You went for the job interview that you wanted, you loved the company, the boss, and the position and have made the mental decision that this is the perfect job for you, but what should you be doing now?  how can you ensure that after your job interview you present yourself in the best possible light?  You want to keep the right impression of you in the hiring managers mind and increase your chances of being successful with your application for the job.

After Your Job Interview

First of all, you need to make sure that you understand what the interview process looks like in the future.  Did you ask the question, “What is the next stage of the interview process and when will I get some feed-back as whether or not you will proceed with my application?

If you have asked this question, you will know when you’re likely to hear feed-back and most importantly when you can start to follow-up if you have not heard anything.  If the interviewer tells you that a decision will be made in the next two weeks, then there is no point in following up after a few days as at the very least, all you are showing is that you cannot follow instructions.

Thank You Email

You just returned home, there are a few things that will help your application.  Numero uno is that you have to seriously think about whether the job interview went well.  Do not get your hopes real high if the interview did not go well, what is the point of that?  I would advise you to make some notes of what you think went well, but also think about the answers to the questions that maybe you could have done better on.  Do this at your earliest opportunity, the interview will be fresh on your mind.  Chances are that if you are asked for a FINAL interview process with the CEO, or somebody of that nature, the questions will be similar.

After a day or two, it is a good idea to send a “thank you email or note” directly to the interviewer.  First off, it is a polite note that shows the interviewer that you are a friendly person, but it will also separate you from the other applicants.  Most candidates make the mistake of sending that email right at the conclusion of their interview which usually ends up getting overlooked or bypassed given the hiring manager just missed a few hours of regular work conducting your interview.  Your email will be acknowledged but most likely deleted.  If you wait the day or two, the hiring manager will most likely be back to his/her normal routine and you will have a way better chance of staying in the inbox!

I am often asked by candidates whether they should send an email or write a handwritten note.  My advice is that a hand-written note is special and will more than likely separate you from the crowd more than an email would, your note needs to be read, and with most decision makers having some form of an assistant opening mail, the chances are slim that your note will even be read.  Shoot them an email, that seems like the most direct path to the hiring manager.

When writing a “thank you email”, keep it professional and make sure that you address it to the hiring manager directly.  Given you have now met the hiring manager, you should know their name, and therefore can address your email directly to them starting with Dear…..

The Do’s and The Don’ts

Do follow the instructions that you have been given.  If during your interview, you’re told to wait for two weeks before following up via email, then while it may be difficult, you need to make sure that you wait for two weeks and follow-up via email.  It sounds ridiculous and obvious, but the number of candidates that I have told to wait two weeks and then follow-up via email, and a week later they’re calling asking for feed-back would amaze you.  It’s really not professional and not what I would expect from a professional candidate.

Do check in with your references that you have provided to the employer and let them know that the employer might contact them.  If you have chosen the right person, then you can also give them details on how the interview went and any areas where they could help you out with.  If the interviewer was worried about your management skills, maybe your reference can talk in detail about your management skills and give some examples of how you have led your teams in the past.

Do leverage the contacts within your personal network.  Now you have the name of the hiring manager, you can use LinkedIn or any other professional network to find mutual contacts who could put in a good word for you, directly to the hiring manager.  A good word from someone who the manager knows well will only help you.

Do take notes on both the company and the interview with which you can use to further prepare yourself for your next interview.  Maybe during your interview, you can find out who the next interview will be with and do some background research on them to find out if you have any mutual contacts.

Don’t pester the hiring manager for feed-back every day after your interview.  If you’re told the decision will be made in a week, hiring managers will not take lightly to phone calls asking for feed-back after a couple of days.  You may think that this shows that your hungry for the opportunity, however in reality, it just makes you look desperate.

Don’t reach out for job interview feed-back more than twice otherwise you start to become a problem candidate. Companies do not like hiring problem candidates and whilst its often difficult to accept that there is your perfect job in front of you, you’re not the right candidate.  Companies will often do their best to respond to candidates that have interviewed with them, but often there are just too many candidates and you don’t

Don’t “friend” the interviewer on Facebook, send them a message on twitter or try to contact them using any other social media programs.  LinkedIn is okay to use and I would recommend that you connect with them on LinkedIn which you can use for future reference, however make sure that you keep it professional.  We have all had the horror stories of candidates connecting with hiring managers on Facebook with the sentence, “What’s up” and honestly it does not make you look like a professional candidate.

Don’t react badly and burn your bridges even if you get rejected.  Just because you have been turned down for one role, does not mean there will not be other opportunities in the future.  If you act like a spoiled brat, the door will close forever, however if you keep your emotions in check and try to find out where you went wrong, maybe in the future another opportunity will come up that you will be better suited for.

Finally as a very risky strategy, you could try to close the employer into making a decision.  This is a very risky strategy, however can work well in some cases.  If an employer is making you wait for long periods of time then it can work to your advantage by telling them that you have another offer with one of their competitors.  Companies do not like losing employees to the competition and therefore if you speak with the hiring manager, explain that you have another offer with a time limit of a few days, however you would prefer to work for them, this could spring them into making you an offer rather than losing a candidate to another place.

Don’t Stop Looking – Unfortunately you never know what will happen one day to the next.  I have heard in the past when verbal offers have been withdrawn due to a hiring freeze or the employer changes their mind. Until you actually start working, it’s always better to carry on interviewing.

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