After you leave that all-important interview, maybe you’re feeling a little less anxious than you did going in, now that you’ve done the hard part. Or maybe this is when the nerves really set in. Your mind is probably racing with questions — you're wondering what happens next and what you can do at this point to clinch the job. You're also thinking, what are they saying behind closed doors? And how should you follow up with the interviewers?
The post-interview process can be as nerve-wracking as the interview itself for some. You want to know how you came across to the hiring manager and what your next moves are as a candidate. Keep reading for tips for what to say to your prospective future employer, plus insights on what they’re saying about you.
What should you do as a candidate after the interview? It’s not over as soon as you leave the office; you still need to put in the effort to make a good impression on the hiring manager and the interviewing team. Here’s what to do immediately following an interview and after some time has passed.
First things first: what do you do right after the interview? Actually, your “follow-up” starts at the end of the interview itself. This is a good time to ask what the next steps are. You might find out that there are several more candidates they need to interview or that they expect to make a decision within the week. Use this timeline to inform your strategy for following up. If the hiring manager said she’d be in touch within two weeks and it’s only been one week, don’t bother her yet. Wait at least a few days after the timeframe she gave.
Is it okay to call the hiring manager directly after the interview? It’s better to send a note thanking each interviewer for her time and expressing your enthusiasm about the role and organization. (There’s some debate about whether a handwritten or emailed note is preferred in the digital age; our own Romy Newman advocates for the latter.) This can be more than just a polite gesture — it can be an opportunity to truly impress the hiring manager. Remember to send it within 24 hours of your interview. If you don't send one, it could cost you the job entirely.
How do you ask if you got the job after an interview? The timing of how to broach the topic can be tricky. After some time has passed — at least 1-2 weeks — it’s okay to check-in, usually via email. Remind the interviewer who you are (“It was a pleasure meeting with you on X date to discuss Y role”) and ask if they’ve made any decisions regarding the position. An exception to this is if the hiring manager told you the hiring process would take longer than that period of time but not shorter — often, there are unanticipated delays that lengthen it. If you were told it would be at least three weeks, wait until after that period of time to follow up.
You can also follow up in a less direct way. For example, you might mention that you saw something in the news about an issue you discussed. This is a way to keep yourself on the hiring manager’s radar without coming off as too pushy. Plus, you don’t have to wait too long to do this, although it’s best to wait at least a week after sending your thank-you note. Make it clear that you don’t expect her to respond — in other words, don’t give her more work to do.
But what are the hiring managers saying about you? Here are three common things they might discuss post-interview.
This is a no-brainer — of course they’re going to assess whether a candidate they just interviewed has the necessary skills for the job in question. They’ll likely discuss whether you have the skills that are essential for the job and the strength of those skills as they apply to the role, along with the experience you bring to the table. They might also touch on your soft skills — did you communicate and articulate yourself and your experience well? How are your interpersonal skills? Do you seem like someone who can solve problems and is willing to tackle them head-on? Some interviewers may emphasize certain technical and soft skills over others.
The hiring managers will also be gauging how interested you seem in the role. After all, they want to offer the position to someone who is invested in the organization and is truly excited about the role. That’s someone who is likely to accept the offer and stick around for a while. They understand that you may be interviewing elsewhere, but they still want to see that there’s something special about them and that they’re at the top of your list.
You may look great on paper and could be a great fit for the job itself — but what about the company? Fitting in with the company culture is just as important as whether you have the skills to do the job. You’ll be collaborating with your team and others at the organization, and if your work and communication styles don’t match those of other employees, you may have difficulty working with them. An in-person interview is a good time to assess the candidate’s personality and how she interacts with others.
Ultimately, what happens after the interview matters considerably, both from your end and the hiring manager’s. Still, it’s important to remember that you’ve done the bulk of the work at this point, so try not to be too anxious or impatient about what comes next — the hiring process can be lengthy and involved.