That important interview ended. You sweated your way through it. You can go home, kick off your fancy shoes, and relax.
But not for long, because there are some actions you can take to gain additional mileage from any interview, even after it’s over.
The first and best thing to do is to say say thanks. Yep, write that thank you note.
A note should go to each person with whom you interviewed, whether the interview was conducted in person or online as a phone interview or Google hangout.
Don’t waste time getting these things mailed. Proof it carefully and send it out snail mail or email.
A handwritten note is always appropriate after an interview.
As well as expressing gratitude for being considered as a candidate, you can use the thank you note to reaffirm your interest in the position. You can also reinforce your qualifications that specifically help the employer’s immediate needs.
The note is also a chance to correct any misconceptions or mistakes you may have left behind, and a chance to clarify the next step. For example, “If I don’t hear from Martha within the next week or so, may I follow up with a call?”
Follow Up with References
Now’s the time to touch base with the people your interviewers might contact. Let your references know how your interview went, and help them give good answers to questions they might be asked.
For example, if the interviewer was particularly interested in a project you and a colleague worked on, let that colleague know what was said so she will be prepared. Sometimes a co-worker or boss might need to be reminded of the specifics of a project or what exactly your responsibilities were at the time.
Stay in contact with your references during this time. Give them some love. Take them for coffee or to lunch. Give them a quick call to see if the interviewer or a reference check company has actually contacted them. Knowing these facts can give you an idea of how quickly the hiring process is moving.
Contacting references also reminds them that you are still looking for a job.
If your references tell you they have not been contacted, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out of the running. Not all companies or interviewers check references.
If You Don’t Hear Back
The larger the company you interview with, the less likely your interviewer will know the specific timetable for moving forward with the job offer. This situation can be frustrating for you.
Also frustrating is when the promised time for the next step in the decision process comes and goes, and you’re left in the dark. You don’t know if you made the cut, or if the selection process is temporarily stalled, or if another candidate received the offer.
In these cases, the only sure way to find out if your name is still on the list of possible candidates is to personally follow-up. But you want to do that without looking like a pest. Here’s how.
If you were told the next step would happen by a certain date, and that date has passed, you can gracefully inquire. If you played your cards right at the end of your interview, you asked the HR person or the hiring manager how she would like to be contacted – by phone or by email.
If you are using email your message could go like this: “I interviewed with Nick Claus on November 20 for the position of part time packaging manager. I understand that a decision would be made by December 1. Has the decision been postponed? If so, can you tell me if I am still being considered as a candidate?”
You can use similar language if you phone the HR person.
What often happens during a hiring process is that there is a delay between the last round of interviews and when the job offer goes out. In some cases, the decision may come down to two finalists, and one person is offered the job first. If he or she declines, the job is offered to a runner up.
Another way you can phrase a question to the hiring person is, “Do you need anything from me to help you make a decision? I know you’re busy so I don’t want to take any of your time, but I do want to make sure you have everything you need from me.”
You want to sound interested in the job without sounding desperate or pushy. Be cordial and brief.
Did your interviewer ask you to contact him by a certain date? If so, it could be a test to determine your willingness to follow directions. Don’t drop the ball, especially if you were asked to submit something like a report or sample of your work.
What Not To Do
Avoid the temptation to send a gift to your interviewer. It’s generally considered poor policy because the interviewer was simply doing his job. A gift comes across as a bribe.
Giving a gift — whether it’s flowers, a plant, candy, tickets or food — not only demonstrates that you are out of the business etiquette loop, but it makes you look desperate. Another step to avoid is attempting to Friend the interviewer on Facebook. You’ll only shoot yourself in the foot because you come across as someone who doesn’t understand the boundary between employer and employee.
Tempted to call the interviewer a day after the interview? Don’t do it unless you were asked to call and provide additional information verbally. Otherwise, you’re likely to be judged as too aggressive to fit the company culture.
As baseball legend Yogi Berra quipped, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” How you behave after an interview can increase or detract from your chances of going on to the next round of interviews or even getting that call that you’re hired. As a job seeker you need to maintain a delicate balance between being proactive and being patient. I hope these tips help you walk that line.