Palm-to-Forehead Moments

Have you ever had a palm-to-forehead moment after an interview when you realized you failed to mention key details about your qualifications and accomplishments? You’re not alone. I’m going to skip the lecture on how proper preparation prior to an interview helps prevent this outcome and jump right to what to do when it happens.

Keep in mind what employers hope to accomplish from an interview. The goal is to process as much relevant information as possible to determine if the person can do the job well, enhance the team, be retained for a reasonable amount of time and help meet corporate objectives. If there is something about your background that is important to figuring out if you are the right person for the job, decision makers usually want to know. Your “I wish I would have said that” could easily result in “I wish I would have known that” for employers if you leave information off the table.

So, what’s a good plan for fixing the problem? The decision to reject you for a job usually comes quickly after an interview. Whatever you failed to share with an interviewer needs to be addressed immediately. That means an email or phone call is in order. I recommend an email because it can be shared readily with other decision makers and included in your file.

Here’s an example of what I would say…

Dear Tom,

Thank you for the time you took to meet with me today. My interest in the Sales Manager role is high. After reflecting on our conversation, I realized I have additional information that may help you determine if I am the best fit for your opportunity and wanted to share it with you immediately.

First, I am an active member of ‘XYZ Association’ and have access to a number of corporate and community leaders. These contacts would enhance my efforts to grow your business. Second, I am fluent in French. Your company has operations in Quebec. In the event having a bilingual individual on staff would benefit you, I wanted to be sure you were aware of my language abilities.

Thank you again for your consideration. I hope the additional information I provided was helpful. If you would appreciate further details, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

….

That gives you an idea. The key is to make it clear the information is being shared to benefit the decision maker. There is no need to dig into why you forgot to mention this or that. Keep it simple and get to the point quickly. Feel free to beef this up with an additional paragraph reiterating what you revealed in your interview that makes you a fit, just don’t turn the email into a novel. The point of this message is damage control. If you supply this information and are still rejected for a job, at least you’ll know you were ruled out with all critical information on the table. You won’t have to wonder if the outcome would have been different had the decision maker known what you failed to share.

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