Tips for following up after an interview

As you get back to your car/home after finishing an interview it can be tough to know what to do next. You may have mixed emotions about what you did and didn’t say and you’ll possibly feel relieved that something you spent a lot of time building up to is over and done.

It’s important, though, that you don’t just leave it there. The interview may be the hardest part of the job application process but it’s important to follow up afterwards.

The post-interview process should begin, in effect, right at the end of your actual interview. You’ll typically be asked if you have any questions and this is your chance to find out more about the next stage. Make sure you ask when it is likely that you’ll find out if you’ve been successful and clear up anything you might not have been sure about – how many posts are there? How many applicants are there? Is there another stage?

It’ll help prevent an awkward silence at the end of the interview and will ensure you have a clear timetable going forward.

The next thing to do is compose a short and courteous thank you note to the person who interviewed you. Don’t go over the top but thank them for taking the time to listen to what you said and explain that you are looking forward to hearing from them.

This could be hand written – for the personal touch – or an email. The latter is probably better if there’s any extra information that you need to send. Don’t bombard them with unnecessary paperwork – you’ve had the chance to get your point across at length – but if you’ve got a quick example of something that came up in the interview, maybe an old piece of work you weren’t expecting to be discussed, then pop it over to them while it’s fresh in their minds.

After this it’s important to wait, sticking to the timetable that you’ve been set. Don’t become a pest. You may be nervous but hang on and bide your time.

If you reach the deadline you were given at your interview without having heard anything, then you should contact the company. It’s a good idea to telephone and speak to your interviewer in person if possible but don’t be pushy – there may well just be a delay and a new deadline.

If, in the long run, you are contacted to say you weren’t successful then make sure you ask for feedback on your performance. Your interviewers might not have time to pass on copious notes or have a long chat but any bits of advice you can take from a failed interview will be invaluable next time around.

The other important thing to do after any interview is to keep an eye on other potential job opportunities. Don’t rest on your laurels. If you’re not successful you’ll need to pick yourself up and get straight back on with your search and next application. Always keep your options open and recognise that even unsuccessful interview processes can be valuable.

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