Successfully navigating your way through a long interview process with multiple potential employers can be intimidating for anyone, especially new job seekers or people who have not been on the job market for a long period of time. Between keeping track of the names and contact information for managers and recruiters, company details that you have researched (you HAVE thoroughly researched the companies you’re interviewing with, right?), and interview schedules, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure a smooth interview process.
If you are working with a recruiter, one of the advantages is that you can ask for help in these areas if it still feels like a little too much to tackle alone. Your recruiter should be well-versed in the flow of the interview process and will be able to guide you; remember that recruiters are not successful unless you are, so it is in our best interest to help you through the process to the best of our abilities!
It is extremely important to keep a detailed log of job applications and interviews in order to stay organized and to avoid multiple submittals to the same company. In your log, you should keep track of the following details:
- Company/potential employer name, contact information, address, and hiring manager information (please keep in mind that while working with a staffing firm, typically communication will pass through your recruiter; you should not communicate directly with the potential employer/hiring manager outside of interviews unless given the green light by your recruiter, even if the manager gives you their contact information).
- Which staffing firm (if any) you are working with and the name/contact info of your recruiter
- Date of your application submittal, which version of your resume/C.V. was submitted and any additional materials that may have been submitted (cover letter, transcripts, certifications, letters of recommendation, etc.)
- Salary/rate of the position and any known benefits/perks; if applicable, also note the salary/rate and payment terms (W2, 1099, corp-to-corp, etc.) agreed upon between you and your recruiter at the time of submittal
- Date, time and itinerary (whom you met/spoke with) of all interviews with this company
- Any notes you may have taken during your research of the company or during an interview, or any specific questions you may have
It would also be helpful to organize your email into nested folders rather than leaving everything job-related in your inbox and at the mercy of a search function. You can make a top folder called “Job Search” and then create subfolders for each company.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
While interviewing with multiple potential employers and staffing firms, it is imperative to keep the lines of communication open. Let your recruiter(s) know if you are interviewing with any other companies, especially if you think an offer may be coming; it is common courtesy, and your recruiter may even be able to use this information to spur a slow-moving hiring manager into providing feedback for you.
Today’s professional world is all about networking so you want to avoid burning bridges. Recruiters and hiring managers know that you might not take the job even if you receive an offer; we’re prepared for it and we know that it’s not personal. Through frequent updates and open communication about your job search, you can ensure that no one has the rug pulled out from underneath them and that your professional contacts will want to work with you again in the future.
Decline Interviews and Offers Promptly and Professionally
Once you have made up your mind about accepting a position and you still have other interviews or job offers pending, it is important to provide prompt updates about your availability. The job search can be a very emotional time for many people and you may feel bad about turning down an interview or job offer, especially if the potential employer/recruiter has been courteous and helpful to you throughout the process. Don’t allow that emotion to delay your update to people who may be working hard to land you the perfect job. As mentioned above we are prepared for this and we don’t take it personally, but we do like to be kept informed. You are likely to ruffle a few feathers if you suddenly accept an offer from Company B and become unavailable without having told anyone involved in the lengthy interview process at Company A that you had other opportunities in the mix.
Many job seekers struggle to find their words in preparing to inform others that they have decided to move forward with another position. Keep it short, sweet and professional. You can simply say (or email):
I greatly appreciate your time and consideration but I have decided to accept another offer.
Stand By Your Decisions
If you are currently employed, check your emotions at the door when you hand in your resignation. It will probably be a difficult conversation, especially if you’ve a long and/or positive history with your employer, and your manager will likely offer you the moon to keep you on-board. It all may seem appealing, but accepting a counter-offer is generally regarded as career suicide. Statistically, the chances of you being let go or leaving voluntarily shortly after accepting a counter-offer are very high.
When giving your notice, it is a good idea to write a letter of resignation and hand it to your manager in person. It is the professional thing to do and it also shows that you have committed your decision to writing; your manager may be less inclined to make a counter-offer and you will feel more in-control of the situation, as you can always refer back to your letter (“I certainly appreciate it but, as I have written here in my letter of resignation, my decision has been made.”).
A resignation letter can and should be more formal than an email of intent to decline an offer or interview, but should still be professional and succinct. In the example below, the second paragraph is not really necessary but may be included if you feel that you and your employer are parting on good terms:
I am writing to inform you that I have decided to pursue opportunities outside of XYZ Company. I am hereby providing you with two weeks’ notice, after which I will be resigning from XYZ Company. My last day will be (date). During that two week period, I will be happy to assist in any efforts to identify and transition knowledge to my replacement. I will not be considering any retention offers.
I have appreciated the opportunities given to me and the many professional relationships that I have developed during my time with XYZ Company, and wish you and the rest of the team well in your professional endeavors.
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