By JENNIFER SHRYOCK
Congratulations! You survived your job interview. It’s time to head to your favorite happy hour and celebrate, leaving your fate in the hands of the hiring gods, right? Cheers!
But wait. What if you could do something more to impress your target employer? What if you could guarantee yourself a second interview? Would you do it? Of course you would! You want this job!
Most people complete their interview and move on. Only ten percent even write a Thank You Note!
You could take it even further.
Secure a Second Interview with this Secret Step
How can you get a guaranteed second interview? You can’t! Even if you felt you interviewed well, they might not call you back. And if you know you didn’t nail it, you know you won’t get the call.
Make an extra effort. Take a chance. Pick yourself! (Remember Seth Godin’s Poke the Box? If you need some motivation, read my review here. You’ll get fired up! Fortune favors the brave!)
Give yourself a second interview by writing an in-depth follow up letter. Let’s call it the Second Interview Letter.
If you interviewed well, this is your opportunity to bring it home, tying up loose ends, summarizing how you heard their needs, and showing that you are eager to address those needs. If you fear you didn’t interview well, this is your chance to improve on your performance.
Improve on Your Interview
Consider what you learned during your interview. What problems do they need solved? What questions seemed most important to your interviewers? Were there questions you didn’t answer well?
Research answers to anything you didn’t know. Identify how you can offer solutions to the problems the interviewers presented, implied, or might not even recognize. If they made an off-hand remark about some issue, can you determine a solution?
Second Interview Letter Secrets
Write your Second Interview Letter on the same Letterhead as your Cover Letter and Resume.
Mention that you enjoyed meeting your interviewers (list them as addressees) and what inspired you during the interview.
Be polite and concise, but show your enthusiasm! Impress them with your tireless commitment to completing any task, even those that aren’t assigned (like this one). This exercise demonstrates that you hold yourself to high standards.
Most importantly, the point of the Second Interview Letter is to demonstrate how you can meet their needs. Every single sentence should be directed to the employer, the firm’s needs, and the solutions you offer. Exhibit your excellent listening skills by addressing what they said to you in the interview.
Proof your letter and then proof it again. This is your chance to show your standards of excellence, so be sure it is your best effort.
Send (or better still, deliver) your letter the same day as your interview, if possible.
It Takes Effort. That’s the Point!
This is more than a Thank You Note. A handwritten thank you will set you apart from your competition, so by all means send one. But a Second Interview Letter is so much more.
This is your venue to demonstrate to your future employer your awareness of their business and what you can offer them, your listening and problem-solving skills, and your willingness to research and complete every task to the highest standards.
Think about it: Employers want to hire candidates who will do a great job and go the extra mile. The Second Interview Letter is a great way to show them you’ll do just that and you’ll do it promptly. You can write it up while your competition are drinking martinis, or praying to the hiring gods, or trying to forget about their interviews altogether.
Got an interview question or story? We’d love to hear it—just write it in the box below!
Get more work and interview tips from Jennifer Shryock: Three Simple Tips to an Effective Job Introduction, The Job Interview: It’s Not Coffee Talk, and Work Wisdom from Age-Old Mom-isms.
See The “Work It” Archive for more posts related to employment, finding a job, and doing well in interviews.
Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Jennifer@rainmakerresume.com. Make her blog a regular part of your job search.