Interviewing for a new job can be a truly nerve-racking experience. In fact, you might be more than a little ready to stop thinking about it altogether once the interview is over. That, however, would be a mistake. There are a few things you should do after an interview that could actually help you land the job.
Here are five suggestions.
Record some notes
As soon as you get out of the meeting, write down everything you can remember. No, this isn’t a creative writing exercise. If anything, it’s an acknowledgement that human beings are flawed and strange; your feelings about how things went can change from day to day (and hour to hour). More importantly, you might not remember all the details, and details can be very useful, especially when you want to write a detailed, thoughtful follow-up email.
So, once you’ve left the interview, jot down the names of the people you met with, their job titles, what you talked about, and anything else that seemed significant. Also, make note of any questions you still have.
Send a brief but thoughtful follow-up email
Following up after an interview is important, and now that you have your notes, you have material to work with. So, take a few minutes to send a quick email to the people you spent significant time with during your interview (one email to a whole group should do the trick). You can do this within a few hours of your meeting, and you should definitely try to get to it to them by the end of the following day. If you don’t already have email addresses, do some quick homework online. You’ll almost certainly be able to locate that information relatively quickly.
Be friendly, and use the notes you took to say something that separates you from the pack (do you want to link to something you discussed? Share something from your portfolio that is relevant?). Remember, the ultimate goal is to keep your name, and your visit, on everyone’s mind. It might also be a good time to ask follow-up questions on the role or its tasks. You don’t, however, want to take up much of their time with this email, so be sure to keep in short.
Whether you get this job or not, you should be able to learn something from this interview. The best way to do that is to be sure to take some time to reflect on the interview. How do you rate your own performance? Was there something you feel you can improve on? Discuss it with someone you trust. Or do a little writing about what went well and what could’ve gone better. The goal here isn’t to make yourself feel bad; it’s to identify weak spots in your interviewing and communication skills so that you can do better next time. Was there a question that tripped you up? Had a hard time describing your experience? Do some research into common interview questions and practice, practice, practice!
This process will also help you understand if the company position are really right for you. Now is the time to be honest with yourself.
Send a thank-you note
According to a CareerBuilder survey cited by Fast Company, 56 percent of employers said that not receiving a thank-you note indicated that a candidate wasn’t really serious about the position. And, 22 percent of employers said they’d be less likely to hire someone who doesn’t send a note after an interview.
“The best time frame to send a thank-you email is within 24 hours after your interview,” Whitney Purcell, associate director of career development at Susquehanna University told Business Insider. “It should be sent during business hours – no 3 a.m. emails that make your schedule seem a little out of whack with the company’s traditional hours.”
Again, you want to take this opportunity to stand out from the pack. Use the notes you took just after the interview to write personalized thank-you notes to the people you met with during your visit. Be sure to mention some of the things you spoke about that day. Be interesting and interested. And, be sure not to make any grammatical errors in these cards. This final step is crucial. After all this time and effort, you don’t want to lose the job because you spelled something incorrectly.
If you can, ask for feedback
There may be a lot of good that can come from this process, even if you don’t get the job. Occasionally, when you’re turned down for a position, you’ll be notified by phone or email. If that happens to you, seize the opportunity. Thank them for taking them time to contact you, and then ask for more information about why you weren’t hired. Tell them that you’d like to learn from this process and that any feedback would be very much appreciated. Not only will you reiterate your professionalism, you’ll likely learn something that will help you the next time around.
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