In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
When you interview, you should always follow up with your interviewer(s) to thank them—and we repeat “always”! In doing so, you will have an opportunity to show that you were an active listener and internalized your interview, while also revealing some basic standards of courtesy and respect. So, when you follow up with your note (and by “note,” we mean email!), it needs to contain some specific content that relates to the experience itself. Let’s consider two approaches….
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me earlier today. I appreciate your giving me a chance to discuss my fit with your firm and the skills that I would bring to the table. I enjoyed learning about your history with your firm and its strengths and even its challenges. I look forward to learning more and appreciate your connecting me with your colleague.
Oh, Robert! You may have actually meant what you just wrote, but it came across so completely generically that Janet could not possibly have believed that you were listening or trying to make an impression! Instead of this pitiable attempt, you might offer some details that make it clear that you were present:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me earlier today—I appreciated your candor in discussing the challenges facing your industry, but it is clear from our discussion that your team is taking an aggressive stance in defending its market share. I am hopeful that I can bring my background in big data analytics to help you take customer acquisition to a deeper level. As you suggested, I have already followed up with your colleague to schedule a time to meet with his team.
In the latter example, Robert peppers his letter with specifics that reveal that he was actively listening—that he was and is interested. Simple phrases like “candor in discussing challenges facing your industry” and “take customer acquisition to the next level” prove that Robert was engaged. In a mere three sentences, with this thoughtful note, Robert has sent a clear and concise message! Interviewing for business school? The same rules apply: make specific statements about your conversation and make a much more memorable impression!