after an interview
Thank You Letter
After an interview, write a thank-you note and mail it promptly.
Thank-you notes help you stand out as a professional, keeping the conversation going.
The note should convey three or four main thoughts:
1. Thank the interviewer(s) for their time
2. Name something specific that you enjoyed learning about the firm
3. State that you hope to be in touch for the future.
4. Optional: Make a statement that includes a reference to one of your skills or projects they seemed to admire, or to a topic in your conversation.
If you interviewed with two or more people, address the envelope to one person but use all of the names in the salutation.
Example: Jane Wong was the main contact but you also met with Anita and Amir: The envelope would be addressed to Ms. Wong.
The note would begin: “Dear Jane, Anita and Amir,”
If you met with two or more people in separate scenarios, write multiple thanks notes. It is OK if the letters are the same, or you might choose to write something different in each letter based on individual conversations during the interview.
The most effective thanks note is hand-written on paper & mailed via the postal service. (It is acceptable to type it on paper or email it, depending on the timing issues for the next contact.)
The paper should be plain and good quality, or use a store-bought note card. Generally the card would not have words or images on the front unless you create and print your own image. Some students buy quality paper envelopes and then make a “postcard” to fit in the envelope. The front of the card would have your own architectural or art image; the back of the card would have your text. If you choose a “creative” option, make sure it is excellent craft.
Dear Ms. White,
Thank you so much for coming to the Syracuse Architecture campus today. It was great to meet you and Mr. Brown, and I enjoyed learning more about your firm. I was especially interested to hear that you produce all of your marketing materials in-house. As you may recall, I have a special interest in marketing and experience with publishing software. I look forward to staying in touch with you for the future. Also, I’d be happy to schedule a second interview during my March 12 – 16 Spring Break if that is convenient.
** Add your phone or email since this note will not have your letterhead on it, or insert your own business card.
How to follow-up your interviews with phone calls and e-mails
Create a journal to keep a record of:
- the day/time you call / e-mail
- the phone / e-mail address you used
- the name / title of the person you contacted
- How you gained this contact info
For each contact, note:
- instructions given to you
- your plan - with a date - for follow-up
If you send an e-mail, but get no response:
If you send an e-mail, and you do get a response, but the person doesn’t have an answer for you, send an e-mail 2 weeks later to “check on the status of the hiring decision” or the “timeline for making a hiring decision.”
If you call, but get voice-mail:
Leave a message with your name. Mention you are from SU. Leave your cell #. If the person does not call you back in 3 days, call again and leave a voice mail. If another 3 days passes with no return call, send an e-mail. To get the person’s email, call the firm and ask the receptionist.
Call or e-mail every 10 days until you get a clear “NO”.
You are not a pest; you are a persistent & passionate talented intern determined to get a job. Persistent, passionate, determined people make lots of phone calls, send e-mails, & make visits.
Keep In Touch
Whenever sending an e-mail, attach an image from recent studio work, even if it is incomplete renderings, diagrams, schematic design, study models. Be sure to re-state why you are specifically interested in the firm. Be aware that your email may be forwarded to the hiring manager.
The body of the email could say:
Dear Mr./Ms. Hernandez,
This week is Spring Break week, and it didn’t arrive a moment too soon. It is great to have some time to work exclusively on my (thesis project / portfolio / or ?) as well as follow-up for employment interviews.
Attached is a recent image I created to represent X of my current project.
I am quite interested in continuing our conversation about a possible employment opportunity with your firm. I can be reached at email address and cell number.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Stay positive, devote a specific amount of time (30 mins? hour?) each day/week to the job hunt. Then put the job hunt aside, trusting that you have taken the next right step, and go back to your studies.
What should I expect during a second interview?
When a firm invites you for a second interview, it is 100% acceptable to say “To be best prepared, I’m wondering if you can tell me who I will be meeting. Also, do you have a sense how long I will be in your office?”
The visit may be 45 minutes long, or as long as 3 hours to include lunch or drinks after hours. Keep this in mind if you are conducting two interviews in one day. Do not order alcohol at lunch, regardless of what the host orders. If you are going for drinks after hours, order only one drink and then switch to water or soda.
The second interview means that you are a “finalist” in their hiring process. The firm is probably interviewing other finalist candidates for this position. This is an opportunity for both you and the employer to confirm that this is a good fit. The firm may initiate salary and a start date discussion. This is not an offer; they are simply collecting data. Please see more detailed info below about understanding a complete compensation package. Refer to other FAQs related to salary negotiation.
It is acceptable to offer a range of dates: “I would prefer to start work on July 5th, but I am available as early as June 10th if that is more convenient for you.” Then you can negotiate from there. If you name a start date that is further “out” (I want to travel with my family this summer and start working by August 15th, for example), the firm will probably not hold the position for you but they will tell you to “check in” with them in late August to find out if any new positions have opened up. If you have bills to pay, remember that you won’t get a paycheck for at least a week, two weeks, or even a month after your first day of employment.
An offer may happen during the second interview, but most often the firm will send a paper letter / make a call / send email with PDF.
A second interview is the same as the first interview, but with different people, so bring multiple copies of your resume, sample page, references. Also, if your portfolio is smaller than 8x11 or 10x10, bring two copies in case you are interviewed by two or more people at the same time. You may also bring a small model, sketchbook, laptop, original drawings, notebook and anything else that represents your best work.
The visit may begin or end with a tour of the office.
Before you accept an offer, you need to know the entire compensation package, including the following issues:
- How the firm compensates for overtime, how much overtime an intern typically works.
- How the firm supports IDP. You will get responses from “well, we sign your paperwork” to “we provide a mentor, support groups, a database system, and guest speakers”.
- The cost of the health insurance premium that is usually deducted from your paycheck pre-tax, the amount of the co-pay for visits and pharmaceuticals, and the deductible if applicable. Some firms pay a percentage of the premium for you, and you pay the balance. Premiums vary depending on your marital status, deductibles and degree of choice of providers. It is illegal for the firm to ask if you are single, married/domestic partner, or have dependents. You will need to volunteer this information in order for the firm to quote the relevant premium cost.
This is all important to know if you are comparing 2 offers. If you have other interviews scheduled or you already have other offers, you can simply state that you are “committed to other interviews” and you would like to know the deadline for your response. If they ask you to name a response date, choose one that is 1 week after your last scheduled interview so that you will potentially have time to discuss future offers before making a decision.
Dress code for an interviewee is a suit with matching accessories/shoes, or slacks/skirt with a sweater or blazer. Employees may dress down, but Interviewees dress “up.”
Clean fingernails, no chipped polish, no perfume/cologne, no gum in mouth, no cigarette breath.
Women: No cleavage.
All: Piercings and Tattoos ~ assume that your interviewer is conservative.
Most of all, have fun at the 2nd interview. This is a point when you already know they “like” you, so you can afford to be your “self”.
Take at least 6 copies of your resume and sample page on nice paper. Another option is to design your own business cards printed with your title as:
- Student Designer
- Syracuse University School of Architecture
- Bachelor of Architecture 2020 (or whatever year you plan to graduate)
Get business cards professionally printed. Materials are important. Each time you are introduced to someone, even on the tour of the firm, offer your card. You may ask “may I have your card?” when it seems appropriate. Be sure to get names of all interviewers for your thank-you note/postcard.
Be prepared with the date that you can start working. If a summer job, also know the date when you will need to stop working to prepare for return to school or travel abroad.
Can I ask for reimbursement for travel to a second interview?
When a firm invites you for a second interview, you may ask them if they are able to reimburse you for travel expenses. They may be agreeable to that, and they will simply require your receipts, or they may offer to pay up to a certain amount. IF a firm is paying for your visit, it is very bad form to visit other firms or conduct other business “on the firm’s dime”. So you might want to consider that issue before you accept $$ for travel. In fact, some firms will make all of the travel arrangements and schedule your itinerary so that it is not possible for you to have time to visit other firms. Sometimes it may be to your advantage to travel at your own expense to be free to visit other firms.