With the successes of and lessons learned during Apartment Careers Month still fresh in our minds, it might be good to offer some thoughts on what exactly happens when you go on an interview. This won’t be about interviewing tips, but will rather discuss the mechanics of what happens after you have shaken hands and gone on your way.
It is important not to get too high or too low afterwards, especially because your ‘mood’ will affect how you approach following up with the interviewer and the target company as well as any other companies with which you have spoken. Even if you think you ‘nailed’ the meeting, do the right thing: craft a ‘thank you’ letter and snail mail it if possible (the ‘old world’ approach is usually well appreciated), although if you get the sense that the decision will be made very quickly, go ahead and send an email to the interviewer(s) and anyone who might have given you the lead or a reference.
After that, let it go for a bit, at least until the time you were given for a decision to be rendered. You run the risk of being thought of as a pain in the neck if you call early and often! My mantra when interviewing has always been “Be persistent, stopping just short of being annoying.” (This is also true if you work and are in a sales role, right?)
Don’t neglect the other companies to which you have spoken. Each opportunity should be treated as if it is the only situation you have working. If you have several really good meetings, never assume you are going to be able to play one off the other. It just (almost) never happens that way. This isn’t baseball free agency and your agent is not Scott Boras. Totally ok to fess up if you are asked what other companies you are talking to. The hiring manager wants to know he or she is pursuing a hot commodity (you!) as it validates his or her initial judgment about bringing you in.
Should you see an article, Tweet, LinkedIn notice, or whatever about the target company, it is absolutely ok to email it to the interviewer, along with a very brief note saying something like “I am sure you saw this, but I thought I would send it along anyway. It puts the company in a great light and reinforces my interest in working with you. I look forward to hearing from you about next steps.” This shows interest, is thoughtful and maybe a bit creative, and doesn’t simply say “How come I haven’t heard from you?” (Again, same applies in a sales role–don’t call just to call. Have a reason.
Think about how you would feel if YOU were the prospect or hiring manager. Would YOU respond to YOU?) I have heard of situations where a candidate did not get a job because the hiring manager thought there was an lack of interest, while the candidate didn’t want to call too often. Very fine line, but one which is indeed navigable.
It is quite common for any hiring decision to take longer than you were led to believe. Vacations, meetings, other business priorities, someone simply dropping the ball can all get in the way of timeliness. Given the opportunity, it is also possible that response to a posting may generate greater interest than expected. Sadly, it is also possible that the posting may have been done simply to collect resumes, but there is no real way to find that out until later.
The multifamily community is just that–a community. People talk. Realize that news of how you comport yourself may be shared with others and may affect your chances for another job or even a business transaction at a later date (positive or negatively). Patience and fortitude (Trivia question; What are the names of the 2 lions outside the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue?) and doses of professionalism, gravitas, and even wit will go a long way towards getting you into that multifamily job you have always wanted.
Charles H. Fiori, CFA is a business development and sales professional with 20+ years experience in the financial services and multifamily industries. He has written and spoken on topics such as electronic rent payment, sales, strategy, job hunting, and market data. Charles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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