What To Do After the Interview
So, congratulations, you got through an interview (or a series of them with different members of the organization) but it’s not time to put your feet up and wait for them to get back to you! Job-hunting champs seize this moment to review and get ready for the next round in their search.
Here are a few moves to make right after an interview to bolster your candidacy at that organization and to make a better case next time as well:
*Determine how you did. First, do an honest self-evaluation. Often, we’re pretty good critics of our own skills. When you get home, sit down at the computer and write a review. It will be useful, in any case, to have a log of the interview if you’re going to move forward with this organization so you can prepare for the next round. Note who you met with, the key questions they asked, the questions you asked (and if there were none, no dessert for you tonight as it’s important to come armed with at least a few questions) and then how you think you handled their questions overall. If you think you flubbed something, make a note of it. If you didn’t know the answer to something, note that, and then get the answer and put that in your review as well.
*Check in with others. Again, it’s always useful to know people in the organization where you’re seeking a job. And if you do, give them a bit of time (a few hours to a day, depending on their schedule) and then check in with them to see if the hiring manager shared anything about the interview with them. If you trust them, run your impressions by them — perhaps they can double-check to see if the hiring manager felt the same way about the interview as you did. They may also be able to give you a strong sense of whether you’ll be moving to the next stage in the hiring process. If you don’t know people there, check in with others who know you well and run the interview by them — they may be able to validate your sense of how you did, and this will help you figure out whether you should expect a callback or not.
*Write your thank-you note, and use this opportunity to fill in any blanks. A job candidate should send a thank-you note to everyone who interviewed them at an organization. If you have nice handwriting (unlike me and so many other journalists I know whose handwriting seems to be “naturally encrypted”) consider writing a note on stationery — you may impress the hiring manager with your good manners. But an email thank-you is perfectly fine as well. Make sure to send the note within 24 hours of your interview (but wait a few hours; I once got a note just an hour after the job candidate had left my office — it seemed a bit obsessive) and make it personal yet professional. Make SURE you spell their name correctly and have no spelling or grammatical errors. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and reiterate your interest in the position. Keep it brief. Don’t gush. And if there is something you want to emphasize or to answer that you didn’t fully answer during the interview, this is a good time to do it as well. Show them you were paying attention.
*Follow up. If you don’t hear back from the organization within a week to 10 days after the interview, it’s fine to send an email to the hiring manager or recruiter asking when you might expect to hear more. If they are vague or don’t get back to you and you suspect you didn’t do very well in the interview, it may be time to put this position on the back burner in your search. In any case, if you find out that you are no longer being considered for this job, request a few minutes of their time, and then ask how you could be a better candidate for the next position that may open up. I can’t underscore enough how many times someone who didn’t get a job lands the next position open in that organization — or the one after that. So stay in touch, and try to get this hiring manager to be your advocate with their colleagues.