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Proper post-interview etiquette can seal the deal

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By Eve Nicholas
You spent the past hour answering trick questions, justifying your career choices and doing your best to convince the hiring manager that you're a great catch. It was a tough interview but you feel good about it. At this point, you're ready to jump out of your chair and sprint home. But in your mad dash to leave the premises, don't forget that the selection process is not over yet. By carefully managing your post-interview activities, you can make a lasting impact -- and seal the deal.
Before you exit the interview room, ask the manager when a hiring decision will be made. This question opens the door to future conversations; if you don't hear from the company by the date they give you, call and inquire about the position.
In the next day or so, write a follow-up note that touches on your key strengths and gracefully explains any negative issues that came up during the interview. If you met with several decision makers, send each person a separate letter. This takes a bit of effort, but it can solidify your impression with the employer.
At this point, you may feel the urge to plant yourself by the phone or computer and wait for a job offer to arrive. Bad move. Your actions in the coming days and weeks are essential to your job search. Not just for this position, but for other opportunities as well. Steer your job hunt forward with these important tasks.
Nourish your network: If someone in your network referred you to the company, write a personal thank-you note that expresses your appreciation for the introduction. Plus, it could inspire more referrals in the future.
Review the discussion in your mind: Many job hunters leave interviews fretting over the things they said (or didn't say). Try not to let your emotions take over. Instead, keep your head in the game by systematically replaying each moment of the interview from beginning to end. Which parts of the meeting went smoothly? Where did you fall short? Be as objective as possible and use your findings to improve your presentation in the next interview.
Stay in touch -- without pestering: When it comes to selecting the right candidate for an open position, employers have all the time in the world. But many job seekers feel the pressure of financial obligations, career changes and other internal and external pressures that make it hard to remain patient during a drawn-out hiring process.
Despite your eagerness, it's critical that you avoid contacting the boss too many times. After you send your follow-up letter, wait a week or two before calling the employer for a status update. Take advantage of this opportunity to remind the hiring manager of your qualifications and genuine interest in the position. If time marches on, contact the boss once more by email. No response? Focus your efforts elsewhere.
Evaluate job offers with care: Once you have a job offer in your hands, let the manager know when to expect your decision. Then, take a couple of days to contemplate the proposal. If you decide to refuse the position, politely tell the manager why you won't be accepting the job. Thank the employer for the consideration and move on.
Eve Nicholas:
Story tags » Employment



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