How to Screw Up a Job Interview as an Applicant

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NBC Local Media

To clarify on the headline, I'm not talking about coming in with crazy excuses for rolling up late to an interview (like blaming your cat's hiccups, which is a real excuse people have really tried, really) or how to say thank you, but this is kinda related.

Business Insider's Managing Editor Jessica Liebman recently posted a great meditation on the lost art of the follow-up email after a job interview. She bemoans the fact that lately, "the majority of people I interview have one thing in common," which is forgetting to send that email that reinforces their interest in the job, their appreciation for making the time to meet with them and is realistically the last opportunity to make a lasting impression on the person doing the hiring.

Liebman admits that if she doesn't get an email like that she assumes "you don't want the job… you're disorganized and forgot about following up… [and] I'll forget about you."

As a manager myself who has done his share of hirings -- and firings -- I'll admit I have to agree.

It's a small touch, but it's just how things are done. It's polite and it reinforces your hunger for the position. In other words, you didn't just waltz into my office to waste my time and force me to stare at your oddly tied tie for no good reason -- you wanted to dazzle me, and you think you'd be a highly valued member of my crew.

Liebman doesn't really go into why people are forgetting to do this, but one could surmise this has to do with the rise of social media and the next generation coming up having a bloated sense of entitlement. On the other hand, if you're in the position to hire someone, don't you usually have an idea of whether you want this person or not when the interview is almost over anyway? I doubt anyone would be so blown away by someone's followup email they would reverse their decision, but still… it's nice and shows your mama raised you right. Right? 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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