Befriend the assistant

LegalJob is constantly asked the question of when it is appropriate to follow up after a job interview or some other meeting.

You do not want to appear to pushy or, on the other end, like you do not care.  How can you achieve the perfect balance without sitting in limbo?  The answer is that you seek help.

Befriending the assistant of the person with whom you are meeting.  They may be an invaluable resource to you going forward.  Below are some thoughts about how to connect with the assistant such that you can ask for help throughout the process:

  • Be warm, sincere, and friendly during every interaction with the assistant
  • Be mindful of their time during every interaction
    • Make a point to mention that you know they are busy and don't plan to keep them
    • Follow through and don't keep them.  Keep your phone or in-person conversation short and to the point.

  • Listen for preferences of assistant and raise your awareness as much as you can
    • Is the assistant drinking coffee?
    • What is on the desk of the assistant?
    • Flowers and plants?
    • Pictures of kids? How old?
    • Pictures of pets?  What kind? How old?
  • Establish a connection such that you can ask personal (safe) questions about items you see or hear about (from that person)
  • Learn as much as you can about their relationship with the person you are meeting
    • How many years has the assistant been working with the person (or at least a general sense of whether short or long time)
    • This information may not be revealed in the first conversation
  • Learn as much as you can about the preferences of the person you are meeting
    • Best time/date to meet
    • Coffee drinker (morning or mid-afternoon)/breakfast eater/big lunch person/early morning person/late night person
    • Pet peeves of the person
    • How many other people is the person meeting
  • Think of gesture to thank the assistant
    • Not over the top (spending 100 bucks on anything may be excessive)
    • Flowers, plant, an item referenced in your conversation
  • At minimum, send assistant a thank you letter (in addition to the letter you send the boss)
  • If you do not hear anything from the boss after your meeting and you are expecting a response, ask the assistant the appropriate next steps
    • Form of communication (phone call, e-mail. letter, etc.)
    • Timing of communication (wait another week or don't wait)
    • What do you have to lose and large possible upside
  • When you are considering modifying/supplementing your application, ask the assistant for input
    • Perhaps there is something you have not considered
    • Timing
    • Format

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