What you do after the interview could matter most for success
Do you ever have the feeling that it's easier to get through the eye of a needle than to come out the winner in the interviewing contest? Who hasn't experienced the following: you've had two rounds of interviews with a leading veterinary practice. Everything seemed to go well. You fielded difficult questions, addressed concerns, and you're sure you made a very good impression. Now what? Why aren't things moving along as rapidly as you expected? You thought you nailed it-but there's no phone call, no offer.
The Five O'Clock Club cautions that, just when a job seems to be within your grasp, don't be surprised if things get derailed. The practice is not on your schedule. It might be seeing other terrific candidates. Or the position might be put on hold due to internal politics or budget considerations. A lot can happen that is simply beyond your control.
* The interview is the beginning, not the end
Many job hunters seem to assume that the interview is the end of the process. Of course, they dash off the thank-you note, but they think of the job offer as a piece of ripe fruit, and they wait for it to drop. They may even make "status checks," which don't add value to their candidacy.
In this complex, booming market, the Five O'clock Club reminds clients that the interview is the beginning of the process, not the end. Interview follow-up can be as crucial as the interview itself, and it can be the most demanding and brainiest part of the job search process. Follow-up may require proactive strategies to influence the decision makers and keep your candidacy alive. While avoiding any steps that may appear excessive or pushy, the follow-up stage may be a subtle dance of laying groundwork and nurturing the situation with strategic, value-added activity.
* The foundation for successful follow-up is built during in the interview itself.
* Approach the interview as a consultant would, and dig for information. A consultant probes the issues and concerns that have prompted the practice to bring someone on board. Focus on the practice owner or manager's needs as opposed to dwelling on your own worries.
* Try to find out the hiring timetable, where you stand vis à vis other applicants, and what concerns or reservations they may have about your candidacy. Listen carefully and non-defensively.
* Take notes during the interview-as any expensive per diem consultant would do. You want to gather enough information to write a substantive, high-impact influencing letter. Especially if you are interviewed by several people, detailed notes on each meeting may be crucial for smart follow-up. If appropriate, you may say, "I'd like to take notes if you don't mind, to make sure I capture all your points." If you don't take notes, make sure you write down as much as possible after the interview.
* An influence letter outclasses a thank-you note
The beginning of smart follow-up is usually a letter:
* Write an influencing letter to each person you've interviewed with. Address their unique styles, responsibilities and concerns. You might have to look beyond the formal reporting structure to figure out who's really important in the decision process. In some cases it might be the trusted technician or a potential veterinary colleague that has a big say in who comes on board. So acknowledge everyone with a customized e-mail or letter.
* Remember that this letter goes far beyond the traditional cookie-cutter thank-you notes that are so common; it summarizes and expounds on the issues brought up in the interview and may be used to address weakness or respond to concerns about your background. It represents you and the caliber of work that you do.
Ms. Robbins is a career counselor with strengths in counseling, writing, transition coaching and career development. She also serves a member of the media team with the Five O'Clock Club, a nationally recognized career counseling organization. The club provides affordable, state-of-the-art career counseling services directly to individuals and outplacement via the corporate market. Services include small group as well as individual career coaching through a nationwide network of certified career counselors. The club's methods are based on 14 years of research. For more information, call 800-538-6645.