There’s a really odd period of time between the end of your job interview and the call back to know how it’s gone (for better or for worse).
It can feel a bit like a vacuum or limbo, where you don’t know what to do or what comes next.
We first recommend taking a moment to breathe. The hard work of interview prep and research is over. The nerve wracking moment of going to the interview and remembering how to use the STAR system is done.
Now it’s time to take a moment, relax, take a breath and then do the following steps to help make sure you get that job.
Understand The Process – Settle The Nerves
When you are going through the interview, you may have asked the question “What are the next steps?”. Even if you didn’t they probably told you or gave you a time frame of when they would get back to you.
The recruitment process takes time. There’s a lot of back and forth, decisions to be made and talks to be had. There will also be plenty of other candidates that they have interviewed and need to consider. So understand that radio silence from your interviewer doesn’t necessarily mean bad news.
It could take a while for them to get back to you. During this time doubt, worry and negativity can creep in. This can lead to unnecessary stress.
The best way to keep that from happening is by focusing on your job search. By continuing on to other job applications you will not only have a back up in place, but also it allows you to control your emotions better.
Even if you think a job interview went well, it’s never a good idea to put all your hopes into one hypothetical basket.
Keep your options open, and keep searching for a job.
If you get multiple acceptances you have the power to pick and choose which role suits you best, negotiate better salaries and more. In this case, less isn’t more, more is more!
By understanding the time frame that they are going to get back to you, or if there’s a need for a second or third interview, you can better prepare for the future. You know when to contact them to follow up or chase up the application without seeming pushy. There’s a lot of benefits to knowing the process, understanding why it happens so that you can plan around it.
Provide Your Own Feedback
We’ve all been there. That inescapable feeling of wanting the ground to swallow you whole because you’ve completely fluffed an interview. It’s horrible. You may want to stick your head in the ground. Don’t!
The best thing you can do is write down everything that went wrong, why it went wrong and MOST IMPORTANTLY how you can do better next time.
Was it a difficult interview question that you didn’t get right? Now you know how to answer it for next time. Does your body language need improvement (i.e must stop fidgeting)? Then do more practice interviews and be aware of how you hold yourself next time.
It might not feel like it, but even the very worst interview imaginable will give you something positive to take away.
That’s why we recommend you write yourself a small post-interview report detailing what went right, what went wrong and tips for next time.
As we said after your interview, don’t just wait by the phone.
As soon as possible, find a quiet space – your home, your car or a coffee shop – sit down with a pen and paper and write your report.
When it comes to how to write a good evaluation, Monster recommends rating yourself out of ten on the following:
- How punctual were you?
- How well did you introduce yourself?
- To what extent were you confident and professional?
- How clear and calm was your tone of voice?
- To what extent was your body language positive and engaging?
- How well did you get on with the interviewer?
- How successfully did you market your strengths?
- How well did you put a positive spin on your weaknesses?
- How well did you handle difficult questions?
- How engaging were your questions about the role?
- Overall, to what extent did you leave the room on a positive note?
You have to be honest with yourself, there’s no point in fibbing to yourself as this means you will get nowhere. Likewise you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself as this can be just as damaging. Be honest and fair. Anything that is 6 or above is a good score.
In today’s job environment average won’t cut it. Aim to make all of your scores 6 or above to give you the best chance in your interview.
Put your list away and sleep on it, then revisit it in the morning when you have a fresh pair of eyes. You might realise that you forgot to mention one of your key strengths or selling points. Don’t fret – make a note of that too, as it’s something to mention next time.
If you’ve applied via a recruiter, ask them for any feedback the employer may have given them. They might have some advice on ways to improve for next time, too.
Go back to your evaluation list, congratulate yourself on your strengths and move on to your areas of improvement.
If you were late or arrived with seconds to spare, next time aim to be five minutes early. If you tripped over a difficult question, you can prepare an answer and ace it next time.
If you struggle to speak calmly or succinctly in an interview situation – nerves sometimes get the better of us all – try the Breathe, Think, Answer system we’ve talked about. It’ll settle your breathing and allow you a moment to think and give a much better answer than one starting with “umm”.
Memorise the key strengths you want to touch on and plan a few ways to discuss them, giving you something to lean on if you draw a blank during the conversation. Find a partner to practice with so you can get used to saying it all out loud. Give them a list of questions you’ve struggled with before and rehearse your answers. An objective outside view is invaluable.
Inform your references
This goes hand in hand with understanding the recruitment process. Although you should have already got permission to use people as references, now that the interview is over, let them know that they may be receiving a call from the interviewer.
Before making any new hires, interviewers have to justify their choice. The most common way of doing this is by contacting references.
Not only will this make you feel confident in the knowledge that your references are available and prepared for this situation, but they’ll also probably be grateful for the pre-warning too.
Follow Up / Send a Thank You Note.
You should always follow up on every interview you have. However, it’s easy to come across as too pushy if you’re constantly contacting them. Remember, they are busy people and the recruitment process takes time.
It’s a simple gesture, but surprisingly the majority of job seekers forget this crucial step.
Sending an interview follow-up isn’t just polite – it also shows the employer that you’re keen and helps to keep your name at the forefront of their mind.
As a rough guideline, it’s best to follow up with an email or phone call within at least two business days of the date the interview took place.
There are three ways of doing this: email, phone call or thank you letter.
In all three cases be personal and personable. If there was something that particularly excited you about the company, let them know. This is one more chance to convince them that you’re the best person for the job.
It also shows kindness and consideration even if they reject you, you haven’t burnt bridges and they could recommend you for other roles or if that role opens up in the future.
Sending a follow-up email after an interview is a quick and easy way to thank the employer. It arrives directly in their inbox, it can be personalised, well written and is a great way of getting in touch.
First and foremost (and quite obviously) your thank you email should thank the interviewer for taking the time to see you. Secondly, it should reiterate your interest in the role.
Keep it short and to the point – remember, your interviewer has their own job to get on with, and you want them to read every word.
Even if they don’t reply, remember that sending a follow up is good practice and will differentiate you from your competition.
The phone call
You might decide to follow up after the interview with a phone call. Some people find this more personal than email, it’s all down to personal preference. However, if you had a great rapport with the interviewer, this is a good way to rekindle this and reaffirm (in their mind) why you’re the perfect fit.
It’s usually best to call at the beginning or end of the working day, when they’re least likely to be right in the middle of something else.
But, be prepared to not get through the person who interviewed you. After all they are very busy people with a lot to do, so be prepared to leave a message or a voicemail.
Keep a little list of key bullet points beside you as you phone so that you can quickly recap why you are perfect for the role.
Like the email you should keep this short and snappy.
The Thank You letter
This is old school and a personal favourite. This is a great way of adding the personal touch to your thank you and sticking out in the mind of the recruiter. Even better is if it’s handwritten but the choice is yours.
Your letter should be very similar to your email. It should be short sharp and to the point quickly recapping your strengths and saying thank you for the interview.
Remember, post is slower than phone or email so you’re going to either have to send it the day after your interview by first class or deliver it by hand.
It’s not rocket science
Once the interview is over, what you should do next is not rocket science, but it is easily forgotten and overlooked.
Don’t forget the power of following up and interview and asking for feedback. What this will do is really increase your chances of getting a role quickly. It will also help you refine your interview technique for that next big step in your career.