Whew, your interview's over. You're probably feeling relieved and eager to hear about the next steps. Instead of just sitting back and crossing your fingers that a job offer will come your way, there are a few things you should be doing along with waiting by the phone.
Here are seven actions that can have a significant impact on how quickly you get hired.
1. Ask when you'll receive feedback.
Nobody likes waiting anxiously by the phone for days without knowing when they will hear news about whether they got the job. With that in mind, the first thing you should before leaving the interview is to ask when you can expect to hear feedback. That way, you'll be able to plan accordingly and be productive instead of waiting and worrying.
Also, mark your calendar with the date they told you, so you know when it's time to check in with them for an update. If you do this you’ll be able to follow up with confidence instead of worrying that you're being a pest or checking in too soon.
2. Audit your performance.
Sometimes you get hired by the first company you interview with, but that's not often the case. So your recently finished interview is a chance to learn and improve.
Were there any interview questions you weren't prepared for? Write them down and practice them for next time. Think if there's anything else you could have done better, like body language, eye contact, etc.
These are all things you can focus on when you prepare for your next interview. You don’t need to address them all right now. You just finished an interview and should take time to relax. However, be sure to make note of what you’d like to practice and improve for your next interview so you don’t forget.
3. Track everything.
Create a simple spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to track the different updates from different employers you're talking to.
I'd recommend setting up your spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Date of Last Update
- Details of Last Update
The "Details of Last Update" should leave room for some notes. This way, you can make an entry like, "Sent email on 7-24 for updates," or "Received voicemail from Todd. He said he will get back to me Friday with an update." That way, you'll know when to message each employer to stay on top of the situation.
You can add anything else you want to the spreadsheet, too, as an additional column. The three columns above are just a starting point. For example, you could include the method of contact (phone, email, etc.) and person of contact for each company. This may seem basic, but if you're talking to a high number of employers, it can be difficult to keep track of names and emails.
4. Don't go behind anyone's back.
When waiting for feedback, pick one single person from the company to communicate with. This will usually be someone from HR or the person who has been scheduling your interviews.
If you're finishing an interview and aren't sure who you're going to be in touch with about feedback, you should be sure to ask so you'll know who to follow up with.
This will make things simpler for you and will generally be the best way to keep a positive impression with the employer, too. HR departments don't like when someone goes behind their back to try to fast-track the process.
Of course, if the hiring manager told you they'd be in touch directly, then it's appropriate to start communicating with them rather than HR. Just pick one point of contact after your interview and stick with that person.
There is one exception. If you've been waiting for more than a week for a reply, it's reasonable to contact someone else in the company to ask for an update. Here's how I'd recommend positioning it:
I hope you're doing well.
I emailed Beth nine days ago and haven't heard a response from her, so I wasn't sure if she's been in the office. Do you have any updates regarding the Senior Staff Accountant position I interviewed for on Monday, 7/26? I was excited by what I heard in the interview and am eager to hear any news you can share.
Thank you for your time,
I once interviewed with a software firm in Boston and the recruiter (who was my main point of contact) left the company midway through the process and nobody told me.
I would have never received an update unless I had contacted someone else in the company. So use your best judgment. Don't rush to contact a second person in the company during a minor delay or gap in communication, but know that it is an option.
5. Expect delays.
Delays are normal throughout the hiring process. Key decision-makers get sick or go on vacation. Sometimes emergencies come up and the hiring manager has to "put out a fire" rather than focusing on hiring. Remember, hiring managers are often running a team and have a lot going on aside from interviewing people.
While this can be frustrating for a job seeker, it's common even if the company loved you in the interview. So I'd recommend waiting one extra day beyond when you were told you'd hear feedback before following up.
For example, if an employer said they'd have feedback for you on Wednesday, wait until Thursday to check in with them. That way, you won't seem overly eager or desperate, yet you'll still show them that you're staying on top of things and excited to hear about the next steps.
6. Be polite and understanding.
When you do check in with the employer, never show frustration or anger. This will cost you job offers and will not speed up the process.
Employers have a lot of things to consider when making a hiring decision and aren't going to change their process based on a complaint. So while it's great to take initiative, follow up, and reaffirm your interest in the position, you never want to seem emotional or desperate. Be polite, cheerful and positive when emailing or calling employers.
If you find yourself getting frustrated, look for other productive things to do with your time.
7. Use downtime to get more interviews.
I never recommend waiting for one single employer to get back to you. There are countless reasons you could lose out on the job – from changes in the budget to the company finding an internal candidate they want to promote into the position.
None of these are within your control, unfortunately. So use downtime between interviews to apply for more jobs and schedule more interviews. Not only will this give you more opportunities to get hired, but it relieves stress by taking your mind off of waiting.
The more interviews and potential job offers you can get, the more confident you'll be and the less anxious you'll feel. Imagine having late-stage interviews with five different employers. You're going to be a lot less anxious when waiting for feedback, right?
And if one job offer doesn't come through or is delayed, it's not the end of the world. Yet if you put all your eggs in one basket and wait for a single job offer, you're back to square one in your job search if something goes wrong.
My advice is to don't stop applying for jobs until you've accepted a job offer in writing, filled out tax paperwork and scheduled your first day of work.
It’s better to have to turn down a job offer or tell an employer you're no longer available than be left with no interviews or offers because you were relying on one single employer that didn't come through.
If you follow the steps above after your interviews, you'll get more job offers and feel relaxed and confident throughout the process.
It's great to relax and decompress after a big interview, but make sure you're also giving yourself the best possible chance to land a new job.