You may have heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This also applies to a well-written follow-up to an interview. Our attorney recruiters often advise attorney candidates that while once considered unique, a follow up is now just good manners. These days, it is expected that attorney candidates can and will follow up with interviewers to show a deeper understanding of items mentioned and an appreciation for meeting the busy members of the firm.
Even experts sometimes neglect the crucial time just after an interview, but this is a time when, psychologically, many things may hang in the balance of choosing a candidate for hire. The more you can do to make yourself stand out to the partners or hiring committee, the better your chances of securing the job. Our legal recruitment firm has compiled some great tips to follow up well after a good interview.
Send requested information immediately. It is not unusual for firms to request information you do not have available at an interview. It is better if you prepare in advance: bring extra copies of your resume, bring your law school portfolio, or bring anything else you might need. However, you cannot plan for every contingency. If a partner requests a copy of a brief you wrote, for example, you may have to send it after the interview. Be sure you do so immediately—as soon as you walk in the door from the interview, in fact. Email makes this easy to do. As legal recruiters, we recommend making this a priority when you get home from an interview. There is a current trend of law school career centers advising candidates not to send emails, as they are saying there is a chance to make errors and ruin your chances for receiving an offer. I completely disagree with this, as it continues to be seen as good manners. There is no excuse for an error if you have someone (that you trust and respect) proof-read it. We all make errors at times – but that is not a good reason to avoid action.
Send a short follow-up thank-you note. Good manners may seem to have become a lost art, but the impact of a short “thank you” often goes underestimated. Sending a short letter by “snail mail” will reach the hiring partners around the time they are considering who to hire. The letter should not overdo your qualifications, but should definitely remind the partners that you hope to be considered for the position and feel you would be a good fit for the firm.
What do I do if I hear nothing? This is a perennial problem for job seekers: what seems like a long time to you may seem short to busy employers who have not even met to discuss who to hire while you sit at home on pins and needles. The rule of thumb is: if the partners tell you to expect an answer in ten days, it is okay to contact the firm after two weeks if you have not heard. On the other hand, if the partners do not give you a firm date, wait two weeks, make a short contact and then wait another two weeks to follow up. Unfortunately, some firms are guilty of failing to tell candidates who were not chosen for the job that they were not hired, leading them to wait in vain. You are entitled to know whether you got the job, but do not “bug” the partners with daily calls or emails. You might want to instead rely upon your attorney recruiter to make inquiries into whether or not you got the job.