So, you had a job interview and it went great. Congrats! That means that your work is done, and it’s time to wait for the phone to ring with a job offer, right? Nope! Today’s job market is extremely competitive, especially if you are trying to get a highly coveted position.
If you don’t effectively follow up after the interview, you might be losing out to another candidate that also interviewed for the same job.
Grab Contact Information and Follow Directions
Always ask the interviewer what their timeline is for making a decision, who you should follow up with, how they’d like you to follow up, and when you should do so. Listen carefully, and write it down if you need to. You should always follow what they tell you.
If they ask you to follow up by email, you shouldn’t call. If they tell you it’s going to take a couple of weeks, you should wait for a couple of weeks. In the event that you forget to ask, you can ask for clarification in your follow up email.
Before you leave your interview, make sure that you have direct contact information for the person (or people) that interviewed you. If you don’t get it directly from them or grab a business card from their desk, make sure that you ask the receptionist on your way out. You want to make sure that you have the best, most accurate way of contacting them after you leave.
Even if they’ve asked you to contact someone else to follow up after the interview, you might need their information anyway, to send a thank you note or if you think of any questions.
You want to be remembered, so keep yourself at the top of their mind (and inbox!) by sending a follow-up email. Keep it short, to the point, and easy to read. A long-winded email is likely not going to get read, or will just get skimmed over. Some key points might be recapping your strengths that you’d bring to the table, addressing any questions that you feel you didn’t answer well or asking any questions you may have thought of after you left.
You should also thank them for their time, and end with something like “I look forward to hearing back from you soon,” which sounds a lot better than “when are you going to make a decision?”
Unless you’ve interviewed with a high-tech company, you should also think about sending a personalized, handwritten thank you note, which will definitely leave a lasting impact. Try to personalize it so that it doesn’t seem like a generic note you’ve written to a dozen other interviewers.
Also, don’t just list all of your abilities, but remind them of why you’re right for the job, highlight your strengths, include a few takeaways from your interview, or even mention something you’d be excited to work on. You’re not going to get the job based on sending a thank you note, but you will certainly stand out, which is key.
Assess Your Interview
While the interview is still fresh in your mind, take the time to write down key points that were covered, important questions that were asked and your answers, plus anything that you wanted to say in the interview but didn’t get a chance to or forgot to mention.
This assessment is going to serve two purposes: it can help you prepare for a second interview with the same company, but it can also help you critique yourself and your interview skills in preparation for interviewing elsewhere. Take the time to identify areas you need to improve on and what you did well with, and use this information to practice for future interviews.
Even if you nailed it, you shouldn’t stop your job search. It’s definitely okay to be positive, but it’s a good idea to be realistic here, and not searching while you wait could mean missing another fantastic opportunity. Remember that nothing is guaranteed unless they make you an offer!