You’re reading an excerpt of Ask Me This Instead: Flip the Interview to Land Your Dream Job, a book by Kendra Haberkorn. This powerful work is written by a veteran recruiter for job-seekers who want to find their dream job—not just the next job. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, worksheets and a question database, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

Activity: Craft a Thank-You Note

If you want to get the most out of the effort you put into your elevator pitch, consider incorporating a very similar structure into your post-interview thank-you notes (or more likely, emails). It’s not required to send a follow-up and it can even be controversial—after all, the company is looking for someone to fill their position, maybe they should send you a thank-you for coming in! But, if you view the follow-up note as a chance to highlight your candidacy, build a relationship with someone who could be a team member—now, or down the road—and to re-connect dots between your conversations and potential to contribute based on your post-interview reflection, taking a few minutes to send these notes can be worthwhile.

The most efficient way to do this is to add a personal sentence or two at the start of the elevator pitch structure highlighting why you enjoyed meeting a particular interviewer and an insight you took out of the conversation.

A Thank-You Note Example

I really enjoyed our conversation yesterday. I have been thinking about the growth goals you mentioned and how I could bring experience building high-performing, scalable advertising programs to your organization. I thrive when I have the chance to immerse myself in the most important challenges the business is facing by building efficient operations to optimize performance.

With what I learned in the interviews, I can see clearly how I can apply my expertise within fintech and as the leader of this department. If I had the chance to step into the Director of Digital Marketing role, I’m confident my background and excitement about the opportunities and challenges the team is addressing would enable me to support COMPANY in achieving customer and revenue growth.

CEO, Founder, or Other C-Level Exec

Put simply, a chance to talk with someone in this position is incredibly valuable and they may play a variety of different roles during the hiring process. In smaller-stage companies or roles in their direct reporting lines, they may be evaluating you based on functional, industry or technical expertise, leadership potential, or a wide set of competencies and capabilities they believe are key to success in the particular role, and also within the overall organization. It’s possible that they are close to the operations of a given team, project, or position, but don’t expect them to spend time getting into the weeds and don’t take them there with your questions (but do ask questions!).

If you’re interviewing at a large company or in an entry to mid-level role, you may not interview with the CEO. However, if you’re pursuing a role at a small company or startup, there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to cross paths during the hiring process with the CEO, a member of the founding team, or another C-level executive. Regardless of the company size, C-level leaders and founding teams have to operate at the 50,000-foot view, bringing together diverse topics, priorities, people, and processes into a cohesive, structured, and viable path forward. In some ways, these senior leaders are accountable to “no one” (they don’t have a boss), but they are also accountable to everyone (the full team, investors or board members, customers, shareholders and beyond).

In an ideal world, there is alignment from the leadership team all the way throughout and across the organization. In reality, that’s tough, so focus less attention on the specifics of the position and listen to their insight on themes, long-term priorities, and aspirations for the team and company to get an impression of how their leadership flows throughout the organization. In anticipation of this conversation, refine your elevator pitch and do extra research on the company and the leader’s background (by reading blog posts or articles, listening to podcasts, following them on social media, and watching interviews). During interviews, be prepared to speak not only to your own background and experience but a set of connected and expanded topics as well. This is a rare chance to demonstrate your presence, articulate your talents, and leave a lasting impression.

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