Thank You For Interviewing Me

Thank You NoteClients frequently ask me if they should send a follow-up thank you note after an interview and if so, what should be included in it.

Years and years ago (OK, more years than I care to admit), when I first graduated from college, I was told to send thank you notes after interviews. My response, “They should be thanking me for the opportunity to interview me!” For those of you who don’t know me, I’m not really that cocky and arrogant, but I may have been when I first graduated. Isn’t everyone?

Since that time, I’ve changed my tune significantly. A follow-up thank you note is a must.  Whether you aced the interview or felt there was room for improvement, the follow-up letter gives you the opportunity to either re-emphasize your strengths or to address and fix any weaknesses that may have come up during the interview.

While what you include in the letter will largely depend on what was covered in the interview, there are two must haves:

1. Thanking the potential employer for taking the time to meet with you,  and

2. Telling them how excited you are about the opportunity.

The variable part of the letter depends on what came out of the interview. Was there a skill set in which the potential employer seemed particularly interested, an important need or goal they mentioned that you could help them attain. If so, re-emphasizing how you will bring that skill to bear to help them achieve their goal is an excellent addition to the thank you note.

The follow-up note is also an opportunity to set the record straight if you didn’t answer a question as well as you would have liked. Sometimes nerves take their toll and your tongue gets tied or your memory wigs out, the letter is your chance to craft the perfect answer that you meant to give, but didn’t.

Has anyone not gotten the job because they didn’t send a thank you note? Well, I’ve talk to some hiring managers who’ve said that it’s not a deal breaker, however, when there’s been a close decision between two candidates, the one who made the extra effort to send the note got the job.

Just think of it as a marketing opportunity, a final sales pitch about what a perfect match you are for the position and how much you can benefit the company.





Compensation: If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

CompensationIt’s that time of the year again, when thoughts are turning to Black Friday, the beginning of the mad holiday shopping rush. Children everywhere are putting together their wish lists, but the questions is, have you put together yours?

Several of my clients are in the midst of negotiating compensation packages, what a nice present to enter the holiday season. But just as a child puts together a wish list for his or her holiday gifts, so too should you have a wish list for your own gift that keeps on giving . . .  your compensation package.

1. Putting together the list

When thinking about what you’d like to ask for in the negotiation (or what you’d like to counter with) make a list of what it would take for you to accept the position in the prospective company. Remember to include base salary, bonus, singing bonus, benefits (all too important these days), stock options and vacation time.

2. Do your research

It’s much easier to negotiate if you’ve researched the market and found out what companies are paying for professionals and executives in similar positions. That gives you a more compelling and dispassionate argument for getting what you feel you deserve. Fair market value makes business sense. Remember, if a company appreciates and wants to hire and keep your talent and expertise, they will be willing to pay for it.

3. The compensation package is just that, a total package

The compensation package goes far beyond just base salary. When negotiating, remember to look at the total package. That gives you more flexibility in the negotiation. Not only that, each of us has different wants, needs and motivations. For some, a generous salary base is most desirable, while for others it’s the challenge of a start-up with huge potential upside based on having a piece of the company pie.

4. Get the offer in writing

It’s always important to get the offer in writing, but even more so when you’re negotiating an executive compensation package. There are a lot of elements that go into these packages and you certainly don’t want anything falling through the cracks.

5. The negotiation should be a win-win

The person you’re negotiating with is someone that you’ll be working with in the future, therefore you don’t want the transaction to be contentious. That means you should ask for what you want rather than make demands. Making demands and becoming emotional could lead to an offer being withdrawn.

The compensation package is the gift that keeps on giving. Going in the door is the time to get your best package and always remember . . . if you don’t ask, you don’t get.


3 Common Job Interviewing Mistakes

Interview TipsYou’ve done it! You’ve sent your well-written, tailored cover letter and resume into a job posting or perhaps you’ve networked with a friend or former colleague and you’ve managed to land that coveted interview. Now what?

I’ve worked with hundreds of people and most of them tell me that they’re great at interviewing, they just need to get in front of the hiring manager and they’ll land the job. It’s only a handful that will admit they need help with the interview process.

In my experience, the majority of people could use some help with their interviewing skills. After all, it’s not something that we do everyday (and if you are doing it every day and not getting the job, then we need to talk).

When interviewing, there are minor mistakes that probably won’t cost you the job, but there are major ones that will prevent you from landing the position or being called back for a second interview. The following are three of the most common interviewing mistakes:

1. Assuming it’s all about you.

The interview is not about your own wants and needs. The focus of the interview should be on the needs of the organization with whom you’re interviewing. Your aim in the interview process is to find out the company’s goals and objectives and then tell the interviewer the ways in which you can help them achieve those goals. It’s a good idea to have stories about your past accomplishments that you can relate to the interviewer, this will demonstrate your past successes and how they can apply to your future performance with that company.

2. Not asking questions.

Not asking questions is the number two biggest interviewing mistake. By inquiring about the goals and objectives of the company, as they relate to the position for which you’re applying, you can better assess what the company’s needs are and focus your answers on those skill sets.

Not only will asking questions better enable you to answer questions, having intelligent questions about the company and position will show your high level of interest in the organization. It will demonstrate your eagerness to work with them by showing that you’ve put time and energy into researching and learning about the company.

3. Not listening.

Asking questions is great, but then you must listen to the answers and react to them. Yes, it could mean changing your game plan and shifting your focus, but that’s the point. Listening is as important a skill as speaking in an interview. Oftentimes the person conducting the interview will give you clues as to how to best present yourself. The interview should be a conversation, an exchange of ideas.

A good thing to remember when you’re interviewing is that the company wants to hire you. They’re almost as interested in ending their search for a candidate as you are in finding a job. In advance of an interview, be sure to research the company, look your best and avoid making the three top interviewing mistakes.