As legal recruiters, we understand more than anyone that interviewing can be stressful. Candidates spend a great deal of time preparing before they interview for a position — including learning about the law firm or company, the key players involved, the likely interview questions, etc. However, what some candidates do not realize is that what they do after the interview may be just as important to the employer in determining whether they will ultimately receive the offer. There are certain things that you can do to keep you at the top of the employer’s list and help to move you into your ideal next position:
Send a Thank You Note
When sending a thank you note after an interview, it is best to do so immediately after the interview (within 24 hours at most). While handwritten letters were always appreciated in the past, in today’s world a thank you note by email is completely appropriate and often the preferred method in the legal industry. If you interviewed with several people, but one person took the lead in coordinating the interview schedule (typically the recruiter coordinator or hiring partner at a law firm), it is often most appropriate to send one note to that point person thanking them for the interview and asking them to please thank the others with whom you met. If you met with a select few attorneys and believe that a separate note to each is more appropriate, be sure to tailor each note to the intended recipient so they are not identical, and keep each note short, specific, and to the point. Thank them for meeting with you, touch on a topic you discussed that could help to refresh their memory of your conversation, and express your continued interest in the position. Most importantly, be sure to proofread carefully before sending, paying particular attention to the spelling of all names, and of course avoiding typos of any kind.
There are, however, certain times when a thank you note is not necessary, such as after an internal/screening interview at a larger law firm. If you are working with a recruiter, be sure to discuss whether he or she recommends that you send a thank you note.
Follow Up on Interview Requests and Next Steps
It may seem obvious, but if you indicated during your interview that you would send the employer additional materials — such as references or a writing sample — be sure to send those materials promptly! Also, if you discussed a specific article that you recently read, you may want to attach that to your thank you email.
Before you leave an interview, it is often a good idea to ask about next steps. This shows that you are truly interested in the position and can give you a better understanding of the next steps in the process. If you are not working with a recruiter, this is especially important, as it may be difficult to find out this information after your interview takes place. When working with a recruiter, he or she will have regular contact with the employer and should be able to update you on any specifics after your interview.
So – while being prepared before the interview is necessary, it is also important to be aware of the steps after the interview takes place!