All set for that job interview? Of course you are. Before that happens, you may have to manage correspondence, specifically emails, from potential employers. There will probably be some surprises along the way, so let’s get to work.
Why am I spending so much time talking about how to respond to an email? Because I want you to pause before you hit that “send” button. There’s a fine line between being smart about something and over-thinking it. Often your own instincts can separate you from the crowd.
Here’s what to know: There are two things happening in the hiring process these days that are relatively new or at least new to new job seekers. The first is the various ways a response may come from a potential employer. The second is the express lane version of HR, the proliferation of phone “pre-interviews.” But first things first—let’s talk about the ways to respond to a potential employer.
Assuming you’ve sent your cover email and resume to all of the great opportunities out there on the WAT Ultimate Job Board Resource List, you may see a day or even a few weeks go by before hearing from anyone. If they are interested, you will receive a response eventually and I applaud those with the persistence to call and inquire if they have not heard. On the other hand I would not suggest sending more than one follow up email. In some industries and at certain executive levels, the response to your job inquiry will prompt a phone call, while in other businesses, you will be contacted by email.
A word about email responses from employers would have to touch on the various scams out there. It’s part of the process unfortunately, and really no way to avoid being a target. There are times when your resume will trigger a computer-generated response that you should definitely not respond to. Here are the signs that something about a potential employer’s response is fishy:
If you see an unusually long response—sometimes as much as three or more paragraphs—that makes no reference to anything from your resume, it’s spam so don’t answer it.
If it tells you that there is a “main office in the UK or Europe” and this will be their attempt to “establish a location in the U.S.,” then beware this, always.
If it asks you to give them your name, address and social security number and…yes that’s right I said your SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. Click spam immediately and delete it from your computer. This type of spam won’t hurt your computer but never respond to it. As I said before, never give out your social security number in an online job application.
The legitimate email you should receive will ask you to clarify something from your resume or schedule a time for a phone interview. You’ve already impressed them so keep it simple, and try something like this:
Dear Ms. Cunningham,
Thank you for taking the time to review my resume.
I will be available to take your call today/tomorrow at any time between 1-5pm. You may reach me at 212-555-1234.
Hopefully, during that phone call, you will be asked to come in and meet someone from HR, but just as likely these days you may have to do a mini-interview over the phone first. Next week we will sharpen our phone interview skills just in case.
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.