Interview Preparation Tips (Paper 6 of 20)

Examrace Placement Series prepares you for the toughest placement exams to top companies.

Thank-You Letters

Almost immediately after an interview, you should write a thank-you letter to the interviewer (s). You can use e-mail to do this, but sending a letter or card is more thoughtful.

If more than one person was involved in interviewing, sending a note to each one would be awesome. Remembering names of people we have met briefly in an interview situation is beyond most of us. However, if you jot down their names on your notepad, request a business card at the interview, or call the office and request names, your effort will be worth it. Since so few people do this, you will really be memorable. If you cannot obtain their names, send a letter to the head interviewer and address it to the that person and the interview panel.

Thank-you letters should express gratitude for the interview opportunity, particular attention or kindness shown to you, assistance provided, or other experience that provided a memorable occasion for you (other than the terror of the interview, of course!).

Reconfirm your interest in working for the company and indicate that you hope to hear positive news soon.

Just sending a thank-you letter creates a favorable impression, unless it is illegible, poorly spelled, or grammatically incorrect.

You can make your thank-you letter work harder than that. If you feel you didn't provide a complete or totally correct answer to a question in the interview, you can use your letter to clarify your response or to show that you cared enough to seek more information. Don't attempt to clarify more than one or two points, or you could talk yourself out of a job! Restate the contribution that you can make to the company.

Following Up

If you do not hear from the interviewer by the time he or she indicated, or within a reasonable amount of time from your interview-two weeks or so, you should call or e-mail the interviewer to inquire about the status of their selection process.

If a decision has not yet been made, ask the interviewer when he or she believes it will be made. If you have another offer, but would like to know about this interview outcome before making a decision, tell the interviewer. It may speed up the process.

If a decision has been made and you are selected, congratulations! If you were not selected, try to find out what the interviewer would recommend to you that could improve your chances at your next interview. This is a non-threatening way of trying to discover why you were not selected, but it will also help you in future interviews.

Second Interviews

Many organizations rely on second, or even third interviews, to make hiring decisions. If you are chosen for a second interview, indicate your pleasure at being selected. Ask what the format will be for the second round. If you do not already have an idea, you can ask what the salary range is for the position before deciding whether to go further. Most companies that offer second interviews are very competitive with their salary offers anyway, so you don't need to ask unless it is really important to you. Wait to discuss salary specifics until the job offer is made. Don't hang up before discovering the name and title of the interviewer, where and when the interview will take place, and what the travel arrangements are:

Second interviews are required by employers who use the first interview as more of an introduction to see if you will fit as part of their team. The second interview, then, will probably be more in-depth. It may include more job-related questions, hands-on experiences, and/or meeting with more than one person. Be yourself, your best self, and you will ultimately have a positive experience.

The best thing about second interviews is that it usually provides you the opportunity to view the organization in action and to meet some of the people with whom you will be working.

Remember, you are trying to decide an important part of your future. Is this an organization with which you will feel comfortable and which offers you the opportunities you seek? Observation can provide a large part of the answer.

Hard copy, handwritten or email?

Thank-you letters can be hard copy typed, handwritten or e-mailed. Hard copy are most formal and are appropriate after an interview. Handwritten are more personal, and can be appropriate for brief notes to a variety of individuals you may have met during on on-site interview. E-mail is appropriate when that has been your means of contact with the person you want to thank, or if your contact has expressed a preference for e-mail.

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