What to Do After a Job Interview – How to Follow Up

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You’ve made it through the job interview. The beads of sweat pulling through your pores can finally be wiped away. Your voice can finally be lubricated with a glass of water. Your heart rate can return to normal with the faint sigh of making it through. The anxieties have ended, or so you believed. Now, you enter the most nerve-wracking experience of the entire job-hunting process: after the job interview.

While the entirety of the process has been up to you, the applicant, the role reversal has shifted. There’s not much else you can do but sit and twiddle your thumbs. Is that enough? Are you doing enough after the job interview to help you secure that dream job?

The period after a job interview can be one of the hardest times during the job hunt. While it may only be a few days for the employer, your perspective makes it feel like an eternity. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help you both relax and push the decision process along.

As a staffing agency, we find ourselves on the other side of the process every day. That experience gives us an understanding of what the candidate should and shouldn’t do while we make our decision, though.

How to Know the Interview Went Well

Ultimately, it’s impossible to know that a job interview went well before you receive confirmation.

Shoot. Even if you do get denied the job, that doesn’t mean the interview went badly.

Most often, believing the job interview went well (or not) will depend on your psyche. If confident, you are liable to believe everything went smoothly. Unless you have blatant evidence that you fumbled a few questions, you can only base your summarization upon your gut feelings. But some of us tend to sway more negatively, believing everything we do to be at a fault.

We’ve all had interviews we thought we bombed, only to get offered the job a few days later.

There are a few ways to tell the interview went positively, though.

1. The Interview Went Longer Than Expected

On average, job interviews run between 45 and 90 minutes (according to Indeed). If it is going to be longer than that, the interviewer will often alert you before you schedule it, allowing you to plan around an extended interview.

If the job interview went longer than the allotted time, you can be pretty sure that everything went well. A hiring manager isn’t going to waste their time (and more) with a candidate that doesn’t fit the bill. If your interview went long, the interviewer was interested in finding out more about you.

That’s a great sign!

2. The Interview Gave You a Timeline

If the interviewer gave you a timeline or an estimate on how long it would take to receive a decision, start the job, and get into the position, you knocked the interview out of the park.

At the end of the day, the interviewer wanted to let you know how the next steps were going to play out. They don’t want you to feel as if you are hanging on a thread, waiting to see what’s going to happen. It almost certainly means you are being moved into the final candidates, or at least the next step of the recruitment process.

Also, this gives you a leg up on the rest of the article. If you know the estimated decision time, you can do the rest of the tips with ease.

3. You Were Shown Around

If the hiring manager went on to show you around the work area or introduce you to other employees, you are likely in the final decision on candidacy. Congratulations!

This one is pretty simple. Why would an interviewer show you around your potential workplace and introduce you to other workers if they didn’t consider you a serious candidate for the position?

They wouldn’t.

Why Does the After Period Matter

If you crafted an impressive resume, researched the company, and nailed all of the interview questions, you may believe the rest of the work is out of your hands. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Your work is not finished.

After a job interview, you have the chance to push a few attributes further into the employer’s head. Firstly, you can show them how much you care about the job by following up eagerly. Secondly, you can show them how professional you are with your next steps. Finally, everything you do after the job interview keeps your name fresh in the employer’s mind.

While the after period isn’t the time to press and annoy the employer, it is a time to let them know you are a serious and professional candidate. It’s not as crucial of a period as the interview, but how you handled the after period can still make or break your employment chances.

Get Contact Information First

Always save the contact information of the interviewer. If you do not have their email or phone number, feel free to ask them at the end of the interview. Ask if you can receive their email address in case you have any further questions. There is nothing weird or off-putting about this inquiry. In fact, hiring managers may appreciate the ask. It shows that you are serious about the job and any questions you may have.

If the interviewer tells you they will reach out to you, dismissing the idea of mutual contact between you two, you may want to consider your chances low. If the interviewer doesn’t plan on further communication, you probably didn’t get the job.

Furthermore, feel free to ask the employer about the upcoming timeline. It’s not pushy to ask when you would hear back about your candidacy (or at least an estimate). It’s entirely possible that the interviewer doesn’t know, but they can give you an idea. Even the broadest of timelines can help ease your waiting anxiety and help you plan the next steps.

After all, it’s okay to want to know more about your chances. You are eager, and that’s a great sign to the employer.

What to Do After a Job Interview

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

— Beverly Sills, American Opera Singer

Enough of the dilly-dallying. It’s time to get down to business.

You are eager to find out how you did. You can see the beautiful, golden light of your dream job at the end of the tunnel, but you cannot wait to find out the path ahead. Your fingernails have already been chewed down to nubs.

The time after a job interview can be the toughest part of the entire process. Here are seven tips to help you relax, stay positive, and help instill positivity in the potential employer.

1. Send Thank You Note

The first thing you should do after a job interview is to send the interviewer a thank you note.

While some believe this first tip to be an antiquated process, there’s something to be said about keeping things old school. After all, it can’t hurt your chances.

After the first 24 hours after a job interview, send the interviewer a thank you note. It doesn’t need to be handwritten (though that’s extra nice), but a short email will do. After all, the employer did take time out of their day to speak with you and give you a chance at winning the job. The business also used precious resources to scout and vet you. A thank you can’t hurt.

Keep the letter or email short and sweet. State that you want to thank them for taking the time to meet with you and that you are extremely excited to hear their decision. That’s it. That’s all. There is no need to break into more detail or start asking follow-up questions (we will get to that later). Just let them know you are thankful for the opportunity.

Not only does this show the employer you are serious about the job, but it also keeps your interview fresh in their mind. Don’t let them forget you.

2. Contact Your References

If the job at hand asked for a list of references during your application process, now would be the time to reach out to them.

Call or email the references you listed to let them know that the future employer may be reaching out to them.

While you don’t need to give them all of the details, you could let them know what the position or industry is, what the business is, what number they may be calling from (that way they don’t ignore the call), and when they should look out for contact.

You shouldn’t go into a spiel asking the reference to say great things about you (if they aren’t already going to do that, then they shouldn’t be your references), but it is polite to let them know contact is coming their way. Letting them know the industry and position can help them say positives that directly relate to the job at hand, too.

Finally, make sure to thank them. Like the interviewer, the references are taking time out of their day to answer questions about you.

3. Write Down Thoughts and Key Points

While this next tip should be done directly after you leave an interview, it still counts as a post-interview tip.

As soon as you leave an interview, write down all of the key points that were discussed. Also, write down what answers you gave and how the interviewer responded. Simply put, these questions may be asked again in the second interview if there is one. You should reflect upon them and research the correct answers. If there were any you weren’t sure about, remember to pinpoint them for the second interview. Let the interviewer know you did your research about it, helping make up for your botched answer the first time.

If you were unsure of a few questions, you want to research the answers anyway. Not only will it help you prepare for the position if you do get the job, but it will allow you to prepare for the question in the future. If you are applying for jobs in the same field or role, you will likely see all of the same questions. Having the correct answer for all of them may take a bit of trial and error. Don’t forget the industry-related questions asked.

Though we often say not to be critical of yourself, now is the time. Think about what you could have done better and keep note of it. It may be useful for your next interview.

If there’s anything you wanted to say, but didn’t get to, write them down. We will bring the points out in the next tip.

4. Follow Up After

Here’s the big one.

If you do not hear from the employer within two-to-three days of the thank you note (so three-to-four days after the interview), you should send a follow-up email. This letter is a bit different and more detailed than the thank you note. It will include a few different things.

At the end of the day, the follow-up letter is used to do a few things. It’s used to keep you fresh in the mind of the interviewer, establish your want for the job, give you a chance to ask further questions, and speed up the hiring process.

  • Don’t make it too long. This isn’t the time for a full letter. The shorter, the better.
  • Make sure to thank them again. It shouldn’t be profusely thanking them, but you can still show respect.
  • If you have any further questions to ask, now is the time.
  • These further questions should be about the actual job and company, not about the hiring timeline, money, or hiring decision. Therefore, don’t ask things like when you will hear back, if they made their decision, or how much you would be making. Only ask questions you didn’t get to during the interview like specifics about the role.
  • Note you are very excited for the opportunity and give specific examples if possible.
  • If there’s any information about you not being able to respond, now is the time. For example, if you are going on vacation the next week, let them know you’ll be out of town and may not respond immediately. Just get ahead of miscommunication.
  • Always, always end the email or letter with ‘I look forward to hearing from you soon’ inadvertently putting pressure on them to make a decision or give you a timeline estimate.
Example of Follow-Up Email:

Hi Employer,

Once again, I want to thank you for meeting with me for the interview. It was a pleasure to speak with you about the [specific] position and get to learn more about your company.

I am extremely excited about the possibility of working in the position. I believe that working with the department and helping create [specific project or duties] would be a fantastic and rewarding opportunity.

I did have a further question regarding the position. [insert any further questions if you have them. If not, ignore this part. It isn’t necessary]

If there is anything else you need from me regarding the decision, let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you,
Employee Name

If the thank you note wasn’t enough, hopefully this letter will push the employer to get back to you. Don’t expect to receive a response with a decision. Even just a note back will show that you are on their mind and they are still working through the vetting process.

What If You Don’t Hear Back?

If you haven’t heard back from the thank you note or follow-up email, there are two possibilities. Either the hiring manager is away, extremely busy, or you have been eliminated as a candidate.

Regardless of the reason, a lack of communication should be a red flag. Even if the manager is away from work, you should still receive an automated response email. Not hearing back completely is a strange and unflattering sign about the company. Even if you didn’t get chosen for the job, you should still hear back.

We recommend sending one more email after the follow-up. Follow up a week after the initial email. Respond to the email with a simple “Did you receive this? Still looking forward to hearing from you!”

If you don’t receive a response after that, move on. You could still hear back, but don’t pause your life.

5. Don’t End Your Job Search

Following up on that last sentence; do not pause your life while waiting for the job.

A simple and common mistake is putting all of your eggs in one basket. When the interview goes well, you can have the tendency to become overjoyed, convincing yourself that you have nailed the job and are going to get the offer immediately. While it’s okay to be positive, don’t let this stop your job search.

Keep hunting for jobs. Keep applying. You never know what’s going to happen with the gig you already applied for. Tons of people apply for each position. If only one is chosen, your chances are slim. If you need employment, the best way to increase your chances is to keep applying and interviewing.

Therefore, there should be a mix of both contacting the aforementioned job for updates and applying to new ones. You can still keep the dream job at the top of the priority list and job hunt.

If you get caught in a problem where you accepted a new job and finally get the offer from the first one, you may find yourself in a weird pickle. Luckily, we broke that entire process down in our article,
What to Do When You Receive a Better Job Offer? – Ultimate Guide

6. Keep Track of Everything

This is a simple-but-important tip.

During a job search, you are going to be applying and interviewing for tons of gigs (hopefully). If you are reaching out and thanking all of them, you may find yourself completely baffled by information, emails, and interview notes. Therefore, keep track of EVERYTHING.

When you take notes after an interview, keep track of what job and company it was for. When you send emails to hiring managers to follow up, write down who you reached out to, what job it was, and when you sent the email.

Do not find yourself confused with names, companies, and dates. Don’t send double emails to one employer thinking it’s two or reference an entirely different job to the wrong employer. These mix-ups are possible and excusable, but they don’t help your professional image.

If you are like me (easily scattered), keep everything written down and noted.

7. Be Patient

It’s important to remember that hiring managers have a lot going on. On average, 118 candidates apply for one single job and 20% are interviewed. If there is only one hiring manager in the department, they have their hands full. It can take longer than you’d imagine to find and vet the right employee.

As a staffing agency, we have helped tons of companies and HR departments complete their recruiting. We know just how bogged down they can become.

Though it may sound contradicting to our last point, be patient with companies. You should still continue your job search, sure, but always give the first job at least a week to respond. At the least, they should be able to respond to you and give you an update on the decision timeline. The average time it takes to hear a decision is one-to-two weeks after a job interview. Anything less is a bonus!

Keep Going!

 “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

— Henry Ford, American Industrialist

If you never hear back from the company or get denied, remember that it’s only the beginning. There are plenty of job opportunities out there. Never, ever give up on your job search. Even if you have to take a lower position or a position in a different industry, always build toward a better future. Always apply to jobs that you want.

At the end of the day, learn from your previous interviews and become a better candidate. Never give up.

Here are more articles and tips for winning that dream job: