You just finished an interview. It went really well, you are super excited and can’t wait to hear whether you move on to the next steps or, better yet, get the job offer.
So what do you do? Do you go home and wait? Maybe apply to some other jobs just in case?
Do you send a thank you email to your interviewers?
Probably not. How do I know? I spent 15 years recruiting, and I know that the majority of the people I interviewed did not email me. I also know from Hiring Managers that they don’t receive too many.
Which shocks me. This is job search 101, isn’t it? But I think most people think it is a worthless exercise.
But it isn’t.
What it does is shows you want this job. It acts as a reminder of why you are a great fit for the job, how you connected with your interviewer and keeps you in their mind.
And it only takes a minute or two of your time. So well worth it!
Another reason why people don’t do it, is they just don’t know how. What should they write, when should they send it and who should they send it to?
Well I’m here to break all that down for you, to make it even easier and to arm you all the answers to these questions.
What Should I Write?
So I'm going to make this really easy for you, I'm going to give you the perfect thank you email template that you can customize:
Opening Paragraph – thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Throw in a compliment or reference some shared hobby/experience/person.
2nd paragraph – how you are the best fit for the role with an outline of 3 skills/experience that you bring to the table, if you can tie it into a current problem or challenge that they are facing, then even better! You can also throw in a quick example of how your skill set, knowledge and experience will help you exceed their expectations.
Final paragraph – talk about how excited you are to join their team and finish with a call to action (scheduling next steps or offer).
When Do you Send it?
There are a lot of opinions out there on when. I recommend sending it 24-48 hours later (unless you have some other intel that would change that up).
And I have some very specific reasons for this and it all has to do with psychology! I’m going to lay it all out here from the interviewer’s perspective (a perspective I know well since I’ve interviewed SO MANY candidates!)
As an interviewer, when you have a great interview you leave it on a high note and you feel so excited. So while it wouldn’t hurt to receive a thank you letter shortly after the interview, the significance of the value added isn’t maximized.
The next day that excitement has waned, it has nothing to do with the candidate and more to do with just normal human emotions. And each day that goes on it decreases. But getting a well crafted thank you email will remind you of the great connection you had and bring back those feelings of excitement maximizing the significance of the thank you email value.
Now when I talk about other intel – I'm thinking about the timing of your interview and other interviews.
If you interview on a Friday and it went amazing, send the Thank You email on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. So 24-48 business hours after and ensuring it doesn’t get lost in a bunch of email if the hiring manager doesn’t check over the weekend.
If they mention the timing of other candidate interviews then be very strategic in when you email them that thanks. Say you interview on a Thursday and they mention that it may be a week or two for you to get feedback as they are interviewing candidates the end of next week then I would send the Thank You email the Wednesday. That way you are reminding them of how wonderful you are right before they are going in to more interviews.
Who do you send it to?
Every single person that interviewed you. And you would create a personalized email for each (don’t send 1 thank you email to 2-3 interviewers).
If you don’t have their email addresses, you have a few options. The first would be to email the person who coordinated the interviews (typically a recruiter) to ask them to forward the email on. If you know of anyone’s email addresses within the organization, you can use the same format to email directly. Or you could hit up LinkedIn and send a connection request!
A thank you email is such a small thing and only takes a few minutes of your time. The benefit it adds to your job search is tremendous. It increases the likelihood of you getting hired. But it also opens up a dialogue meaning that it increases the likelihood that if you don’t get the job that you can receive feedback and even maybe convert the relationship into a networking one!
The weakness question. One of the most feared and misunderstood questions. Yes it is cliché, but that doesn’t mean it is going to go away. In fact what I have seen throughout my 15 years of recruitment is that the weakness question has evolved and that also means the expectations of a candidate and their answer have evolved too.
Just to clear the air, the weakness question is not meant to get you to show how you are NOT the right person for the job, it isn't a trick question meant to trip you up! It is a question to figure out your ability to recognize a weakness, problem or obstacle, come up with a plan to mitigate or overcome the issue and then move forward successfully.
It is a self-awareness question.
And right now the work world is changing drastically. The need has increased for management to focus on high level strategic thinking and not hand holding their employees. Employees who more and more are working from home. Therefore, organizations need to know that they can count on you to notice a problem before it grows into something that has wider ramifications. That is why this question is so important.
I want you to improve your interview skills and show you the key answers to avoid giving so that a recruiter is not rolling their eyes at your answer (it happens, trust me) and eliminating you as a potential fit for the role.
1. Strength wearing a Weakness Mask
The weakness that is not really a weakness. This was what we used to coach individuals on how to answer this (and how some still coach – but please DO NOT listen to them!). Like I mention above, recruiters, hiring managers and organizations want MORE now. And this answer doesn’t tell them how you actually deal with the difficult times that are sure to come and that are a normal part of a career. What it does tell them is that you are either a “smooth talker” always trying to talk your way out of situations or someone who lets others do the fixing for them.
2. “I’m a perfectionist, a workaholic, scared of public speaking”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of the above I would be one rich lady. These are so overused! So even if these are your weaknesses, you can’t use them. Well, you can’t use them with these words, there is another way to handle it but that is a recruiter secret for next week. Using one of these common answers tells the interviewer that you are unimaginative and that you just googled a answer.
3. A Hard Skill
Hard skills are something that anyone can learn and overcome. Yes it may be easier for others but think about it, how easy to realize you aren’t good at a technology or a hard skill! Does it actually take some self-awareness? Not really. So what it tells the recruiter is that your Emotional Intelligence is low and that you would rather look at easy things to fix instead of the hard work required to overcome a soft skill weakness.
4. Not My Fault
This type of answer is rage inducing as a interviewer. It is defensive, it puts the blame onto others, and it makes you look bad. Make sure you aren’t using the words “it wasn’t my fault”, “it seemed to my boss that I”, “I was surprised that my manager had that feedback as…” – all of those mean that someone else’s perception is faulty, not you. It tells the hiring manager that you don’t take accountability for your actions, that you will always point fingers and that you are clueless.
5. I don’t really have a weakness
Major eyeroll. Honestly this was so annoying as a recruiter to hear this, even if it was a joke! I couldn’t help but think I was dealing with someone who was truly delusional. Everyone has a weakness. Everyone.
So if you can’t use any of those to create an answer well then what can you use?
An honest answer.
One that talks about an obstacle you faced in your career. Maybe you received feedback from a boss on how you handled a client, or maybe you made the wrong choice in a key decision or maybe you failed in some way.
Tell them about that time. And then about what you did to overcome it. Finish with how this helped mold you to become the person you are today.
That is a formula that is sure to show that you are self-aware, that you own up to your own actions and are willing to do what it takes to succeed, even if it means doing a lot of work on yourself.
If you need more help, schedule a Discover Your Career strategy call with me or think about Interview Coaching - your dream job is worth the investment.
Remember when you were a kid. Bedtime was the worst, wasn’t it. Especially when the lights went out and the monsters came out. Especially the ones that lived under your bed, or in your closet or in the shadows on the wall.
Do you remember screaming for your parents who would slowly and bedrugingly come into room? They would turn on the lights and those shadow turned out to be innocent pieces of furniture, when you looked underneath your bed there were no monsters just long lost and dusty toys and your closet? Only full of clothes.
The job search can feel like those monsters. It can leave you feeling stressed out and discouraged. And can leave you spending hours on Indeed throwing resumes out there in the hopes of finding something as a way to avoid this scary beast that is the job search! But it is the unknown that is so terrifying but once you turn the lights on it becomes less scary. In fact it becomes something manageable and doable.
Knowing the steps and what is to come is key to turn that big scary monster into some innocent thing! Plus moving through the job search in a more structured and intentional way will give you more control over the job search.
That is why I created The Job Search Roadmap. This is a roadmap that goes over every single step of the job search giving you a sense of what is to come, giving you a plan of action to follow and leaving you feeling empowered instead of discouraged.
This step is vital. It allows you to figure you who you are (and what your superpower is) and also digs into your skills, interests and motivations. It then allow you to create your Career Map – what your goals are and what options exist right now to get you on the path to those goals.
2. Marketing Plan
During a job search you become your own product and you are selling and marketing yourself to potential networking connections and potential employers. Think about the message you want to convey. Write your modern, foundational resume and cover letter. Practice your elevator pitch. And don’t forget your social media strategy.
3. The Job Search
A lot of work comes before you even get to this! But all that work helps prepare you for putting yourself out there. Networking is key since three-quarters of jobs are found this way so figuring out any events, setting up some informational interviews, leveraging LinkedIn – all these different networking types will help you make connections. I don’t want you to ignore job boards, just come up with a plan to use them to actually get a job, go to career fairs if it makes sense and get used to dealing with recruitment agencies.
4. Getting Hired
The best part of the process. It all starts with the interview – prepare to answer those two common yet dreaded questions, deal with those nerves and get ready to shine. Figure out your bottom line so when that offer comes in you know how to get your worth.
I’ve made this even easier for you. The most popular free resource I’ve created is a 5 day email course on The Job Search Roadmap. Each day you get an email expanding each step with vital information to get you noticed, creating connections and finding your way to that dream career.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
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