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Post interviewing tips: How not to follow up

Here are some post-interviewing tips on the do’s and don’ts of following up.

You just interviewed for a position you really want, and you think it went really well. But before you sit back and relax, waiting for that phone to ring, there’s one more step you should take: following up with the hiring manager. Getting in touch after an interview shows good business etiquette, reinforces your interest in the position and could mean the difference between getting a job offer and never hearing back from the employer again.

But if you do it incorrectly, you could hurt your chances of landing that job. Here are some post-interviewing tips on the do’s and don’ts of following up:

Don’t rush it.
Hiring managers neither expect nor want a follow-up five minutes after the interview. Texting a “thank-you note” from the parking lot can make you come across as demanding, impatient and overly eager.

Do: Give yourself time to process what took place during the interview so your follow-up is not only gracious, but also thoughtful about the position and the conversation you had with the hiring manager.

If you’re sending a note via U.S. mail or email, try to get it out the day after the interview. If you’re planning to place a follow-up call, wait two or three days. Just make sure you don’t wait too long. You want your note or phone call to arrive at the company before the hiring committee has made up its mind about whom to hire.

Don’t make typos.
Many hiring managers disregard applications that contain mistakes, and they likewise won’t think much of a candidate who sends a follow-up note with grammatical mistakes or autocorrect fails.

Do: Check and double-check all of your correspondences with the people who interviewed you. Strong written communication abilities are a highly valued soft skill, and even one spelling error can make you look unprofessional. Remember that the purpose of a follow-up is to further convince potential employers to hire you; you don’t want to sink your chances with a poorly written message.

Don’t make it all about you.
The follow-up shouldn’t be about how well the job would mesh with your lifestyle or boost your career. As much as interviewers want to know more about you, what they’re really after is how you can benefit the company.

Do: In the note, show that you’re continuing to think about ways you would add value to the company if you were hired. Thank the hiring manager for her time, and say that you enjoyed meeting her and learning more about the position. Refer to a few things discussed during the interview and perhaps add more commentary or details. And finally, reaffirm your interest in contributing to the growth of the company.

Don’t be overly familiar.
You and the interviewer may have hit it off, but remember, this is still a business relationship. Don’t let yourself get too informal or chatty, or you’ll risk looking unprofessional.

Do: Be friendly in your follow-up, but maintain a professional demeanor. Start any written correspondence with “Dear so-and-so,” and end with “Best regards” or “Kindest regards.” Refrain from making jokes, and don’t use emoticons or casual abbreviations.

Don’t go overboard.
Whether the interview was a smashing success or a total bomb, avoid extreme emotion in your messages — it will only make you seem unstable and off-putting.

Do: Show enthusiasm, not mania. And while you want to communicate that you’re persistent, don’t pester. Two follow-ups are enough: one written message and perhaps a phone call a few days later.If you think you flubbed the interview, briefly explain that you weren’t at the top of your game and that you’d be grateful for the chance to try again. If you have nothing else to lose and you really want the job, it can’t hurt to ask graciously for a second interview.

There are no sure things in a job hunt. But by practicing these post-interviewing tips, you have the opportunity to make another great impression on a potential employer — and to help tip the scale in your favor.

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