Congratulations! You’ve made it through your interview, and it went well. Most people think this is where the process ends, but then start to feel anxiety when they haven’t heard back from their contact within a few days. Here are some concrete steps to take after your interview to help manage your expectations and leave a good impression with the company.
For those of you just joining in, this is the last step in the five-step process to landing a new job. Here are the steps we’ve already covered: write a killer resume; use your network; prepare for the interview; and nail your interview.
Step 5: After the Interview
1.Ask for Next Steps. Before you leave for the day, be sure to ask your main contact for what their next steps are in the process and how soon you can expect to hear from them. This part of the process usually takes longer than it feels like it should. By having a more specific timeline, it allows you to follow-up in a timely manner without it being too early or too late! If they don’t give you something specific, ask if it would be ok for you to follow up with them proactively in two weeks if you haven’t heard anything. Most likely they will say yes, and now you have a specific timeframe that you will definitely be back in touch.
2. Send Thank You Notes. Be sure to consider sending a thank you note to every person you met during your interviews. Thank you notes are not necessary, but they are a nice touch and a way to help you stand-out among a group of candidates.
The best way to make an impact with a thank you note is to send one individually to each person you met with, include something meaningful from your conversation with them, and share one nugget that reinforces why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Be sure to ask for business cards from the people you meet so you have their contact information – or ask your main contact for the email addresses of each person you met with. If you are going to send thank you notes, be sure to send them within 24 hours of your interview.
3. Follow Up. Hopefully you hear from your main contact before you get to this step. But, in case you don’t, be sure you follow-up with a phone call if you haven’t heard from them by the agreed upon timing (in step 1 above). A phone call allows for a more human connection than sending a follow up by email or text. You can treat this like a polite check-in referencing that you know they are busy, you are excited about the job, and you are hoping to get a status update on their process.
4. Don’t Accept Too Soon! Let’s hope that the next time you hear from your main contact it is with a job offer. Congratulations!! My advice once you reach this stage is to ask a bunch of questions to ensure you understand the full offer – compensation, benefits, relocation and/or signing bonus (if applicable), etc. Then, tell your contact that you’d like 2 days to consider the offer and you will be back in touch. This allows you time to think it over, talk with a trusted advisor and/or family, and determine what negotiation you may want to pursue. No matter how excited you are, I never recommend accepting the offer on the first call! And, if you aren’t sure what or how to negotiate, let’s connect and we can talk about your individual situation.
5. Bow Out Graciously. If you decide that the job is not right for you, graciously bow out. This can be at any point in the process – after the interview, after a request for a background check, or even after the offer.
Even if something happened during the interview that made you feel like you would never want to work for that organization, take a pause and calm down. It is a small world, people are connected in unexpected ways, and you never know what the leadership of that organization may look like in 5 years. Leave the situation with your integrity and reputation intact. That means no ghosting the company, and no snarky comments made publicly about the organization or the process. Thank them for their time and interest and explain that you are no longer interested.
I hope you’ve gotten value from the 5 steps to landing a new job. To make it easier, I have put a condensed version together in a 5X5 grid with all of these tips on one page (the download is available above). Remember, some of these tips will vary based on your unique situation. If you want some individualized guidance, reach out to us! We are rooting for you in your job search and are here to help if you need it –Good Luck!
Jennifer is a seasoned leader and executive coach with over 20 years experience including as a Chief Human Resources Officer overseeing the HR and Communications functions. She is an Associate Certified Coach through ICF.
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