Don’t Stop Now: Six Things Job Searchers Should Do After a Great Interview
If you’ve just rocked a job interview, you might be tempted to sit back, relax, and wait to hear, “You’re hired!” But Peter K. Studner reminds you that a lot can happen between an
outstanding interview and a job offer. Here, he shares six things job searchers
should do to further their campaigns after interviewing.
You’ve just had your first, second, or even third interview with a prospective employer, and you walked away from the meeting with a really good feeling. The interviewer may have even let slip that you’d be a great fit for the company or that your accomplishments are impressive. Understandably, you’re excited about the possibility of being hired. And if you’re like many job searchers, you’ll assume that your campaign is (finally) at a turning point.
But Peter K. Studner warns you not to ease off the gas pedal just yet!
“A lot can happen between an outstanding interview and a job offer,” says Studner, author of Super Job Search IV: The Complete Manual for Job Seekers & Career Changers(Jamenair Ltd., 2015, ISBN: 978-0-938667-06-3, $26.95, www.SuperJobSearch.com). “Often, a great interview will put you in a group of five or six finalists, which must be narrowed down. Or the company might locate an internal candidate who eclipses external applicants. Or they decide to put the search on hold, or cancel it altogether.”
He adds: “The point is, there are many reasons why a promising job lead can dead-end, even after the interview stage. So don’t break your forward momentum until you have an offer in hand!”
Studner, who is a master career counselor and whose outplacement firm has helped over 27,000 people transition from one job to the next, speaks from experience. In Super Job Search IV, he guides readers through the complicated process of conducting a successful job search campaign. Best of all, Super Job Search IV isn’t “just” a book—it’s a systematic approach to finding a job that includes online resources and an app with information about job leads, companies, and recruiters around the world.
Here, Studner shares six things job seekers should do after a great interview:
Don’t assume you’ve crossed the finish line. This bears repeating: Smart candidates will keep their campaigns moving full steam ahead while waiting for a job offer. Stop-and-go searches are depressing and create enormous amounts of needless stress each time you have to restart your campaign.
“Keep networking and courting other employers,” Studner advises. “Try to actively cultivate as many job possibilities as you can. Ideally, you want to have a few offers come in at the same time so that you have a choice of the best position for your career.
“Oh, and one more thing: Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to help others,” he adds. “For every 12 to 16 networking encounters, candidates usually hear about at least one job opportunity. While you might not be a good fit for each of these opportunities, chances are you know someone else who is! Fellow job seekers will appreciate the lead, and in turn, they’ll start looking for opportunities for you.”
Assess your interview. While your great interview is still fresh in your mind, review it with an honest eye. Consider (and write down for future reference) what went well and what you’d like to improve on in the future, if necessary. This might be as general as cultivating more confident body language, or as specific as tweaking your approach to a certain question.
“There is no such thing as a perfect interview,” Studner comments. “Treat each one as a learning opportunity. Hopefully you’ll receive an offer and won’t have to use your notes, but it’s always best to actively engage in improving your skills.”
Keep your references informed. If you have given the company references, be sure to inform those people that you’ve completed a promising interview and that they might get a call. If possible, discuss the position with each reference and point out which of your skills and accomplishments you’d like them to emphasize to the employer.
“I suggest sending your references a copy of your résumé with your most pertinent accomplishments highlighted,” Studner says. “Ask each reference to let you know if they get a call and how it went.”
Say thank you. Of course you should send a short message to each person you met at the company, thanking them for their time and consideration. It’s becoming increasingly acceptable to do this via email, but Studner reminds that sending a hard copy never goes amiss.
“In addition to expressing your appreciation, you might include a follow-up thought based on a particular interview question,” he suggests. “And be sure to state that you look forward to the next step in the process.”
Look for opportunities with competitors. When you interview with one company, it’s worth your time to research and approach its competitors in case they, too, have job openings. Google “competitors + [name of the company].” Then, depending on your requirements, you might approach one or all of the results.
If you don’t see a similar job opening listed on the competitor’s website, prepare a neat cover letter addressed to the person in that company who would be interested in your accomplishments. For example, if you are a quality control associate, address your letter to the vice president of quality, or operations, or production, or manufacturing. Call the company and ask for a specific name and contact information, stating that you want to write that person a letter. Or better yet, find someone within the company you can network with using your LinkedIn contacts.
“Your letter should not ask for a job, but should tell the reader about your key accomplishments and inform him or her of your availability,” Studner instructs. “After all, since the company with which you originally interviewed hasn’t made you an offer or promised you a job, you are still a free agent.” (Super Job Search IV contains detailed instructions on how to write this type of letter, as well examples.)
Get the most bang for your travel buck. If you are traveling out of town for an interview, plan to visit with other companies on this trip. In advance, call their human resources departments to ask if you can drop by and talk with one of their internal recruiters. If some or all of your travel expenses are covered by the company with which you’ll be interviewing and you are asked why you’d like to stay in the area longer, do not discuss your plans to visit other organizations. Merely say you wanted to see more of the area or to visit with a few friends or relatives.
“To make the most of your time away, I also recommend that you locate some of the leading recruiters in the area and arrange to meet with them,” Studner adds. “Call in advance, indicating that you will be in their town on business and would love to stop by. Do not name the company with which you will be meeting, as the recruiter may very well work closely with your prospective employer. Keep it confidential.”
“The biggest mistake most job seekers make after a successful interview is simply doing nothing,” Studner concludes. “Remember, the more you network, apply, and interview, the closer you will be to getting that ideal job. Don’t stop until you’ve crossed the finish line!”
For more on networking, interviewing, résumés, letter writing, and job search strategies, consult Super Job Search IV.