Job Interview Over? 8 Ways To Seal The Deal

Last Updated Aug 8, 2011 7:46 AM EDT

We all know the feeling. You've finished your job interview, you're in the elevator on your way out, and you're analyzing your performance. Before you get carried away with counting the awkward pauses (or patting yourself on the back and planning your new office decor), you have work left to do. Here are 8 ways you can still spin your interview in a positive way. If it went well, you'll simply be starting your new job off on the right foot. And if the interview went poorly, following these tips should help keep your hat in the ring for another round.

1. Write A Thank You Email Now... Your thank you note should be two things -- specific, and timely. "Sending a vanilla, mass thank you email to the three people you've met with, three days after the meeting, is a big boo-boo," says career coach Jenny Foss. "If you want to make a great closing statement, you send a specific, conversational, customized message to each person you met with, within a few hours of the meeting."

2. ...Followed By A Snail Mail Version Later There's some debate over email versus old school thank-you notes, and personally, I do both. If the decision has to be made ASAP, your snail mail version may be worthless, but many managers still like it. Charles Purdy, senior editor and career expert at Monster.com, agrees: "Consider the company's culture when deciding between a mailed letter and an email -- but it doesn't hurt to send both," says Purdy. Your post-interview thank-you letter should have three parts, he adds: "Thank the interviewer. Reiterate why you're a good fit. And close by saying you're looking forward to the next step."

3. Address Any Issues That Came Up One of the worst feelings after an interview is that something got misconstrued, so feel free to clarify. But don't sweat the small stuff, which could backfire. "If your reason for thinking you blew the interview is something minor, like spilling your coffee, ignore it -- if you draw attention to your embarrassment about little things, it might lead the person to think you're too insecure," says Purdy.

4. Give Them Something Valuable If you asked the right questions and listened well during your interview, you likely discovered certain needs of the company. Use this to add extra oomph to your thank-you note, suggests certified efficiency coach Laura Rose: "Give back something of value to them that illustrates your expertise or credibility." One way to do this? Name specific ideas you have for the company, how you produced similar things in the past, and pinpoint how you'll help them reach their goals.

5. Above All, Be Brief However you communicate, know that your primary chance to talk was in the interview -- and whatever you do afterward needs to be short and sweet. "Nothing is more risky than a long email. Your follow up/thank you communication should be no more than 10 lines," says management psychologist Karissa Thacker, Phd.

6. Tell Your Network How It Went If you really want the job, tell anyone in your network who is connected to the hiring manager or company, focusing on how and why it's a good fit. And avoid saying anything negative: "Assume whatever you say will get back to the decision makers," says Ronald Kaufman, author of Anatomy of Success.

7. Leave The Door Open Didn't get the job? You still got in the door -- and that definitely counts for something. "Thank them for letting you know and let them know you're still interested in a career with their company," says Kaufman.

8. Call If You Must, But Use Caution Finally, the phone question. I received a few different responses to this, but the general rule is, if they tell you they'll call by such and such day and you don't hear anything by then, follow up (again, be brief, polite, positive, and to the point). But don't jump the gun by contacting them before that time.

What are your thoughts on the phone follow up? Yay or nay? And how do YOU "seal the deal" post-interview? Please share your experience in the comments section below.

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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