Have I answered all of your questions, or is there something still outstanding that would make you reluctant to bring me on board? Even if they don’t detail the second part, you can get a sense if it’s yes or no by how they react to the question. In most cases, you will get some details. The interviewer will ask for clarification on a project you did, or on the reporting structure of a previous job and exactly where you fit. Whatever they ask is what is still a question for them, and this is what you must address in your follow-up.
What is your timetable for making a decision, and who is on the decision team? Once you get through the two questions above and you know how to position yourself, you still need to know how quickly you need to act and whom you have to influence. If the employer is convening a meeting of the decision-makers to discuss the finalists next week, and the question they have about you is your marketing ability, then you need to get a marketing proposal in front of the decision-makers by next week. If the meeting is tomorrow, then you need to messenger it tomorrow.
Do not go to interviews, write a boilerplate thank you note, and throw your hands up in the air (or go down on your knees to pray).
You can still influence the outcome if you get feedback you can use and do something with it.
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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
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