Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.
Today, we will continue our series focusing on the interview stage of the hiring process for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals.
Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you today.
Julea: Stacy, I see that the title of today’s podcast episode is “The End of the Road.” Have we reached the end of our series of podcasts about the interview?
Stacy: Yes, we’ve just about reached the end! We have today’s episode and then a bonus episode next week about interview mistakes and that will conclude our series on the job interview.
Julea: That sounds great Stacy! This has been an informative series and one that our listening audience can use to help grow their careers. So where would you like to start today, considering that we’re discussing the end of the interview.
Stacy: Well, in our previous podcast episode, we discussed asking questions, answering questions, and how to address the subject of compensation during the interview. Today, we’re going to discuss what to do at the end of the interview and even after it’s done, and the first thing I’d like to address is what is called “closing the interview.”
Julea: Is that another way of saying “ending the interview strong” or “ending the interview on a high note”?
Stacy: Yes, you could say that, and I believe this is an important part of the interview. One of the reasons is that some Animal Health or Veterinary professionals don’t know what to say at the end of their interview, even if they believe that it’s gone well. Often, they get stuck in an awkward moment, and because of that, they don’t feel as good about their performance as they should.
The fact of the matter is that many people second-guess themselves after an interview. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate post-interview doubts. If you think the interview went well and you would like to take the next step, express your interest to the hiring manager.
Julea: How do you do that exactly, without coming across as too aggressive or even a little desperate?
Stacy: That is a great question, and I have a script that people can use when they get to that point in the interview. I would recommend saying something like this:
“After hearing more about your organization and the position, I’m certain that I have the qualities that you’re looking for in the position. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, are there any concerns you may have that would lead you to believe otherwise?”
You should ask a closing question such as this because it opens the door for the hiring manager to be honest with you. If there are concerns, this is the time to overcome them. You have one final chance to end the interview on a positive note.
Julea: So that’s why it’s called “closing the interview”? Because you give yourself the chance to identify any doubts that the hiring manager has about your candidacy, address those doubts, and solidify yourself as a top candidate for the position?
Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly right! And I have some other things that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals must keep in mind about the end of the interview.
Julea: What things are those?
Stacy: First of all, we talked about best practices for addressing compensation during the interview, should that topic arise. However, sometimes it does not arise. If that’s the case, do not be discouraged if a specific salary is not discussed or an offer of employment is not made on the spot. Remember that the person or people conducting the interview will probably want to talk with other people first or meet with other candidates before making a decision.
The second thing to keep in mind is that it is important to thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration and shake their hand firmly at the end of the interview if the interview is an in-person one instead of a virtual one. And of course, be sure to make eye contact when you do so.
Julea: Yes, we discussed the importance of eye contact earlier in this series about the interview. Stacy, what tips and best practices do you have for what to do now that the interview is over?
Stacy: I have quite a few, actually. First, if you’re working with a recruiter, it’s important to call them after the interview is over. This is important because the recruiter will want to speak with you while everything is still fresh in your mind. That way, they will have the most accurate information possible about how the interview went, at least from the candidate’s perspective.
Second, write down key issues uncovered during the interview. These are things that you did not know about the position or the organization prior to the interview, as well as anything that the hiring manager or the people conducting the interview did not know about you.
Julea: Stacy, I’ve heard that a person should write a thank-you note or thank-you email following their job interview. Is that true?
Stacy: Yes, that is absolutely true! And there are a couple of things that you can do. First, you’ve probably collected a business card from the hiring manager during the interview. At the very least, you should have their contact information, including the physical address of the organization and the person’s email address. I would recommend sending a hand-written thank-you note to the hiring manager within 24 hours of the interview.
Julea: Stacy, can you send an email instead of a handwritten note?
Stacy: If you’re only writing a few sentences, then send a handwritten note. Otherwise, send a typed, formatted letter or email. Or you could do both. Send a short, handwritten note and a more detailed email, as well. And I have a few tips for doing one or both of these following your interview.
First, always keep your audience in mind. Address the issues and the concerns that were mentioned during the interview.
Second, thank everyone who contributed to your job search.
Third, use the thank-you letter as a follow-up “sales” letter, in which you restate your reasons for wanting the position and remind the interviewer or interviewers why you’re qualified. Mention anything of importance that those conducting the interview might have neglected to ask.
And fourth, choose your words carefully if you send an email. Email creates an instant written record, so don’t let the speed and ease of sending it blind you to the fact that you will be judged on what you’ve said and how you’ve said it.
Julea: Stacy, I have a question. What if, after the interview is over, the person decides that they don’t want the job, even if an offer of employment is made to them? What should they do in that situation?
Stacy: If you decide after the interview that you don’t want the job after all, write a respectful note withdrawing your application. Don’t just disappear, which is called “ghosting.” Remember that the concept of personal branding still applies here. You must always act with professionalism, no matter the situation or the circumstances. It really is a small world, especially within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. If you don’t act with professionalism, then it could come back to “bite you” later.
And that leads us to the next part of today’s podcast episode.
Julea: Which part is that?
Stacy: The part about accepting feedback and responding to it in the right way following the interview. While some people might decide that the job is not for them, what happens in many cases is that the person is not offered the job even though they want it. After all, only one person out of many is ultimately hired for the position. Not everyone can receive an offer.
And sometimes, when those who do not receive an offer or get the job receive feedback about their performance during the interview, they do not respond well to that feedback.
Julea: What do you mean by that? How do they not respond well?
Stacy: Sometimes people will become defensive when presented with feedback, either from the employer, their recruiter, or both. They say things like:
In fact, a candidate once said to me: “The employer is stupid for not hiring me. I know more than they do.” Needless to say, that statement was not constructive in the least. All it did was illustrate the ignorance of the candidate and not the employer.
Julea: Wow, I didn’t realize that people get that defensive about feedback!
Stacy: Yes, it’s more common than you might think. And unfortunately, you can hamper your professional growth by not responding appropriately to feedback. Being defensive is counterproductive for a number of reasons.
First, you focus more on what you perceive to be a slight or even a personal attack than on the feedback itself.
Second, you don’t take steps to make the improvements that are necessary to progress.
And third, the person providing the feedback will be less inclined to continue providing feedback to you. This would involve a situation with your co-workers, colleagues, or friends.
Julea: So what should people do when it comes to feedback, including feedback following the interview?
Stacy: I recommend two simple steps.
First, seek out feedback rather than avoid it. Actually ask for feedback from the employer, the recruiter, or both, even if you know full well that they’re going to say something that you don’t want to hear. But that is exactly the type of feedback that you do need to hear!
And second, be grateful for the feedback that you do receive. Not only should you be grateful for the feedback, but you should also express that gratitude. Thank the person who provided it and be genuine about it. The last thing you want to do is sound sarcastic. People who provide honest feedback are doing a great service for you. It’s nearly impossible for a person to know all their weaknesses. We all have blindspots.
Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Do you have anything else that you like to add before we end today’s podcast episode?
Stacy: Yes, I do and I hope that we have time for it, because it’s important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, you should be prepared to accept an offer of employment without meeting anyone from the organization in person. This would happen, of course, following a virtual or video interview, and just about all of the tips and best practices that we’ve discussed in this podcast series apply to those types of interviews, as well.
And I’ve seen this happen since the pandemic started. For example, one of our clients, an executive with an Animal Health pharmaceutical company, hired one of our candidates, and he said it was the first time in his career that he hired a person without meeting them in person. All of the interviews with our candidate and other candidates in the process were done virtually through video-based interviews. And while this might still be a foreign concept to people, it’s actually a good sign if an organization makes an offer of employment without meeting you in person.
Julea: Why is that?
Stacy: There are a couple of reasons.
First, it shows that the organization is forward-thinking. If you’re a candidate and an employer makes an offer to you without meeting you in person, then you should be encouraged by that. You should also be intrigued to work with an employer that is forward-thinking.
Second, it means that the hiring manager has a tremendous amount of confidence in you as a candidate. After all, hiring a new employee is essentially a calculated gamble, and employers strive to reduce the amount of risk associated with a new hire. So, as a professional, you should be flattered that an organization would want to hire you without even meeting you. It must mean that you are doing something right with your professional life and with your career.
Julea: So being made an offer of employment by an organization without meeting in person is actually good news?
Stacy: Yes, it is!
Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And there is additional information about the job interview on The VET Recruiter website, is that correct?
Stacy: Yes, that’s right. There is information on The VET Recruiter website for job seekers and candidates in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. And some of that information does include tips and best practices for the interview stage of the hiring process. However, that is far from the only information that we have on the site.
In addition to that, we also have articles and blog posts for both job seekers and employers, and you can sign up for our monthly newsletter, too. I would also like to invite the members of our listening audience to follow The VET Recruiter on the various social media channels, since we’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. We share industry-relevant information all the time, as well as more tips and strategies for growing your career.
Last but not least, when you visit The VET Recruiter website, be sure to submit your resume and fill out a profile, so that you’re considered for new job openings when they arise.
Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: It’s been my pleasure Julea, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider, which will be the last episode in our series about the interview stage of the hiring process!