What To Do After an Interview: 9 Tips to Help You Succeed

Updated July 21, 2022

It's common knowledge employers use interviews to screen for employees that would be a fit for the position and culture of the business, but fewer of us understand what to do after an interview and how that impacts our chances of getting the job.

Many candidates spend the time after an interview wondering when they are supposed to reach out, considering whether they should call or email and hoping they present as eager and capable. However, there are things you could do to help you get hired.

In this article, we'll discuss the waiting period after an interview and how you can use it to secure your dream job.

Related: 21 Job Interview Tips

Why is the period of time after an interview important?

The period after a job interview is important for a few reasons. First, it provides you the opportunity to, again, present yourself as a professional. You have the chance to do this during your interview, but you can reinforce it in the post-interview follow up by following the practices outlined in this article.

Second, it is a chance to elevate yourself as a candidate by keeping your name fresh in the interviewer's mind. Third, taking the right steps after an interview shows eagerness for the job which can be a deciding factor if you're being closely considered against other candidates.

Common things to do after an interview

While there's a lot of opportunity during this time, some candidates may also encounter challenges. For instance, some may express concern about when is the right time to contact a potential employer, how should it be done and how often. The following tips will help you feel confident, professional and justified in your post-interview follow up and might put you at the top of the candidate shortlist:

1. Ask for next steps and contact information

When finishing an interview, it's critical to get the contact information of the hiring manager and ask for next steps. This may result in learning the window of time for decision making. Rather than asking, "What are next steps?" Try questions that will give you more information like, "How many days do you think you need to make a decision?" or "Will there be a second interview, and if so, when will you be notifying candidates moving forward?"

2. Assess your interview performance

To assess your own performance, write the questions you recall answering and how you answered them. Importantly, also include the things you didn't say that you wish you had. You may work some things into follow up. The goal is to identify issues and why they occurred. It can help you in future interviews.

Related: Top Sales Interview Questions

3. Write down anything you want to remember

If there is anything you want to remember, outside of how you answered the questions and what you did and didn't say, record that too. Perhaps you met with more than one person; jot down their names. Write down insights you gleaned about the office environment that you have further questions about, should you get a second interview, or things you want to remember about the interviewers.

4. Send a thank you note to the hiring manager

A thank you note within 24 hours of the interview is an important task to complete in the post-interview window. In some industries, a more formal note like a handwritten thank you card might be in order. Look to your cohorts to determine the best way to say thank you, but issue a note of gratitude to the employer who took the time to interview you.

5. Reference a current industry event in the news or literature

If you chose to write a note via email, this allows you to impress by including a link to something current and relevant to your interview and industry. For example, if you discussed management styles, perhaps include a link to a book that talks more about the management approach you take. If you're interviewing in a technical industry that is always changing, maybe provide a link to the community that you use to stay current on technical IT issues.

Related: Interview Question: "How Do You Define Success?"

6. Connect on social media business networking sites

If you're on any business networking social sites, see if you can connect with your interviewer after the interview. If they accept your request, it could be an indicator they are interested in learning more about you. This is an essential part of growing your personal network. Even if you end up in a different position with a different company, growing your network is beneficial and helps you stay poised for future opportunities.

7. Send any supporting documents

If there are any supporting documents required, send those post-interview. This could be a page of references, a written assessment or maybe even consent forms to run various checks as part of the pre-screening process. Getting these back in a timely fashion should be a top priority.

8. Contact your references

If you submitted references to your potential employer, after your first interview you should let them know someone might contact them. It's customary to only submit references if the person knows you are using them as a reference. However, at this point, if you think they will be called, you should notify references so they know to expect it.

9. Get comfortable with waiting

Fill the post-interview waiting time reviewing your interview assessment, picking up new skills and immediately preparing for your next interviews. If you have people with connections to the company in your existing network, you can connect with them to see if they can offer more insight or speak to the hiring manager on your behalf. Remain calm and only call or email to the hiring manager's preferences. For example, if they specified email follow up within a week, then email them rather than call, and only do it when they asked you to.

Interview tips for success

Now that you are comfortable with how to handle the post-interview follow up, here are some interview tips that could help you in your next interview:

Research the company first

Before your interview, research the company to better understand what they do, what their hiring needs might be and basic information you might be expected to know to get your foot in the door. Sometimes interviewers open an interview with something like, "Tell us what you know about us." You'll be better prepared to address the interviewer if you are prepared with some foundational information.

Practice answers to common interview questions

Before you go into an interview, it's recommended you practice answers to common questions. Questions like, "Tell me about yourself," or "Why do you think you are a good fit for the position," are likely to come up, so be prepared to answer them by practicing your answers.

Get familiar with the job description

The job description offers insight as to what the company's needs are and what skills they are seeking in an employee. Get familiar with the job description by spending time reviewing it in advance of the interview.

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