Did you know that the steps you take immediately after a job interview can make or break your chances of getting an offer? Regardless of how well you performed during the interview, your actions following that interview are critical parts of your job search.
Unfortunately, most job seekers don’t spend enough time polishing their job interview follow-up skills and end up making big mistakes. Instead, make sure you do the five things described below after every job interview, and you’ll see an increase in second interview requests and job offers.
1. Follow up but don’t be a pest.
You should always send a personalized thank you note to each person you interviewed with, and be sure to include references to topics that were specifically discussed during the interview. This demonstrates that you’re not using a form thank you note, and it shows the recipient that you were truly invested in the discussion, the position, and the company.
Send a hard copy letter via regular mail within 24 hours of the interview rather than a less formal email message. It demonstrates greater effort on your part and a high level of professionalism, and it gives the recipient something tangible to remember you and the great conversation you had during the interview.
However, you should avoid multiple follow-up notes, emails, and phone calls. Don’t be a pest. Continual follow-up isn’t viewed as eager. It’s an annoyance, and the hiring manager will worry that if you’re annoying before you’re hired, what will it be like to work with you every day? That’s not the impression you want a potential employer to have of you.
Send a thank you note and follow up a week later (or when the hiring manager indicated a hiring decision would be made) for an update on the hiring process. Unless you’re told to follow up again at a later date, avoid doing so. If you’re the person they want to hire, they won’t forget you, and they’ll contact you.
2. Find the social media profiles of everyone who interviewed you and connect with them.
An excellent way to show each person with whom you interviewed that you’re very interested in working with them is to find their public, professional social media profiles on sites like Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn and connect with them on those sites. Ask questions, join conversations, share their content, and start building useful relationships that will transcend a single job opportunity.
In other words, social media helps you in two ways after an interview. First, it keeps your name top-of-mind among the key hiring decision makers, and second, it broadens your networking reach for future career opportunities.
3. Analyze the interview and revamp your answers to questions where you stumbled.
How well did you perform in the interview? Were there specific questions that gave you problems or areas you think you should improve? Every interview should be reviewed, so the next interview can be even better.
If you find specific answers to questions asked during the interview that you should be improve to increase your chances of landing the job, address them in your follow-up thank you note. Include a phrase like, “After giving XYZ more thought,” or “Our brief discussion about XYZ got me thinking after our meeting,” each of these phrases can segue into the additional information you want to share. Alternately, you can share this through social media interactions once you’ve completed #2 above and connected with each person with whom you interviewed.
A note of caution: Avoid referring to the interview or your potential employment on public social media profiles. Instead, phrase your social media interactions as professional conversations.
4. Create a recap document and list everything discussed during the interview.
One of the first things that usually happens when you leave a job interview is that you forget most of what was discussed. You should always take notes during your interview, but it can be difficult to get all of the details down on paper and put 100% into the conversation at the same time. Therefore, immediately after an interview, you should return to your computer and create a recap document that lists everything discussed during the meeting.
Be sure to include the good points and bad points of working for the company and the specific role for which you interviewed. Capture your first impressions, notes about the environment, the people you met, and all of the details about the job description and requirements. If a company calls you weeks after your interview (which happens very often), you can consult your recap document and be completely prepared to have a detailed conversation about the opportunity.
5. Keep looking for a job.
The most important thing you need to do after a job interview is to keep looking for a job. Even if the interviewer gives you the impression that you’re perfect for the job and makes you feel like you’re guaranteed to get it, you should keep your job search going. Nothing is guaranteed in the hiring process, and the only person who could be negatively affected if you stop or slow down your job search is you.
There are many reasons why a great interview might not end with a job offer within a few days. Some companies simply cannot move that quickly. Some interviewers aren’t good at being honest and make every candidate feel like they’re about to be hired. Often, you’re interview goes great and the interviewer wants to hire you but another candidate comes in afterwards who is even better for the position. If you’re interviewing at a large company, headcounts come and go at a moment’s notice, and hiring can be put on hold at anytime.
Bottom-line, don’t stop looking for a job until you have a confirmed offer in hand and a start date marked on your calendar.