A Complete Post-Interview Checklist
Rewarding yourself after an interview you know went well is important to be sure, but it's also a good idea to reflect and make notes while the experience is fresh in your mind in order to keep the forward momentum, as Sarah Landrum points out in her blog which follows.
You wore your favorite interview outfit, answered their questions with humor and grace and shined the whole way through the process. You step out the doors of your future employer with a big smile and nearly leap for joy at how well you aced the whole thing, but the receptionist is still watching you.
So, you save the excitement for the ride home and the drinks after with friends to celebrate. You know you haven’t got the job yet, but it feels like it. Use that feeling to motivate you as you complete this 12-point post-interview checklist.
1. Scream “Heck Yes!” in the Car
Go ahead and let it out. You deserve it. Job well done! Now, put on your seat belt.
2. Eat Your Favorite Meal
The day was a whirlwind. Did you eat anything? Take time to reward yourself with nourishment, and eat your favorite meal. Cook yourself a dinner or call up friends to celebrate at your favorite restaurant.
At least get a snack or stop for a slice of cheesecake. Splurge on your favorite artisan cheese and crackers.
3. Make Notes of the Interview
How did the flow of the day go? Did you or the interviewer make a reference or recommendation you should write down? Did you find any mutual interests or goals?
Aside from the interview itself, makes notes about the work culture, resources, coffee supplies, office layout and other items of your interest. You still need to weigh the pros and cons and let the whole day sink in, so the notes will help. The details you write down will also help you write your thank you notes and make follow-ups.
4. Reflect on Why You’re Excited
While you still have your pen, write about why you’re excited about this opportunity. What are you thinking?
Does this role give you a chance to grow your career or travel? Do you get to help people on the front lines instead of hiding away in a basement? Do you feel like you’ll actually be valued instead of seen as a cog in a machine? Find your reason, and use that to guide the tone of your thank you notes.
5. Send Your Thank You Notes
You released all that extra energy and wrote down details about your interview experience, reflecting on why you’re excited. Your thank you notes will keep you on the radar and make you stand out.
Only 20 percent of interviewers mail a thank you card, but if you do, you will get their attention. Send an email and a thank you card to quickly reach the decision makers if the turnaround time is swift. Write out a draft or two without putting in the full details of the recipients before you hit send or seal the envelope. Mention the name of the position. Thank them for the interview in the first paragraph, noting anything special. In the second paragraph, get specific and highlight your favorite and best moments.
If you connected on a topic, address that. Keep your note short, sweet and specific.
6. Follow Up
Do you want to spend the next few weeks waiting … and waiting … and waiting some more?
If a week has passed, take a more proactive approach and follow up. If you send your card after a week, wait another week to check in. Many companies reasonably decide within two weeks or so after interviews. Interviewers know the follow-up is a part of the process.
Did they give you an estimated decision time frame? Use this as your guide, and send your follow-up near this time but not right after your interview. Do it in the form of a check-in as a phone call or email to your contact:
“Hi Anne, I hope everything is well on your end. You mentioned the decision for the junior marketing position would be made by the end of the week. I’m excited to hear more once you have an update. Let me know if I may provide anything to assist in the decision-making process.”
Forgot to ask a question during the interview? Use this as your opening to initiate the follow-up, but keep the questions specific and succinct. Hold off on salary and benefits questions until you get approached by the company with the details of the decision.
7. Add New Contacts to Your Network
In your follow-up, you may also add an area where you ask if you may connect on Twitter or LinkedIn. In many cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to click those “Follow” buttons a few days after the interview.
Add your LinkedIn and other professional social media to your email signature. Make sure your profiles are clean of personal information first. Think of the person and not the role when you add another professional to your network. Genuine connections beget a more rewarding network and professional relationship, so engage with their updates online and offer help where possible.
You likely gathered several business cards during the interview and company tour. Connect with those individuals around the time you follow up or at any point afterward. Make your emails personal to your connection at the time and follow a similar structure to the thank you note email suggestions for structure.
8. Arrange a Coffee Meeting with a Mentor
You may feel out of sorts about what this prospective move will do for your career, how to follow up or deal with the process of waiting. Arrange a coffee meeting with your mentor to share your concerns, reconnect and come away with tips for keeping your head clear and in the job search game.
Treat your mentor to a coffee and scone for all their help and encouragement. Ask how you can assist them in return.
9. Follow Through on Interviewer Recommendations
During the interview, you may connect with others on a particular topic and get recommendations to check out a book, podcast or speaker. Now is the time to make good on that.
Head to the bookstore to pick up the book. Listen to the podcast while you work out. This gives you more information to connect at a later date and builds your resources for your career.
10. Listen to TED Talks to Stay Motivated
Feeling like you don’t have what it takes on paper? Listen to Regina Hartley talk about how the perfect candidate may not have the perfect resume or Stefan Sagmeister discuss the importance of time off for happiness and productivity. You need a reminder that you bring unique talent to the table and the importance of nurturing that and yourself.
11. Maintain Personal Routines and Self-Care
Waiting for the decision may affect your normal routines that maintain your health and happiness. If out of a job, your savings may look low. If you feel stuck in your career, you may wonder when it will take off, if ever.
Maintaining your routines keeps you focused on the day to day, and the waiting won’t feel so long. Fill your plate with leafy greens and less stress. Go to bed early for your eight hours of sleep and shut off your phone. Meet a friend for dinner, and practice small acts of self-care.
12. Keep the Search Going
Yes, you had a great interview — but the decision isn’t final yet. So many opportunities exist in the world. Keep yourself open to them.
Reflect on your resume and interview tactics. Go to other interviews. Network and attend conferences. Keep the search going until you find what you’re looking for.
The wait for a decision may feel like it takes forever, but you can use your post-interview time wisely to build your network, reconnect with a mentor, and reflect on your job search strategies and progress. Remember to take time for yourself.