Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Follow Up After a Job Interview without Coming off Like a Stalker

“Morning Karen! I just wanted to personally thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule yesterday to talk to me about the Senior Toilet Cleaning position with The Packlebush Proctology Clinic.

After speaking with you and the group – and considering the other four loser applicants I saw in the waiting room – I believe I’d be the perfect candidate for the job.

And I hope you don’t mind, but I’m currently camping out in the parking lot of your office, halfway through a two-liter of Mountain Dew and a box of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. I’m eagerly anticipating your decision. When do I start?”


And you were wondering why you heard police sirens in the distance.

LESSON LEARNED: There’s a fine line.

Between enthusiasm and desperation.
Between needing a job and being needy.
Between demonstrating initiative and deserving a restraining order.

Today we’re going to explore five ways to follow up after a job interview without coming off like a stalker:

1. Be persistent – not pushy. Pushy leads to suspicion. Suspicion lower trust. And lower trust forces people to check you off. Here’s how to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

First, understand the difference. The word “pushy” actually means “obnoxiously forward or self-assertive.” The word “persistent” actually means “insistently repetitive or continuous.”

Next, the (real) secret isn’t just being persistent – but demonstrating a valid motivation FOR your persistence. Otherwise you come off like a try-hard, working overtime to drum up rapport.

Remember: Following up for the sake of follow up is time wasting and sour tasting. Are you pushy or persistent?

2. Use gentle reminders. You don’t want to be a pest. But you do want to follow up in a non-threatening, non overly salesy and value-driven way. For example, let’s say a certain prospect hasn’t returned your calls or emails. Maybe she’s busy. Maybe she forgot to reply. Maybe she has more important tasks to get to that week.

No problem. Your mission is to gently remind that person who you are and how you uniquely deliver value. Consider sending a link to a relevant blog post you read. Or, better yet, send a link to a relevant blog post YOU wrote.

Wait: You are blogging, right?

Remember: Gentle reminders sure beat leaving another annoying, predictable and unremarkable voicemail saying, “Hey Mark, did you get a chance to look at my resume?” Are you gently reminding people?

3. Strategic subject lines. Since you will most likely be following up via email, remember to use engaging, noticeable and emotional headlines. That’s how people will decide whether to open or delete your message.

Fortunately, that’s also the secret to immediately differentiate your letter in their inbox. Here are a few examples:

*You were right
*I need your help
*I took your advice
*Your ears should be ringing
*I need your opinion on something
*I did what you said - and it worked!
*Somebody paid you a compliment yesterday
*Here are five lessons you taught me during yesterday’s interview...

Remember: The subject line is the most important component of your follow up email. How will your message stand out among the other 397 they received that week?

4. Grow bigger ears. Also for your follow-up thank you note, don’t just gush about how grateful you were to have had the opportunity to connect. And don’t just morph your message into mini-movie trailer summarizing why you’re so awesome.

Instead, PROVE to people that you – unlike every other sub-par candidate they met that day – were the one person who (actually) listened to them. Suggestion: Attach a copy of your notes. I do this daily with prospects who inquire about booking me as a speaker for their conferences, and have discovered several benefits to doing do.

First, taking notes is proof. That you’re actually interested. That you’re actually paying attention. And that you’re actually making an attempt to understand (not just) what they’re saying; but also what they’re trying to communicate.

Next, taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Because they’re worth capturing. Because they’re worth considering. Because they’re worth saving and revisiting for further contemplation.

Finally, taking notes is respectful and reinforces openness. Because you allow people to see how they affect you. Because you allow people to experience that they can change your mind. And because you allow people to come back to you in the future with their ideas. How will you use your ears as a follow up tool?

5. Amplify your assertiveness when needed. If you’ve attempted to contact someone and that person hasn’t gotten back to you yet, it means one of three things:

(a) He never got your message.
(b) He did get your message, but has been too busy (or forgot) to reply to you.
(c) He did get your email, but chose not to reply to you because you’re not a good fit for the job. Or he suspects you’re having an affair with his wife.

Here’s what I suggest. Send a friendly follow up email or voicemail saying:

“Morning Tom! Looks like it’s been difficult for us to connect lately. Look: I don’t want to be an annoyance. Still, I do want you to know that I’m nothing less than completely professional in my follow up. So, if you would kindly pick from one of the following options – that would be great:

(a) Yes! I would love to chat on the following date
(b) Right now I’m totally slammed, so I’ll get back to you by ______
(c) If I get one more message from you, I’m calling security.

Thanks Tom. I’ll be standing by."


If, after both of these attempts, you still haven’t heard back, it’s highly probably that Tom doesn’t like you. Or his wife squealed. Time to get over it and move on. How assertive are you willing to be?

REMEMBER: There’s a fine line between following up and stalking.

Don’t violate people’s boundaries.

Otherwise, Senior Toilet Cleaner might be the only position left.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you following up or stalking?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!