When it comes to interviews, the majority of our focus goes into preparing for the interview and little to no thought is given to what happens after the interview process. There are several “after interview” formalities and activities that play an equally important role in helping you successfully gain employment.
- Follow Up
This is perhaps one of the most important formalities you should consider after being interviewed. You should try to collect as many business cards as possible to ensure you have to correct contact information for all of the individuals you may have come into contact with. Following up involves several levels:
- Sending a Thank You Note – Send in a letter immediately after your interview thanking your interviewers for taking the time out to meet with you. Twenty-four (24) hours is the expected time within which your letter should be sent. The sooner the better! Keep your letter no longer than 3 paragraphs long (1-2 lines per paragraph) and be as brief as possible. Highlight any assets you may have that were not discussed in the interview and indicate once again how you may be the “best fit” for the position offered.
Thank you notes are best remembered if sent in a printed form (on quality paper) rather than e-mail. Try to remember the names of all your interviewers so that you can personalize your letter to include all of them.
- Review your Thank You Note – Ensure that you do not make unnecessary mistakes when it comes to your thank you note. Double check important information such as the spelling of your interviewers’ names and the address of the organization.
In your letter, check for spelling mistakes, informal language, unconscious negative comments and emoticons. These mistakes cannot be taken back and leave a negative impression of your writing skills and your attention to detail.
- Calling for Status Information – An interviewer will usually let you know when they plan to call successful candidates. It is best to wait until that date has passed before you call for information about your status. Calling before hand can negatively impact you as a candidate. During the interview, try asking the interviewer which communication methods he/she prefers. If it is a large firm, express knowledge of the fact that you know the selection process may take a while. Suggest that you would like to connect with them during that period to find out the status of your application.
- Respond Promptly to Additional Requests – Often times your interviewer may request additional documents from you to show proof of qualifications or participation at events and other activities. Always ensure that you follow up on these requests as quickly as possible. A 24 hour time frame is best. In a case where your documents may take longer to source, send a message informing them of the progress of the situation.
- Find out when the next round of processing is – During or after your interview, you should ask when the next round of interviews or processing is. This helps show your interest and seriousness in the process and also gives you a time frame and idea of what the next step will be. You can also ask for an outline of what may be required in the next phase of the process so that you can adequately prepare for that phase.
- Continue Looking
One of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make is to stop looking for a job after the interview. Even though an interview may have gone very well you should not assume you have gotten the position beforehand. Keep searching for a job and doing research to find out where there are availabilities.
- Continue Your Research
Keeping abreast as to what may be currently happening at the organization and the industry in which it operates can greatly help your own decision-making. Major changes in the industry or any negative information that may come after your interview can help you decide whether or not you want to work there even after your interview. In addition, this information can help you make suggestions in one of your follow-up e-mails to the interviewer. This shows them that you are proactive and serious about holding the position advertised.
- Notify Your References
It is expected that you would have had preliminary discussions with your references; however, it is necessary to notify them when you have had an interview. Inform them of the organization you have applied with and the position you have applied for. This helps them prepare for a potential call from the organization. Never underestimate the impact your reference can have on your application status.
- Assess and Learn from Your Performance
Immediately after your interview you should try to note down all the questions you were asked, in addition to the way you responded. Creating a list of the types of questions can help you prepare for your other interviews. Review your responses and assess the way in which you think it was received. If you see potential problems, begin figuring out ways to mitigate damages from any comments that may have been taken negatively (for instance in your follow up letter). If they cannot be immediately rectified, try to ensure that you tailor your response to be better received at your next interview.
- Maintain your Connections
While you are waiting for a response from the organization, try to keep in contact with your existing connections. If you have made a connection with someone or another organization who may be connected to the one you have applied with- notify them. Let them know that you were recently interviewed and the position you were interviewed for. This way they may be able to put in a good word for you or even help connect you with other organizations who may be looking to fill a similar position. There is no harm in keeping connections alive- let them know where you are at in your career. They can help!
- Accept rejection
There can only be one person selected. If you were unsuccessful at your interview, remember to always accept your rejection with grace. You should thank your interviewers for giving you the opportunity (perhaps with another thank you note). This way you are leaving a positive and potentially lasting impression. The better the impression, the more likely you are to be contacted for another job or to even be referred to another connection the organization may have.
Surveys have proven that these “post-interview” steps have greatly increased a candidate’s chance at being selected. Why not try to boost your chances! Check out the following links for more tips and tricks: