Nursing Interviews: Basic Post-Interview Etiquette
Some job seekers might be hindering their chances of receiving offers by failing to follow some very basic steps after the interview has taken place. The purpose of this article is to discuss the basics of post-interview etiquette.
Many job seekers become elated after having been granted that prized interview. After all, it is extremely easy for our online applications and electronically-submitted resumes to forever disappear into cyberspace without notice, so we are naturally pleased when human resources personnel or recruiters call us to schedule the much-coveted interview.
However, the interview should be viewed as getting half a foot into the door because impressing the interviewer(s) might not always be enough to push you past that invisible gate. In addition to making a wonderful first impression on the people who interview you, some basic post-interview etiquette is in order. Without further delay, here is a list of the steps that an applicant should take after the interview ends.
Learn the names, official titles, and contact information of the interviewers.
This step can be easily accomplished by asking for personal business cards immediately after your interview concludes. If the individual or people who interviewed you do not have any business cards available, do not be shy about jotting their names and email addresses down onto a piece of paper that you brought.
Write a thank-you note.
A well-written thank-you note will reaffirm your seriousness and interest in the position. The purpose of the thank-you note is to thank the interviewers and company for their time and interest in you as an applicant. Thank-you notes must be short (preferably no longer than a small paragraph) and should quickly get to the point. Time is of the essence, so prepare your thank-you note no later than 24 hours after your interview ends.
Sending the note via email is perfectly acceptable. Furthermore, an emailed thank-you note can quickly be distributed to other recruiters, nurse managers, or anyone else who might have input in the company's hiring decisions. If you get the hunch that the person who interviewed you is the traditional type who prefers pen-and-paper memos, feel free to write your thank-you note in a tasteful greeting card or on professional stationary and mail it.
Follow up without bombarding anyone.
Wait approximately one week to send an email or place a phone call to follow up with your interviewers if they have not given you a specific time frame. If they have specifically said, "You should hear something by the end of the week," follow whatever time frame they have given. Do not bombard the people who interviewed you with multiple phone calls before the first week has elapsed.Last edit by Joe V on Jan 8, '15
About TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.
TheCommuter has '11' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 36 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 38,035; Likes: 69,156.Jul 2, '12What if an interviewer does not want to give a timeline for when I would hear back from them? It's been two weeks since I interviewed with two managers at the massive interview fair for new grads. Would it be acceptable to call or email the two managers now?Jul 2, '12Quote from whichone'spinkIf the person or people who interviewed you did not provide a specific time frame on when you'd hear something, it is standard to wait approximately one week before sending an email or placing a phone call to follow up with them.What if an interviewer does not want to give a timeline for when I would hear back from them? It's been two weeks since I interviewed with two managers at the massive interview fair for new grads. Would it be acceptable to call or email the two managers now?
The most important thing is to follow-up without harassing, stalking, or otherwise annoying the heck out of the people at the company.Jul 2, '12As far as massive job fairs go, you did not interview, you did a meet and greet chat.
Nothing usually comes out of these (sorry) as they are just a marketing opportunity/community service for the hospitals. So ...you have nothing to loose if you email the person you talked to ASAP and this time write a cover letter like you would in a formal application. In the first paragraph brief the person that you met her on such and such date, while you were attending the bogus career event at such and such city. Then go into your cover letter guts. At the end mention the things she told you that are right in line with your career goals, yada yada, and that you would love a chance to have a formal interview.... also include your resume.Jul 2, '12It was more or less an interview, though not like a real interview. The managers I talked to had a questionnaire, and rated answers on a scale of 1-5. And both managers took a copy of my resume. Would it be overkill to attach my resume again? I don't want to unwittingly annoy them. It's not true that this was a bogus event. I know people that were hired through these fairs. It's the only way to get a job in this hospital system.
I sent a thank you email to both managers interviewed, as well as a formal thank you card. That might have been overkill. Alas, no response. I will call later this week if I don't hear anything back.Jul 2, '12Quote from whichone'spinkI would attach the resume again. After all, what's the worst thing that could happen if you do this? As far as I am concerned, you have nothing to lose by reattaching your resume.Would it be overkill to attach my resume again?Jul 2, '12True. Besides, the way the Board of Nursing is, it will be several weeks before my license posts after I pass the NCLEX (that is IF I do). I may not be eligible for the July cohort despite my efforts. Sending a long cover letter style email could keep me on the radar for the next new grad cohort.
TheCommuter, I just want to thank you for your articles as of late. They have been illuminating and useful to me as a very new nurse.Jul 2, '12They hammered the interview process toward the end of school, and we were told to always write a thank you note, too. But, to be honest, I never have. Ive gotten a job offer for every interview. Writing a thank you note always seemed kind of weird or awkward to me. Like it was a bit much. But I'm the kind of an informal, reserved person. What I think new grads really need coaching on is cover letter writing.Jul 2, '12I've been interviewing and making hiring decisions for 15+ years (in LTC). I'm not sure that I have EVER received a Thank You note and honestly, it doesn't bother me one bit. I'm doubtful it would change my initial opinion of an applicant one way or another.
I do agree with following up in one week after an interview. It's unfortunate to admit, but sometimes I just get busy and lose track of time and forget to call an applicant back in a timely manner. I do not mind the call at all but I can tell you those "stalker types" lose the job every time!Jul 2, '12Is it a bad idea after you have been interviewed for one position and are still listed in the "consideration" category to ask about another position listed?
Today a part-time Nurse Educator position was just listed, and I would much rather be considered for this position than the one I originally interviewed for. Would it be bad form to call the recruiter back and let them know of my interest in this other position?Jul 2, '12I have sent thank you notes to interviewers before but I've never called to follow up on an interview. What exactly does one say in such a call?Jul 3, '12Quote from CrazierThanYouPlace the phone call, remind HR that you were interviewed on ____ date for ____ position, and state that you are following up to check on your status in the process.I have sent thank you notes to interviewers before but I've never called to follow up on an interview. What exactly does one say in such a call?Jul 3, '12Quote from Nascar nurseNascar makes two very good points: a thank you note will not 'win' a job if you're not the one (any more than writing a thank you note to a first date will make him/ her marry you, no matter how much you think you're meant for each other!) But, what thank you notes do (and I've received notes from probably 1/4 of those I interview) is remind the interviewer of you and your interview. If the process goes to the next round and the interviewer is trying to decide whether you should be included or not, a genuinely worded (and well written!) thank you note might get you to the next level.I've been interviewing and making hiring decisions for 15+ years (in LTC). I'm not sure that I have EVER received a Thank You note and honestly, it doesn't bother me one bit. I'm doubtful it would change my initial opinion of an applicant one way or another.
I do agree with following up in one week after an interview. It's unfortunate to admit, but sometimes I just get busy and lose track of time and forget to call an applicant back in a timely manner. I do not mind the call at all but I can tell you those "stalker types" lose the job every time!
Nascar's other point is don't harass the manager! When someone applies for a job, it becomes that person's major focus and it's hard for them not to become hopeful and anxious for a decision. There is a fine line between polite follow-up and harassment. Before you leave the interview, tell the manager that you are really excited about the prospect of working for them and ask, "When should I expect to hear from you?" Sometimes there are multiple vacancies, and current employees are working 12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week until those spots are filled--you can be sure a decision will be made quickly; other managers periodically interview people for anticipated vacancies that may come up in the future--in those cases you may not hear for a month or more. If they tell you, "I'll contact you by the end of the week" or, "Decisions have to go through HR and it may take 3 weeks..." don't count out the days, then call them at the end of that business day! Give them a little buffer and either call or email. My recommendation is to send an email; it's easier for them to read and respond to than a VM.
My other recommendation is to check out previous posts people like Nascar have made. When you find someone on here who seems genuine and knowledgeable, 'friend' them and read their posts. It will give you insight into how seasoned nurses think, how managers make hiring decisions, etc. (Sorry, Nascar! Now you're going to get a ton of 'friend requests'!)
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