posted March 2, 2020
After finishing a job interview, you may feel like rewarding yourself and giving yourself a mental break. Preparing for an interview can be stressful, and the day of the interview will likely be exhausting, but what you do after you’re done can also make a difference.
In this article, we’ve compiled our favorite tips and resources for what to do after an interview. Even though the hard part is over, you’re not done yet.
Evaluate Your Performance
We recommend evaluating your interview performance as soon as possible after you’ve finished. Certain details may fade from your memory, so it’s a good idea to write down some notes right away. Here are some ideas of questions to ask yourself when evaluating your interview performance:
- Did your opening statement go as planned? How well did you answer the “tell me about yourself” question and other common interview questions?
- Did you forget to bring up any of your most important selling points?
- What would you have done differently?
Don’t be overcritical of yourself, but try to give an honest assessment of the interview from your perspective. These insights will be useful, either as talking points when you follow up with the interviewer or as ways for you to improve in your next interview opportunity.
Write and Send a Thank You Letter
Your interviewer is likely a busy person, and they have other projects to return to after the interview is over. To make sure you stay at the top of their thoughts, write a thank you letter and try to send it within 24 hours. You’ll want the interviewer to receive it before they’ve made a decision, so timeliness is key.
Do some research and decide if traditional mail, email or hand-delivery would be the most appropriate way to deliver the letter. The traditional route is to send a formal letter, but that’s not always the best method. When in doubt, ask the hiring official or another contact at the organization about their preference. Also, address the letter to the hiring official; if the interview was with multiple people, you may also want to customize letters to each of them.
What should you include in an interview thank you letter? Here are some ideas:
- Express your appreciation. No matter how you feel the interview went, thank the organization for the opportunity to meet with them.
- Restate your interest. Remind the interviewer why you applied for the position and why you see yourself succeeding in the role.
- Bring up something you learned about the organization. Describe why you’re even more interested in the position now that you’ve learned this new information.
- Reiterate your selling points. The thank you letter is an opportunity to restate why you’re a good fit; if you forgot anything important, say it now.
- Attach your resume and application materials. The interviewer should already have these, but make it easy for them if they want to review your materials again. Something you include in the letter may lead the interviewer to want to take another look.
It may help to review examples or templates before writing your own thank you letter. Here’s one of our favorite resources by The Muse: The Perfect Template to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview (Plus, Samples!).
Finally, if you don’t intend to accept an offer if one is extended to you, it’s still a good idea to send a thank you letter. Whether you work for the organization in the future or not, this is a chance to build a relationship and expand your network. Declining an offer respectfully may still result in you gaining an ally for your career in the future.
Follow Up With the Employer
If you haven’t heard back from the employer after some time has passed, you may want to reach back out to them. Think back to your conversations and what they said about the next steps in the process. If you feel that enough time has passed, and you should have received some form of communication from them, don’t be afraid to follow up with the organization.
Be careful not to overdo it, however. Don’t sabotage your own chances by checking back too frequently. The hiring official may have had unexpected things come up on their end, and even if you haven’t heard from them you may still be a top candidate. Be respectful of their time, and keep your communications brief.
At Columbia Southern University, our Career Services team has experience assisting students and alumni pursuing jobs in criminal justice, emergency management, emergency medical services, fire science, health care administration, human resources, psychology, public administration and more.
For more information about CSU’s online degree programs, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu.