Making a good first impression is crucial, not only when it comes to standing out in the job interview process, but to landing the job. There are several things that candidates do and don't do that set them apart from the rest after an interview. Too much or too little contact can be detrimental. Conducting the right types of follow-up – and in the right ways – can make all the difference with recruiters and hiring managers.

Send a thank-you note. 

After an interview, it's always a good idea to send a thank you note. Even when you have multiple interviews with the same company, send a thank-you note after each one.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers receive standard thank you notes all the time. Tailor them to the company and position for which you're interviewing and include specific points that were discussed during the conversation. It's easy to spot a standard boilerplate thank you note. These set the tone that the candidate doesn't really care about expressing gratitude or interest in the position, but rather just following protocol. Make the recruiter or hiring manager remember you by writing a sincere thank you note and personalizing it appropriately.
  • If the interview takes place over the phone, sending a thank you note by email is fine. If the interview is in person, handwritten thank you notes are more appropriate. Unfortunately, handwritten thank you notes aren't as common as they once were. When candidates send handwritten thank you notes, it's something that hiring managers tend not to forget.
  • Send a thank you note to each person who participated in the interview, not just the recruiter. It's appropriate to ask for each interviewer's business card before you leave. This way you'll know the correct spelling of each person's name, title, and address.
  • Don't write the same message on each note. Take the time to individualize them and include specific information discussed during the meeting. Before you put the notes in the mail, be sure to verify contact information and proofread them. Just as with resumes and cover letters, misspelled names, incorrect contact information, bad grammar, and misspelled words will show the potential employer that you're careless and lack attention to detail.
  • Don't delay. Send your note within 24 hours of the interview, and sooner if you're emailing it.

Be mindful of the hiring manager or recruiter's timeline. 

Before you leave the interview, it's common for the hiring manager or recruiter to provide you with a timeline on the next steps of the process. If more time passes than was discussed, it's appropriate to follow up with the recruiter one time. However, multiple phone calls, emails, and excessive questions are some of the surest ways to be eliminated from the candidate pool. High-maintenance candidates are likely to become high-maintenance employees – something most employers want to avoid.

During the interview process you always want to put your best foot forward, regardless of the format of the communication. Be genuine and show that you care. Your efforts will pay off!

This article first appeared in the Kuder Blog September 29, 2018

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