you are seeking employment.

My questions are should I be calling them for possible updates and, if so, what is a reasonable timeframe to wait? I don't want to be a pest but I also don't want them to think I am no longer interested. Also, is there a best way to write thank you letters?

-- Bonnie L, Toronto, Ontario
Dear Bonnie,

Waiting to hear from an employer after you've interviewed with them is among the most frustrating parts of job hunting. That's because control over timing, and final decisions, rests in the hands of the employer.

You can increase your chances of being chosen for the next round of interviews -- or of being offered the job -- by following up professionally. This includes writing a customized thank you note. It also means not giving up easily.

First a look at the thank you note. The purpose of this often neglected bit of communication is threefold:
  • to remind the interviewer(s) how much you really want the job
  • to address any issues or gaps that may have arisen during the interview
  • to demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile, since many job hunters don't bother to send a note (or send amateurish ones if they do)

Now for the post-interview etiquette part. If you haven't heard from the employer by a few days after they've promised to call or e-mail you, it's time for a gentle reminder. Consider leaving a voice message for the person making the hiring decision. Let them know you are very, very interested and look forward to hearing back from them soon. Do the same a week later if there's still no response. Could be they're merely delayed in finalizing things. Maybe once more a week later...and that ought to be as far as you go with this particular employer. Any more than that and you run the risk of appearing somewhat desperate.

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