Are you missing a crucial step in the interview process?

imagesAugust 29, 2014 — Today marks the last official day in my current job. Next week, I begin a new chapter and a new position (with same company), a move I have wanted to make since I started almost three years ago.

To say I am happy about the job is an understatement. You might even say I am twice as glad to be given the opportunity because when the offer was made, I learned I almost didn’t get it. The hiring manager thought that perhaps I was no longer interested because I didn’t follow up with him.

The interview process is never as quick as we’d like. I applied for the job, and weeks went by before I interviewed with a representative from HR, and then another few more weeks passed before I had the chance to meet with the hiring manager. In both interviews, I expressed my interest, I expressed it again in a second interview with the hiring manager, and in the thank you notes I had written after each round.

Before the verbal offer was made, however, the hiring manager asked if I still had interest in the position. A few more weeks had passed by this point, and by not following up after a few days, I gave the impression I may not be interested, and that I lack motivation. I had the wrong attitude, believing that the ball was in the hiring manager’s court, and it almost cost me a great opportunity. If he is interested in me as a candidate, I thought, I would hear from him. Following up seemed intrusive on his valuable time. 

“Following up on a job interview is crucial,” says Susan Adams, a career journalist at “Forbes”. “Even if you blow the interview, it pays to get in touch after the fact.”

A good way to tackle the issue upfront, according to career coach David Couper, is to ask at the end of the interview how he or she would like to stay in touch. It shows you are a professional.

Some career experts believe that the follow-up is more important than the interview, and how you follow up is key. You don’t want to become a burden and stand out for the wrong reason. Follow up tastefully. If, for example, the hiring manager tells you he or she is looking to make a decision within a week, it is proper to follow up with a simple e-mail message after that week has passed with a note asking for an update.

Since the follow up is a step in the hiring process that I never took seriously, I’m grateful this happened, that the hiring manager voiced his concern, and most of all that he didn’t hold it against me. I consider it a good lesson learned.

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