In a competitive job market, getting an interview is an achievement in itself. Now that you’ve got the employer’s attention, how can you ensure that you make the best impression in person? In the third of a three-part series, Matt Moody looks at how to follow up after an interview
The French call it L’esprit de l’escalier – even if you feel the interview went perfectly, there’ll always be something you think of afterwards that you wish you’d said. Is there anything that can be done?
“It’s certainly acceptable to send an email afterwards with some extra thoughts – within reason,” says Lauren Edwards, planning management consultant at recruitment consultancy Oyster Partnership.
“Directors and heads of department have busy schedules, so don’t badger them. But a single email with a few questions, some extra thoughts or even examples of your work can be worthwhile.”
Greg Dowden, associate director at Indigo Planning, recommends a request for feedback. “[It] shows that you care about the result of the interview,” he says. “The real question when it comes to following up is ‘How soon is too soon?’. You should only ask when you know the outcome of the interview.”
Edwards agrees that following up too soon can seem “desperate and annoying”, but not that you should only follow up after the company’s decision. “It’s best to leave it two to three days. Even though some companies don’t provide feedback, you are entitled to ask for it.
If you’re offered the job – congratulations! The hard part is over, but the question of accepting and negotiating remains. “Make sure you accept or decline in a timely manner,” says Dowden. “Prolonging this process will come across as unprofessional.”
Edwards agrees: “Be considerate – bear in mind the company will almost definitely have a second choice candidate. It’s fine to ask for a few days to think about your decision, but you should agree a deadline and stick to it.”
- When negotiating salary, be honest about past earnings – your new employer will find out as soon as they receive your P45.
- Always ask for feedback – if you don’t receive an offer you can use the advice to improve at your next interview.
Lauren Edwards is a planning management consultant at Oyster Partnership.
Greg Dowden is an associate director at Indigo Planning.