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“Little Things” to Ace in the Interview Process

If you’re called regarding a position you applied for, that means the hiring manager has decided you could possibly be a good fit. Congratulations! Now it’s time to get ready for the interview, prepare any materials you have to bring, and pick out the perfect professional outfit. But wait. While these are all important to creating a professional appearance, what about the little things? Too often, candidates will put a lot of stress on crafting the perfect resume, cover letter, and interview presence—all of which are extremely important—but let their professional appearance fall by the wayside in between the major parts of the interview process. If you’re being considered for a position, it’s crucial to remember that you’re representing yourself as a professional at every turn: with each email, phone call, and move you make both before and after the interview.

So if you’re currently in contact with a hiring manager about a position, be sure to keep the following often overlooked things in mind. They could make all the difference in the hiring manager’s decision between you and another candidate!

  • Manage your response time: Make sure to send your thank-you note immediately after your interview and keep up the same urgency well after. When a hiring manager contacts you in any way, be prompt in your response. Likewise, when promising materials or a response by a certain time, keep your word! The hiring manager will be unlikely to see you as reliable if you don’t hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep all correspondence professional: The application materials, work examples you present, and thank-you note are not the only documents that should be written in a concise, professional tone and proofread for grammatical errors. Whether you’re sending an email or leaving a voicemail, be sure to keep your communication style consistent and professional. An employer who is given a polished cover letter and resume only to receive a sloppy email after will likely assume you’re only on your best behavior for the application process and might slip up once you’ve secured a position.
  • Acknowledge mistakes: If you do make mistakes, acknowledge them and assure the hiring manager that they won’t happen again. Then, make sure they don’t! If it’s the truth, it can also be helpful to acknowledge that such mistakes are unlike you and were a one-time anomaly.
  • Have your bases covered: The hiring manager needs an extra writing sample? Have that ready to go. They need some extra information? Get it back to them as clearly and quickly as possible. Show that you’re actively thinking about this position and have anything the employer might need within arms-reach. Being caught off-guard, or incapable of providing necessary information, will only make you seem like you’re not keeping the process at the top of your priority list.
  • Maintain a collected appearance at every stage: As the above tips show, much of maintaining your eligibility for the role has to do with how you handle communication. Likewise, make sure that you maintain a collected demeanor wherever you can, whether it’s your LinkedIn picture or, yes, your email. If you fire off a number of emails in succession rather than thinking your response through and formulating one concise message, for example, you’ll come off as scattered and unorganized. And organization (as well as communication) is a skill best shown.

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