5 Ways to Stand Out AFTER the Interview
Even in a candidate’s market, you must learn how to stand out to the interviewer. With the large number of consultants interviewing for each new position, establishing yourself so as to stand out in the manager’s mind has become quintessential to being offered the job.
So, I want to address a few ways to follow up with an interviewer, and keep your name in their mind. This element of the process is often overlooked, or even viewed as optional. Sure, you're not required to follow up, but they are not required to give your resume another look, either. Here are five ideas that I have personally used, and seen fruitful returns from.
1. The Classic "Thank You" Letter (or Email)
It seems almost too easy. A simple thank you card that reviews what you talked about, and why you feel optimistic about the position and/or company. The personal touch that you add to this will be what sets you apart from the 20-100 other applicants. The interviewer will also be impressed that you paid attention to the small details of the process. While less personal, an email would also work in some instances. If you like playing hard-to-get (which I do not advise), an email could suffice, especially if you include a question that may need to be answered quickly.
2. A Phone Call
Interestingly enough, following up 1-2 times a week during the interview process lets the manager know that you REALLY WANT the position. When I started my first position with the Atlanta Hawks, my manager told me that I gotten the job because I showed him how much I wanted it. He even laughingly said that it got borderline annoying at times. I was not insulted at all by this statement. The hardest workers in the world tend to be a bit pushy, but only because they know what they want, and will do whatever it takes to get it.
3. The Personal Touch
This has been my "go-to" since I started searching for jobs after college. During the interview process, pay particular attention to what you talk about. Does the manager like sports? Do they like music? Do they enjoy literature? Whatever it is, FIND OUT. Once your second or third interview is complete, put something together that he/she would appreciate, and would tell them that you cared enough to be attentive to the small things. This creates a link between yourself and the manager, and something that could set you apart in the end.
For one position in particular, I was 1 of 2,000 resumes competing for 10 jobs. It was surprising enough that I got the interview, but when I went in to speak with them, the interview was a three-stage, five-candidate interview process. I knew that I had to do something drastic. I had asked one of them about some literature that I could be reading that would prepare me for the position, and they suggested a book called “From Fantasyland to the Rat Race.” I then bought a small stuffed mouse, and made a jersey for it. I sent it to the manager with a note that simply read “I hope my rat race starts with the (company name).” I know how corny this sounds, and it may not work with EVERY manager, but try to get a feel for how intense the gift needs to be. This went over very well, and I ended up with the job offer.
4. Ask Questions (that you didn’t ask in the interview)
ALWAYS be prepared to ask questions. Better yet, do research so that your questions show that you know things that you shouldn't yet. This can be very impressive to managers, because it shows that you put in the effort to learn the company or industry. Nothing says “dedicated to this opportunity” more than putting personal time and funds into it.
That said, we all have a tendency to forget things when the moment arises. This is another reason that the follow-up is so important; you can ask those questions.
Plus, these managers do not want to be pressured to make the final decision too quickly. By devising a set of comprehensive and fact-based questions, you can add something to each call. Be honest. Tell the manager that you forgot to ask, or that you came across a new bit of information that you thought was interesting. This keeps your name in the manager’s head, and lets them know that you are still very focused on earning the position.
5. Do What You Say You Will Do
This will be, by far, the most important follow up. If you say that you will call them at 3, call them EXACTLY at 3. Nothing is more annoying than doing someone a favor, and having them thank you by wasting your time. I have personally seen managers ignore calls because they were 5-10 minutes late, and have no intention of calling them back.
Not only this, but when a manager hires you, he is expecting to get what you presented yourself as in the interview. Nothing is more frustrating to a manager than for a person to rave about their dedication, hard work, and organization, then having none of it when they begin the job. The best thing you can do is be honest in an interview, because the truth will come out. I know what you’re thinking; “But Kane, if I’m honest they won’t hire me.” Maybe it’s time to make yourself worth being hired, then. It is impossible to be what you told someone you would, if you do not believe it yourself.
Remember this: “Hard work beats talent every time if talent doesn’t work hard.”
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