A day after the interview, it is customary to send by email a thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. It is a diplomatic gesture to indicate that you took the conversation earnestly and you gave it enough weight to merit a follow-through courtesy. Of course, it is self-serving because not only does it render the impression of graciousness and good manners, it could leave the door open for further conversation, given the chance.
However, you do not wait for the chance to come up. It must be a part of the grand scheme of things and included in your preparation prior to the interview. Yes, you prepared how to break the ice or carry out the small talk in the beginning. This practice does not only establish rapport to start the conversation, it is also supposed to start a connection that should last for as long as possible – either when you get hired or even when not.
Remember that networking comes in many forms. The most important connection you could find is the one you make in job interviews. For starter, the interviewer knows you better now than any of your casual associates. Imagine all the details they see on your résumé. On the other hand, your foot is already in the door and you should know better than not to keep that door open for you for as long as you can hold it.
How do you do this?
1. When you or the interviewer are starting the conversation and trying to establish rapport, look for clues related to the other person’s interest, attitude towards a particular thing, or what things he or she considers to be important. Make a mental note.
2. During the interview, throw a few casual questions here and there to check the level of engagement and see what the other person’s thoughts are. Again, this will confirm hunches on what makes the other person tick.
3. Ideally, upon closing of the interview, veer the conversation back to the theme of the rapport-building conversation to make it light, casual, and friendly. Take an opening for future conversations either by phone or by email, about a topic in which you find you are both interested.
After-interview tact ends with a thank you note a day after the interview. Making a real connection begin during the interview and could end for as long as you are able to hold the other person’s interest. To my mind, this is what makes the interview a real sales appointment. Even when you do not make the sale, you should keep the connection with a prospective hiring manager, nurture it, and watch it grow in value through time.