You’ve completed your interview and all sorts of feelings and thoughts are running through your mind. How did I do? Did they like me? Did they like what I said? Did I make any major blunders or is there anything I wish I would have or would not have said? This is typically the time a candidate will either ‘beat himself up” with doubt, or set herself up with high expectations of ‘I’ve got the job’. Either extreme is probably not healthy for peace of mind, or preparing yourself for a negative outcome.
So what can you do now after the job interview to help separate yourself in a positive way from other candidates being interviewed, or increase you chances of being selected? You are now entering the interview follow up stage of the process, and this is where many candidates fall short of their goal. It’s like taking the ball downfield and leaving it on the 5-yard line. If you don’t score, then what’s the purpose?
Here is what you can do after the job interview. An effective interview follow up plan begins during your interview by writing down the names, titles and job responsibilities of the person or people you met. Also note the major topics you discussed. Immediately after the interview make notes (or record) any points needing clarification or explanation.
Correspond with your interviewer within 24 hours of your interview, basically thanking the person for investing time to meet with you. Keep the correspondence short and to the point. Mention your interest in the company and specifically the job or position discussed. Provide a brief recap of your qualifications in relation to the job description and needs of the company, and your confidence that you can successfully perform the responsibilities that the position and company requires. Mention that you look forward to hearing from the interviewer by the date specified. There is no need to invite them to contact you if they have any additional questions, or need clarification of a comment, since they would do that if the needs of situation required additional information.
A follow up call on your part would only be suggested if you have not heard from the company by a day or two after the interviewer said they would contact you. This serves three purposes: 1) to let them know you have not forgotten the agreed upon date; 2) that you are still very interested in the opportunity; and 3) to help move the process forward. Keep the phone call concise and professional.
This interview follow up call is also important if you are in discussions or have received a job offer from another company. Even if you plan to accept a job offer from elsewhere, it’s the right thing to contact companies you have interviewed with and let them know your decision. Burning bridges is ill-advised. This in itself separates you from others and shows respect and class.
If you are not selected as the candidate of choice, and you get the dreaded phone call or letter of rejection, call the interviewer and again thank him or her for their time in considering you for the position or job. Let them know you are disappointed in the outcome, but that you understand that they have to make difficult or unpleasant decisions. Ask them to help you understand why you were not selected and if there was anything you could have done during the process to have changed the outcome. Emphasize that you are not trying to change their decision; only that it may help you in the future as you seek other opportunities. Most importantly, listen to what they have to say.
If you are fortunate to be in a situation where one or more offers have been extended and you need to make a decision on which offer to accept, keep in mind that stress is what you feel before you make a decision. Once you have made the decision, the stress will dissipate. So there is no need wrestle with your decision. If you’ve considered the advantages and disadvantages of each opportunity including how it fits into your career goals including location, working conditions, salary, benefits, job security, etc., you’re probably going to be more than O.K.