Posts Tagged ‘job interview’

The thank-you letter is an important part of the job interviewing process, and should always be sent as soon as possible after the interview. Remember those thank you notes you had to write as a kid for the flowered footie PJs you wouldn’t be caught dead in that your ditzy aunt sent for your birthday? Well, it’s a little like that. Except you don’t want to use notepaper with baby seals on it.

Here are a few  other thank you letter don’ts (sample letters in a later post):

  • Don’t handwrite the letter. You’re not, in fact, writing a thank you note to the aforementioned ditzy aunt. You may hear conflicting views on this point, but all the employers I’ve talked with say they would view a handwritten thank you letter as unprofessional, in addition to being hard to read. And if you think you have the neatest handwriting in the world, you’re probably in denial. The exception to this is if you interview with an extremely touchy-feely, older mom-and-pop company, in which case they might actually appreciate your sending a more traditional and personal type of thank you note. Otherwise, don’t.
  • If you interview on Friday and the employer plans to make a decision by Monday or Tuesday, don’t snail mail the letter. Snail mail is okay, though usually email is preferable (especially if the interviewers are under 30 or so). If a decision is going to be made quickly, though, you want to make sure they get it before they make their choice. if you write a strong letter expressing your enthusiasm about the job and highlighting a point or two discussed during the interview that clearly illustrates how you can slay the company’s dragons, the employer may more likely hire You the Dragon Slayer than Marty the Nose Picker who was interviewed the day before.
  • Don’t just send the letter to one person if 5 people interviewed you. Make sure you get the name and contact info for everyone who participated in the interview and send them each a letter, emphasizing each interviewer’s priority and focusing on what you talked about with that person. In other words, if you interviewed with the CEO and the IT Manager for an IT position, your letter to the CEO would be more focused on the “big picture” stuff, and the one to the IT Manager more specific to the tech problems the department wants you to help them fix. If you have a group interview with the director and their staff, you can email the director and “cc” the staff (by individual name), and start the letter with, “Thank you and your staff for talking with me about the blah blah position yesterday.”
  • Don’t send the letter to the wrong person, or misspell the name. Get the right name and spelling before sending anything. Besides making a really bad impression, the person who gets your letter who never met you might think they’re having blackouts or something.
  • Don’t say bad stuff. Be positive. You want to focus on your strengths that will allow you to help the company solve their problems and are a good match with what they’re looking for. You want to talk about one or two bits of info you learned in the interview that you liked about the company. You don’t want to say, “Although I don’t have experience in blah blah blah and essentially have no clue what I’m doing, I hope you give me a chance anyway.”
  • Don’t wait too long to send the letter. If you don’t send a thank you letter for a month, even if the employer hasn’t yet hired anyone for the position, if they still remember you it won’t be fondly.
  • Don’t make it too long. You’re not Tolstoy, and the employer doesn’t want to read War & Peace. One or two non-rambling paragraphs are enough.

 

Check out Explode, a comedy thriller/mystery novel. Spontaneous human combustion, or murder?

Guest post on my talented friend Andy’s blog, Laughing in Purgatory:

http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/2010/12/job-interview-praying-aint-gonna-help.html

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/what-color-is-your-straitjacket-a-pocket-guide-to-getting-and-keeping-a-job-without-going-wacko/14265245

I’m sure you know that nonverbal cues are much more significant in terms of communication than verbal ones (according to one study at UCLA, about 93%). Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice your interview questions ad nauseum, or that you should become so obsessed with what every part of your body is doing during an interview that you become totally spastic. It does mean that you want to pay some attention to stuff like how you’re sitting, and make sure those nervous tics are in check.

Here are some nonverbal don’ts to be aware of:

  • Make sure your hands aren’t flailing all over the place as you’re talking. And especially when you’re not talking, ‘cuz that’d make you look REALLY wacko.
  • Sit up straight like your mom, dad, big brother or childhood guardian told you to. Nothing makes you look less confident than hunching over in your chair like Quasimodo in a suit.
  • Watch the nervous leg jiggle. Okay, the interviewer knows you’re a bit nervous; that’s okay. But you don’t want to look like you’re going through Xanax withdrawal.
  • For God’s sake, don’t do the “I will establish rapport with the interviewer by mirroring their body language” thing. It’s just creepy.
  • Smile naturally, but no fixed smiles like you’re a crazy person.
  • Don’t touch your face incessantly, play with your hair, or engage in other distracting nervous habits.
  • Don’t sit too casually — you know, with your legs open like you’re trying to catch a breeze, or your arm nonchalantly draped over the chair like a teenage boy on a date.
  • Look ’em in the eye. Or the eyebrow, same difference. If you don’t, you’ll look like you’re   a. pathologically shy,   b. a pathological liar, or   c. pathological in general.

Guest post on igrad.com (great site for recent grads): Interview Fashion Police – What Not to Wear – http://www.igrad.com/articles/?interview-wear-job-interview-fashion