Prepare to follow up after the interview

Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005

Following up a job interview with a phone call is an often over-looked yet vital part of the interview process. Doing so shows your prospective employer that you are eager, interested and care enough about your potential with the company that you take the initiative and contact them.

Though frequency of phone calls primarily depends on the company and whom you are dealing with - either a professional recruiter or a hiring manager - Suzanne Edgar, senior management consultant for the Oakbrook, Ill.-based Right Management Consultants, says to use common sense and be careful not to bombard the company with phone calls.

Checking in

"Recruiters receive an overwhelming number of phone calls, so they will give preference to those whom they know either directly or indirectly," she says. "If you don't know the recruiter, you can call once a week. After multiple calls over a two-month period, you are in the pest zone."

It's acceptable to call once a week or so after you have sent in your resume to make sure they have received it. Edgar recommends calling the recruiter 24 hours after your interview, and sending a personalized thank-you note to your interviewer within a day as well.

"Know the interviewer's timeline regarding the selection and decision process," she advises. "If you haven't heard from the interviewer by the date that was indicated, call to re-state your interest in the position and inquire about the status of the process."

Still interested

Even though you are calling to check on your status as a candidate, you are simultaneously reaffirming your enthusiasm about the position and making sure the impression you left on your interviewer is still fresh. Doing research on the company can act as a springboard for friendly communication with the recruiter, which can also give you a bit of a personal connection.

Keep your surroundings in mind when making that follow-up phone call as well. Lynda Ford, president of the Ford Group, a human resource consulting firm in Rome, N.Y., advises to be respectful and call from a quiet area. Also be sure to speak clearly and don't eat or chew gum during your call.

"Make sure the message on your answering machine is professional," suggests Ford, who also authors "Transform Your Workplace" (McGraw-Hill, $16.95). "I've hung up on people that had unprofessional and immature greetings on their answering machines."

Simply exhibiting proper telephone etiquette is an easy way to set you apart from the crowd and can be an excellent chance for you to show off your professionalism.

- Lisa Radke

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