Skip to content

How to leave a lasting impression after an interview

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Popular wisdom has it that when it comes to job interviews, Employers have the upper hand. After all, it is they who decide if you are right for the role or not. However, this isn’t entirely true – you, the Candidate, actually have more influence than you might think.

Employers have a tough job on their hands. They have a vacancy to fill and they need to ensure that the best person for the job is found. It sounds simple enough. But when faced with having to decide between two or more Candidates who are equally good, Employers will look for something that sets one apart from the others. Cue: the follow up.

According to renowned careers expert John Lees, Employers form opinions about a Candidate’s personality, intelligence and capabilities of performing a role within 30 seconds of the interview. He said: “How you speak, how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important.” Psychologists call it ‘thin slicing’, but this would suggest that there is no second chance to make a great first impression which is not the case at all.

The best Candidates don’t just perform well at interview, they know what they bring to the table and are fully aware that they can still help to influence the decision making process even after the interview has finished. Sending a follow up email or making a quick phone call to the hiring manager can mean the difference between you getting an offer or having to continue your job search for a little longer.

The great thing is that even though it takes no time at all to do, very few Candidates actually follow up after an interview. So by getting back in touch with your interviewer you position yourself as front of mind and crucially, you give yourself another throw of the dice.

Indeed, the perfect interview doesn’t exist and there is always something that you wish you could have said or done differently. However, before you rush to your email or pick up the phone, stop and think for a moment – what is the purpose of the follow up? Are you getting back in touch with the interviewer to keep the conversation going and provide useful information that could further enhance your chances of job success? Or is there a risk of overselling yourself?

It’s a judgement call for you to make. If you talked about a specific project you have worked on in the past that could tick another box in your favour, or an article you have read that the interviewer liked the sound of, then by all means send through the details. If, however, you’re simply throwing more information their way in the hope that some of it will stick then think again – that will simply annoy the interviewer.

Regardless of whether you have some further information to share or not, a polite email just to say thanks can still go a long way:

“Thank you for your time today, it was great to meet with you to find out more about the role and the company itself. I know you have more Candidates to see and I just wanted to say that this is a great opportunity and I appreciated the chance to discuss my potential suitability for the the role. So please do not hesitate to let me know if there is any additional information that I can provide for you. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

This takes no more than a couple of minutes to write yet its impact could be far reaching. It increases your visibility and enhances the relationship that was built during the interview itself. Even if you don’t land this particular job their opinion of you will be favourable. So when that Employer is hiring again, they will remember you and could invite you to apply.

Psychologists assert that the more important the relationship an individual has with another, the more likely they are to be to change their perception of them. If the interview didn’t quite go as planned or you don’t think you got on well with the hiring manager, a follow up after the interview is an opportunity to reverse their initial impression of you. Equally, if the interview went fantastically well, a follow up reconfirms in the mind of the interviewer that you are indeed the right fit for them.

Deciding whether to follow up after an interview depends on one thing and one thing only – how much do you want the job? If someone told you that a quick two-minute email or phone call could improve your chances of landing your dream job, would you do it? Or would you hedge your bets and hope for the right outcome? We’re not ones for betting, but the odds are surely firmly stacked in favour of the former.

If you’re looking to make your next career move, speak to one of our Consultants today. We’ve been helping Candidates like you find their ideal jobs for the last 20 years. Let us help you. Call us on 01865 335 600 or email