Q: About a month ago, I had a good interview with a company downtown. I took a whole Friday off for the interview. I thought I would receive an offer. The following week, I emailed my contact. I received a reply that someone else was hired, and they determined that the other candidate (who was hired) wanted the job more than I did. I am just so confused and disappointed. I wanted that job more (probably). I can’t have this happen again. I really need a job and I am distraught.
A: I am thrilled that you submitted this question. If you are interested in a job, you have to show it! Do not wait. As soon as you arrive back home, you should be emailing a thank-you note. Don’t wait! Don’t ever wait if you think this is the ideal role for you. I hear from some candidates, “I didn’t want to seem desperate.” Or “I wanted to play ‘hard to get’ with them.” I view both perspectives as a mistake. Loudly and clearly tell this employer that you are interested. I think your actions need to match your interest level. If you are interested in a job, I would not email a thank-you note from my phone in the elevator on the way out. What I would do though is to compose a neat, grammatically correct thank-you email that same day. Not the next day, or the following week, but within the day.
Many of us work in environments where we are accessing emails after hours. Job seekers should too. I know some job seekers will grimace at this suggestion, but this is the reality of smart phones and technology.
You raise my number one frustration with candidates: unresponsiveness. I understand that job seekers feel this too. I have heard a thousand times from job seekers that they submit a resume and never hear back. I understand that frustration. I am not excusing it but, now with technology, it is much easier to submit a resume. Sometimes we have 12 jobs posted and we get the same resume for all 12! I call these candidates “perpetual posters” and they can delay our ability to efficiently screen candidates, who are truly qualified. There are some job seekers who use the strategy of “apply to everything and see what might stick.” I don’t think that is an effective strategy. However, when I reach out to a candidate, and it may be on a weekend, I do expect a response within 24 hours. It demonstrates interest! If you have a serious interest in a role, send a thank-you email quickly. Follow up the next week. Behave in a way that demonstrates you are enthusiastic and excited about the role!
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.