After the Interview
We certainly devote a lot of time and energy strategizing about how to perform well in an interview. We spend hours preparing, researching, studying, polishing our resumes and cover letters – even practicing our responses in the mirror or writing them out.
Yet for all that preparation, we don’t pay much attention to what we should do once the interview is over.
Post-interview, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you have gained as much as possible from the interview experience. Everyone’s individual routine will certainly vary, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Write it down
Hopefully, you brought a pen and notepad to the interview – but chances are, you didn’t spend the entire time furiously scribbling notes. While you are actually in the room, engaging with your interviewer and crafting thoughtful responses, there isn’t really a ton of time to scribe pages and pages on what you glean from the experience. As soon as you leave the building, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to write everything down while it’s fresh in your mind. Particularly if you are conducting multiple interviews with multiple job prospects, it never hurts to include the details. What did the culture seem like to you? What was the work space like? Did you learn anything about potential non-monetary compensation items? Did you find out anything about the benefits? The commute? Write it down now, so you don’t lose any details later.
- Relax & re-fuel
Chances are that you were feeling at least a little bit nervous before and during the interview process. When we’re experiencing elevated levels of stress, it never hurts to simply take a moment to manage it. Are you feeling tense? Stretch out your shoulders and relax your muscles, one by one. Mind still buzzing at a mile a minute? Engage in some deep breathing, and maybe even five minutes of meditation to de-stress and calm your thoughts. Stomach been in knots all morning? Now’s your chance to relax and have a small, healthy snack – it may make you feel much better. Now the hard part is over – so it’s important to engage in some self-care and mitigate some of the stress responses you may have been feeling.
- Thank-you notes
A thank-you goes a long way, and it can really set you apart from other candidates who never take the time to follow up. If you feel comfortable doing so, it never hurts to send a short, simple follow-up note the next day to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. It’s also a great opportunity to briefly reiterate your interest in the job – even one simple line such as, “I was so excited to learn more about the role and the organization; this seems like a fantastic opportunity and I’d love to be considered for it” really reestablishes your enthusiasm and interest.
- To follow up, or not to follow up
Now, the follow-up note is a matter of some debate – many job-seekers may not feel comfortable sending out a note a week or two later to check in. However, like the thank you note, it can go a long way toward affirming your interest in the opportunity. I’d personally suggest to structure your follow-up note around the timeline the interviewer provided you with. So for instance, if they say they will be following up with interviewee-s in one week, do not send a follow-up note before that week has even passed. Allow them to take the lead, and if you still haven’t heard from them a day or two after the deadline, that’s probably a good time to send a brief, friendly follow-up note.
While these tips can certainly be customized to your individual circumstances, they’re a good starting point for those of us who aren’t quite sure how to handle the post-interview process. And you never know – a strong post-interview game may just be the thing that sets you apart from the crowd!
By: Bob McIndoe