What is it that really makes someone stand out when they are among the 50 interviewees trying to fill one job? I would like to think that it would be their personal experiences and qualifications. These could include roles or positions that they have held in the past and what they have learned from them. I think these are the things that are most important and should count for the most weight in terms for the interviewer. Instead, I feel that too much emphasis is put on doing stupid, time absorbing things such as writing a cover letter and sending thank you notes after your interview. I think the focal point for any interview candidate should be the actual interview itself, not the things that occur before and after it.
I decided to write about this because I have had situations where these types of things really hurt me. After an employer saw my resume, they had contacted me about setting up an interview here on campus. I prepared myself by researching the company, looking over frequently asked interview questions, along with a few other things. On the day of the interview, I showed up fifteen minutes early in my suit and was ready when the interviewer came out and got me. Most of my interviews went very well. I know this because during the awkward silence after I answered a question, I would watch what they were writing down. I knew that I did well because most of the times they would give a number rating out of five or ten for each answer.
I would leave most interviews feeling really confident about how they went. After the interview, I never used to write thank you notes to the person who interviewed me. I know that you are supposed to thank them for their time and such, but I always thought that thank you notes were an opportunity to see who could be the best suck up. So, I decided not to write them because I was stubborn and felt that how I conducted myself in the interview should be the true judgment of whether I got a call back for a second interview.
I feel that many times I should have gotten a call back for the next step. However, because I did not send a thank you note, the employer would usually never even respond to me to let me know that they were going to pursue someone else. This is what I find to be completely ridiculous. An employer should want to hire me for my experience and the qualifications for the job. All of these things are located on my resume which I would discuss for the entire interview. I believe that this is what should really count, not fake, meaningless letters to suck up and say how thankful I was to be interviewed.
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