2 minute read

Follow-Up Letter Follies

Do Not Shoot Yourself In The Foot

Job Seeker's Story

Mark, a medical-products Sales Manager, was sure he had aced his interview with a medical-equipment distributor. After all, he and the Vice President of Sales really hit it off; so much so, they had a three-and-a-half-hour interview! Mark knew the importance of following up after the interview and immediately sent the VP a faxed thank-you letter.

When Mark did not hear back from the VP after one week, he followed up again with a phone call and left a message expressing his interest in the position and inquiring about when the hiring decision would be made. With no response from the VP, Mark continued to leave phone and e-mail messages, and even followed up with mailed copies of his original faxed thank-you letter.

After four weeks of no communication from the interviewer, Mark decided he had to bring the process to conclusion. He penned the following letter to the VP of Sales:

For the past four weeks I have tried repeatedly using various methods to contact you and get an update on our interview outcome. I can only assume since you spent 3 ½ hours with me that you have an interest in my qualifications. Since you will not respond, I want to encourage you by sending along with this letter a $5.00 bill. This should motivate you to respond to me. Everybody is motivated by money.

Mark felt this last-attempt letter would surely result in a positive response—a job offer. To his surprise, Mark never heard from the interviewer concerning his job status and never saw his $5 bill again.

Job Seeker's Stumble

Altough Mark was meeting his need to bring conclusion to the interview process, he did so in a way that was confrontational and derogatory. Beware of offending the interviewer by making assumptions about the interviewer's motives for not responding or by attempting a “bribe” to expedite the decision-making process.

Job Seeker's New Strategy

Waiting to hear back from the hiring authority after an interview can be an excruciating experience, primarily because the locus of control is out of your hands. Do what you can to positively influence the hiring decision by staying in touch via alternating one-way (letters, e-mails, and faxes) and two-way (phone calls) communications. Do not bribe, cajole, reprimand, or instruct the interviewer in what you believe should be appropriate action.

In your follow-up letters you may want to include well-researched company and industry information to further illustrate your intense interest in the company and to point out additional examples of skills and accomplishments that make you a top-notch candidate. Your phone messages can be brief and businesslike, requesting feedback on your status and offering to provide additional proof of suitability and references.

After four to six weeks with no feedback whatsoever from the interviewer, the likelihood exists that you are no longer in the running. Do not rely on one interview, no matter how promising, to deter you from continuing in your job search. If you pursue other job leads and go on interviews, even while you are awaiting a final decision, you will feel more in control of your job search fate. Most of all, you will be less likely to “shoot yourself in the foot” with a last-ditch, desperate attempt at closure.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesJob Search, Job Interview Questions, & Job Interview TipsFollow-Up Letter Follies - Creativity Goes Over The Top And Out The Door, Do Not Shoot Yourself In The Foot