Your interview is finished and you are ready to collapse into a heap. Phew. It takes a lot to prepare for an interview and the nervousness can be seriously climactic.
But what should you do after a job interview to seal the deal? I’m here to give you some insights.
so, what should i do after a job interview?
Now, this could be quite a controversial post. A lot of the advice out there advocates for following up at each stage of the job search process, including after a job interview. I’m not sure if the writers of this advice have ever been in recruitment, because to be honest, I find the constant follow ups to be quite annoying. Don’t hate on me. Think about it like this.
As a recruiter, at any given time I could have had 5-10 jobs advertised (or even more!). For each job I advertised, I got 100 applications. If even 20% of those candidates followed up with me once a week, that would be a hundred calls or emails I had to respond to. I’m not telling you this for you to feel sorry for me, it was my job after all, but if I wasn’t dealing with those calls and emails, I’d have had a lot more time on my hands to make sure things were progressing.
At my day job, usually the line managers were the contacts for recruitment exercises. So these people are trying to do their own full time job, as well as manage a recruitment process and handle all of the follow-up requests. It makes things super difficult!
So, if you’re looking for advice about how to follow up after a job interview, this is not the post for you. If you do want to know what you can do to make the process flow a lot easier and work in your favour, read on my friend. Read on.
1. Show gratitude
Uh-huh. I’m going there. But don’t worry. I am not going to get all woo-woo on you. Gratitude is a beautiful thing. But did you know, that expressing gratitude is as simple as saying a genuine thank you? Thank your interviewers once your meeting is over, but if you have their contact details, a short email thanking them for their time won’t go astray.
Note that I said “short”. Please don’t send a lengthy email after a job interview with ten different things you forgot to say when you were face to face. It’s a little too late for that. But do encourage your interviewers to get in contact with you if they need any more information – this is a great call to action for the end of your email.
2. Reflect on your performance
I am a big reflector. It comes naturally to me as an introvert. But this time, as much as I want you to take some time out and think about the interview, I also don’t want you to mull over it for too long. If you are an over-thinker, set yourself a timer.
The reason I encourage you to reflect after a job interview, is that every interview you attend is a learning experience. And if you put your learnings into practice at your next interview, you will continue to grow and become more and more confident in interview situations.
Some questions to ask yourself after a job interview:
- What did you do really well in your interview?
- What do you think you could have improved on?
- Which do you think was your best response? Why?
- Which response do you think could have been most improved? Why?
- What could you do to be more prepared for your next interview?
Stop following up relentlessly after a job interview... it's just annoying. #realtalk
3. Put it out of your mind and keep looking
Yep, once you have reflected, it’s time to let it go. Of course, you don’t want to forget your key learnings, but you also don’t want to be barrelled up in a ball of nerves until you hear how you went. You did the best you could, with the information and tools that you had at the time. You also know what you can do better next time. So release it and keep looking.
Keep looking? Yes. You know that saying, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? This is true. If you are serious about getting a new job, you can’t just wait around to hear about one job. It would be madness. Sometimes recruitment processes can take months, especially if you are trying to secure work in the private sector. If you wait for the result of one interview, you could be missing out on loads of other equally or more incredible opportunities.
4. Ask for feedback
If you haven’t heard back after a job interview and it's been a few weeks, it is reasonable to send a follow up email to ask for feedback, and an update on the process. I know I said that candidates following up is irritating, but if it has been a considerable amount of time and you haven’t been hassling the recruiter at every step, then a short email to check in, is completely understandable.
If you have heard back that you were unsuccessful after an interview, I would also recommend that asking for feedback is a good option. Recruiters and employers are in no way obligated to provide feedback, but some will. If you are able to get some constructive feedback about how you performed, you can put this into action for next time and hopefully improve your outcome.
When you are job searching, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on your emails and phone messages. If an employer contacts you after an interview, because they need more information or want to discuss an opportunity with you, you want to be on the ball. Ideally, you should respond the same day, but within 24 hours is generally acceptable. If you are waiting several days before responding, it sends a clear message that you are either:
a) no longer interested in the role; or
b) really disorganised.
If an employer doesn’t hear back from you in a realistic timeframe, don’t be surprised if they move onto the next candidate, because they won’t be putting all of their eggs in one basket either.
5. Negotiate responsibly
My final tip is for if you are offered a new role. I’ve included this, because I have seen so many irresponsible negotiations when it comes to salary and benefits. So much so that I am actually thinking about writing a book about it. In the meantime though, here are a few tips to make sure that all of your negotiating is above board and not going to make your new employer regret making an offer:
- Don’t be dishonest – lying about how much you are currently earning, or about your skills, knowledge, experience and achievements is just not on. And you will be found out.
- Be upfront – if you are negotiating start date and salary with a member from the business, don’t then go to the HR team once you receive your letter of offer and ask for more money. Negotiate with one person, be upfront about your expectations and don’t try to play games by talking to multiple people from the organisation. It just doesn’t paint a good picture.
- Cut it with the silly games – I know, you have probably read up on salary negotiation, or you are taking tips from your friends. Negotiation is an art-form, but when not executed well, you can look like a flop.
After a job interview, you can experience a roller-coaster of emotions and I’m not going to lie. It’s a waiting game. But use these tips to put your best foot forward, to learn from your experience and secure your dream role, without ticking anyone off in the process. Got some extra tips about getting through the post-interview stages? Let me know in the comments!