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  • Carol Adams

What to do After the Interview


You just left the interview. You think it went great. Now what?

Now is not the time to let up. Everything that you’ve done up to this point is moving you forward in your job search. Keep the momentum going.

First, Send a Thank You

You can send your thank you via email or snail mail, depending on the vibe you got from the interviewer. Were all of his or communications with you by email or phone? If the latter, a snail mail note might be best, but it does take longer to reach the interviewer. Another option is to drop off a handwritten note the next day (a good strategy for big companies when you can hand the envelope to the receptionist).

What should you say in your thank you note? Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to talk with him or her about the job. (If you interviewed with multiple people, you should send a personalized thank you note to each person.) Reiterate your interest in the position. Mention something specific from the interview, or take this opportunity to share information that you may have forgotten to note in the interview. Promise a follow-up at a specific date.

For example:

Thank you for taking the time to interview me on Wednesday. I enjoyed learning more about your operations at Goodall Specialty Hospital, and appreciate your candor regarding the challenges your organization has faced in the last year.

Per our discussion, I am confident that as the chief operating office I could lead the strategic planning, development and implementation of the programs and processes Goodall needs to grow and succeed into the next decade. Your characterization of me as a “change agent” is spot on, and I am eager to work with you and Rob and the rest of the team to complete the operational and financial strategies we talked about to fulfill the promises you’ve made to the community.

Please feel free to call me if you have additional questions. I will call you next Monday to follow up.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jane Jobseeker

At the end of the job interview, one question you should have asked is, “What is the next step, and when do you expect to make a decision?” If you got a specific timeframe for an answer, that will guide your follow-up. Perhaps the interviewer outlined the next step in the process (for example, a second interview, or a reference check). But if not, there are usually things that take some time before the interview process can continue, or a job offer is extended. Patience — and persistence — are key.

What Else Should You Do

KEEP APPLYING for other positions, even while you wait to hear back on this one. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For one thing, it will give you more leverage in negotiating if you have more than one offer. And some jobs never get filled.

For example, the budget for the new position might not be approved. Or the responsibilities of the job opening may be distributed to one or more existing employees. Or an internal candidate may have suddenly become available, and the position is offered to him or her. There are many reasons why the position may never be filled at all. But that’s not comforting if you were the leading candidate for the job.

Sometimes you were the best candidate they had interviewed so far, but then someone whose skills and experience were an even better fit came through the door. Even though the job interview went well, you might not be offered the job. That’s why it’s important to keep applying for other jobs. If you put your job search on hold while you wait to hear back on a specific offer, you will lose valuable time if that offer doesn’t come through – or if the salary they offer is too low, and even negotiating it won’t bring it into the range of something you’d accept.

SALARY - Speaking of salary, this is something else you can work on while you wait to hear back about a decision. If pay and benefits weren’t discussed in the job interview, start researching that subject. You can look on a site like Glassdoor.com for information specific to that company, or sites like http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm (Bureau of Labor wage and statistic data) or http://salary.com/ (Salary.com) for data on salaries for similar job titles in your geographic area.

LEARN NEW SKILLS - Another thing to work on is developing any specific skills that were mentioned in the job interview but that you’re weak in — for example, specific software platforms. Not only will this give you something to do while you wait, but it’s also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your serious interest in the position, because you can mention what you’re doing to strengthen your skills in your follow up with the interviewer.

NETWORK - Reach out to your network. If someone you knew at the company had passed your résumé along to the hiring manager, be sure to check in with him or her after the interview. Your contact may be able to provide you with insight about the number of candidates interviewed, how your candidacy was perceived, and other valuable information about the hiring process and the company culture.

REFERENCES - Also reach out to your references at this time. Let them know that you’ve interviewed for the position and that they may be contacted. Make sure they have an updated copy of your résumé. Ask them to let you know if they hear from the company.

PREP FOR THE NEXT INTERVIEW - Finally, if this was a first interview, start preparing for the second round of interviews! Do more research on the company. If you anticipate you’ll be asked about a specific project you worked on, put together a brag book or portfolio to use in the second interview. Google the company and find out what they are working on, and how this job might impact their future plans.

In my next blog, I’ll provide specifics on how to follow-up, BEYOND THE THANK YOU NOTE.


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