Friday, August 7

Post-Job Interview Etiquette for Employers and Potential Employees

You’ve secured the interview and answered all the questions - or, you’ve been on the other side of the table and you’ve interviewed all the potential candidates for a job opening. Now what? Well, of course, someone gets the job, but what is the right way to handle the
follow up after a job interview? This seems to be one of the final frontiers of confusion in business communications - while you may know how to respond to a job offer or how to offer a position to someone, what do you do with all the other candidates? How do you wrap up the hiring process in a professional manner?

1. For Job Candidates: It is absolutely proper and reasonable to send a thank you card, letter, or email after an interview. Which you send will depend both on your personality and what seems appropriate for the job and culture of the company you interviewed for. If it is a highly corporate environment, then a business letter would be appropriate, while for a more casual, laid-back environment - a hand-written thank you note would be the best bet. Make sure you get the name of the person conducting the interview and address the note to them. If you are interviewed by a panel, you can either choose to do an individual letter or card to each person or address the “leader” and include the others as well. Try to get your note or letter in the mail by the next day. If you are sending an email, also get it off within twenty-four hours following the interview.

During the interview, you should be told how long the hiring process is expected to take. If you are not told, this makes a fine closing question. If you have not heard from the company after that time has passed, it is perfectly fine to make a follow-up contact to see if the position has been filled.

2. For Interviewers: It is respectful to give candidates an estimate and explanation of how long you expect to take in making your decision, whether any second or third interviews will be scheduled and how you will notify candidates. It has become increasingly common, for some reason, for
employers to make a job offer to one candidate and neglect to contact any of the other candidates following the process. In my mind, this is extremely rude and reflects poorly on the company. Each person who interviews should either receive an email, telephone call or letter telling them that the position has been filled and thanking them for making application. Even a form letter is better than nothing. If possible write a personal note of thanks on the letter from someone who participated in the interview. These acknowledgements should be sent out as soon as the position has been filled or an offer has been accepted. Think of this as not only respectful, but as good public relations for your company or business.

If for some reason the hiring process has taken longer than expected, or there has been a change in plans, let the candidates know. A simple postcard or email stating that there has been a delay and that you hope to fill the position by a certain amended date is quite professional. What you would like to avoid is candidates calling the company and asking where you are in the process - poor handling of hiring procedures will establish a reputation that will affect your company’s ability to attract good candidates for open positions.

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