Imagine the situation, you’ve just finished your job interview. You liked the company, the hiring manager, the role and have made a conscious decision that this is the right job for you, but what should you be doing after your job interview has finished?
How you can you ensure that after your job interview has finished that you’ve presented yourself in the best possible light with the hiring manager?
After Your Job Interview
Firstly, you need to make sure that you understand what the interview process looks like. If you have read my blog post on questions to ask at the end of your job interview, you will have a good idea what the interview process looks like.
At the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions? You need to ask questions to show that you’re interested in the role and the company, however, the most important question should be: what is the next stage of the interview process and when will I get some feed-back regarding my application?
If you have asked these two questions, you will know when you’re likely to be given feedback and most importantly when you can start to follow up if you have not heard anything. If the interviewer tells you that a decision will be made in two weeks, there is no point in following up after a few days. All this shows is that you cannot follow instructions.
Take Notes After Your Job Interview
Once you have returned home, there are a few things that will help your application. Most important is that you have a serious think about whether the job interview went well, as the last thing you want is to it get your hopes up about a job interview that did not go well.
I would advise you to make some notes of what you think went well, but also have a think about the answers to the questions that maybe you could have done better on. Chances are if you’re offered a second interview then the same job interview questions will come up and your notes will help you provide a better answer the second time around.
Making notes as soon as your interview has finished means that the information is fresh in your mind. It could be weeks before your next interview, by which time you will have more than likely forgotten it all by then.
Thank You Email
After a couple of days, it’s a good idea to send a “thank you email or note” directly to the interviewer. Firstly, it’s polite and will show the interviewer that you’re a friendly person, and it will also help to separate yourself from the crowd.
Most candidates will send a “thank you email” as soon as their interview has finished which usually ends up in the bin as the hiring manager will have missed a few hours work for interviews and have a bulk of emails waiting to be read. Your email will be acknowledged, but quickly deleted.
If you wait a day or so, the hiring manager will be back to normal with their emails, and you will have a better chance of your email being acknowledged and responded to, whilst at the same time keeping yourself in the interviewer’s mind for the role.
Candidates often ask whether they should send an email or a hand-written note. My advice is that whilst a hand-written note will probably separate yourself from the crowd more than an email, your note needs to be read, and with most decision-makers having personal assistants who will open any mail, the chances are slim that your note will even be read.
When writing a “thank you email”, keep it professional, but make sure that you address it to the hiring manager directly. You have now met the hiring manager and should remember their name, and therefore can address your email directly to them starting with Dear…
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do – Follow the instructions that you’ve been given. If during your interview, you’re told to wait for two weeks before following up via email, then whilst it may be difficult, you need to make sure that you wait for two weeks and follow up via email. It sounds obvious, but the number of candidates that I have told to wait two weeks and then follow up via email, and a week later they’re ringing my mobile asking for feed-back would amaze you. It’s not professional and not what I would expect from a professional candidate.
- Do – Check the references you have provided to the employer and let them know that the employer might contact them. If you have chosen the right referee, then you can also give them details on how the interview went and any areas they could assist you with. If the interviewer was worried about your management skills, maybe your referee can talk in detail about your management skills and give some examples of how you have led your teams in the past.
- Do – Leverage the contacts in your personal network. Now you have the name of the hiring manager, you can use the LinkedIn account or any other professional network to find mutual contacts who could put in a good word for you directly to the hiring manager. A good word from someone the hiring manager knows well will count a lot towards your success.
- Do – Prepare a business plan giving details of where you can add value to the department or business. During the interview, you will have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the company, their needs and why they are hiring. You can use this information to your advantage and have a think about a business plan to either build a new product or change something that would help the company progress. This shows your enthusiasm and knowledge and will often go down very well with hiring managers.
- Do – Take notes on both the company and the interview with a view to preparing yourself for your next interview. Maybe during your interview, you can find out who the next interview will be with and do some background research on them to find out if you have any mutual contacts.
- Don’t – Pester the hiring manager for feed-back every day after your interview. If you’re told the decision will be made in a week, hiring managers will not appreciate phone calls asking for feed-back after a couple of days. You may think that this shows that you’re hungry for the opportunity, however, in reality, it just makes you look desperate.
- Don’t – Reach out for job interview feedback more than twice otherwise you start to become a problem candidate. Companies do not like hiring problem candidates and whilst its often difficult to accept you’re not the right candidate, you need to understand that often there are just too many candidates or time constraints meaning that you will not receive any feedback.
- Don’t – “Friend” the interviewer on Facebook, send them a message on WhatsApp or try to contact them using any other social media platforms. LinkedIn is okay to use, and I would recommend that you connect with them on LinkedIn which you can use for future reference, however, make sure that you keep it professional. We have all heard horror stories about candidates connecting with hiring managers on Facebook with the sentence, “Hi Mate” and honestly it does not make you look like a professional candidate.
- Don’t – React badly and burn your bridges even if you get rejected. Just because you have been turned down for one role, does not mean there will not be other opportunities in the future. If you act like a spoilt child, the door will close forever, however, if you keep your emotions in check and try to find out where you went wrong, maybe in the future another opportunity will come up that you will be better suited for.
Don’t Stop Looking, Unfortunately you never know what will happen one day to the next. I have heard of verbal offers being withdrawn due to a hiring freeze. Until you start working, it’s always better to carry on interviewing.