Ask Andrea…A Guide to Commonly Asked Recruiting Questions

July 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Is formal business etiquette lost in the financial industry? Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding appropriate behavior during the interview process.

What should I do after the interview?

At the close of an interview it is appropriate to ask each interviewee for a business card or email address for follow up questions. A well prepared thank you note should be sent to each person that interviewed you. It should not be a form letter and should comprise of specifics from each exchange.

What are some mistakes to avoid?

A job search is like any other professional transaction and should be approached with proper business acumen. One area candidates sometimes neglect is paperwork/applications and responsiveness to interview requests. On more than one occasion, I have seen firms decide not to move forward with interviewing a candidate because a pre-employment test or application was not completed in a reasonable amount of time. The firms felt that it reflected poor follow through and an attitude of disinterest. Conversely, over eagerness can also be a deterrent. Give prospective employers ample time to respond to inquiries, a general rule of thumb is to follow up only once a week so that you don’t appear desperate. Keep in mind that if a prospective employer is not making an effort to stay in touch, they are probably just not that in to you!

Does anything I do after an interview even matter?

Yes. The interviewing landscape is increasingly arduous and, you need to do whatever you can to give yourself the competitive edge. If an employer interviews people with similar backgrounds and skill sets, a well crafted thank letter can be a point of differentiation. Some employers will decided in the first 15 minutes of meeting a candidate whether they fit the corporate culture. However, most will have a collaborative calibration process. A thank you note is a great way to provide additional color on questions you feel like you could have answered more effectively in the interview. It will also help to ensure that everyone you met with has positive experience.

Are thank you notes appropriate- if so, what should they say?

The thank you note should include the following:
• Any personal information that you discussed to help build the rapport…i.e. That’s so ironic that we are both Notre Dame Alums…isn’t it great that President Obama spoke at this year’s graduation!
• Reflect on specific skills or an aspect of the position that was discussed during the interview and relate it to one of your past successes.
• Mention something about the firm that impressed you and made you feel like it would be a great place to work.
• Ask a follow up question regarding the position- do not ask about next steps (you will look desperate) but more so a question directed to the specifics of the position.
• Reference Letters or References

Is it better to hand write or email a thank you note or do both?

Email – you never know how long snail mail will take and a hiring decision could be made before the letter even arrives. I do think that sending a hand written thank you note after an offer has been accepted expressing your excitement about the opportunity is an elegant touch.

How do I not look desperate?

Try to keep your questions position/firm specific. Do not contact an employer more than once a week if they haven’t gotten back to you. If you would like to know status, send notes that update the firm on your status updates vs. asking when you will be making a decision. i.e. I am in final stages with a few other firms…this should illicit a response from a prospective employer if they are interested in you.

When should I follow up after the interview?

It is best to compose the thank you letters as soon as possible following the interview while the details are fresh in your mind. Letters should be sent within twenty four hours of the interview.
Etiquette counts, it is important to comport yourself professionally throughout the process. Like interviews, follow up should be composed in a manner that will help you to establish a relationship with the firm. Demonstrate that you are friendly and affable. Who doesn’t want to work with someone they like?

Additionally, I would strongly advise that you use your personal and social network to find someone associated with the firm that recommends you. In financial firms, more than any other industry references and reputation are exceedingly significant.


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