Looking for a job is a lot like dating — you put on your nicest clothes, you meet questions with poised responses that show off your best self, and you’re constantly wondering what the person on the other side of the table thinks of you. Then your time ends and you leave.
However, landing the job of your dreams doesn’t merely happen once you shake hands and part ways. Here are the post-interview steps that you can — and should — take directly following your meeting that will increase the likelihood of your success, and fortunately it doesn’t include any worrying about if you’re moving too fast.
1. Send a thank you note the same day
Within 24 hours of your interview, you should reach out and thank your interviewer(s) for taking the time out to speak with you. This is your opportunity to succinctly reiterate how well qualified you are, and if you have any more pitches or elaborations on something you discussed in your interview, briefly mention them here. The goal of the email is to keep them thinking about you and demonstrate your excitement for the position.
It is important to keep in mind that your thank you email is just a short follow-up. Keep your your polite and your letter quick, professional, and error-free. Stay on your points of why you’re the right fit for the position and then hit send — nothing too casual. (Save the cutesy gifs and funny memes for once you get the job.) Also, it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes check for spelling errors. Not sending a thank you note is better than sending a thank you note riddled with typos and grammatical issues.
2. Follow-up in the time specified
One of the interview questions you should ask is when you should expect to hear from them. Once you have agreed on a time, honor that. Other than your immediate thank you email, do not pester. If you discussed that it will be a week before the hiring manager would reach out, then give them a week.
However, if they said a week and a week comes and there still has been no contact, you may send a pleasant email the following day just to touch base and inquire about the status of the position. If there’s still radio silence, give them another week before you reach out again. In the hyper competitive job market, it is very likely that it may take two follow-up emails to get a response.
3. Let it go
Here’s the tricky part of the post-interview process that draws parallels back to dating — accepting that it’s not working out. If after two emails you do not hear back, it’s time to move on. Sometimes hiring managers get so oversaturated with applicants and interviewees that they forget to reach out to everyone they have spoken to. Other times, they keep you on the hook in case the person they chose doesn’t work out. It can be a tough call on your part when to accept that this likely won’t be the job for you--but it’s an important call to make to keep you from getting too jaded during the daunting job hunt.
One important thing to keep in mind as you decide to move on to other things is if they don’t respect you enough to respond to your emails or hold true to their promises of contact, then they likely won’t respect you as an employee. Your time is valuable and you should stick to that. Believe in yourself and your abilities and take your skills elsewhere.
4. Keep applying
Applying for jobs can seem like a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, and it is. But you don’t have to be idle just because you are in the middle of the interview process for a position. You should continue to apply for jobs that interest and excite you. In addition to keeping your options open, many experts have suggested that routinely applying to jobs, even if you have a job, can keep your mind sharp and your skills relevant. It will also help you keep focused on career goals you have made for yourself.
The waiting period can be more stressful than the interview process. But, even if you don’t land the job you initially interviewed for, pat yourself on the back for getting to that point. Only an average of 2% of applicants get interviews. Remember that you got that far and use that momentum to keep moving forward. Someday the perfect job will come, and these quick steps will help you lock it down.
Alexandra Deabler is a writer and editor. She has published articles about California history, travel, lifestyle, personal essays, and short fiction. She lives in New York City and can be reached through her website: alexandradeabler.com.
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