How to Stay in the Game After an Interview

How to Stay in the Game After an Interview

If you're out there interviewing for a new job or line of work, you probably set a big goal for yourself, right?  

To see how your approach to landing a fulfilling career is working, checking in with yourself and your system is imperative.  How you follow through after an interview can be the difference between getting hired or not. Yes, sending a thank you note to the interviewer is key, but it's not the whole story. To ensure success, make sure to follow up, get feedback, and analyze your performance so you can gain resolve, make improvements, and build the career you want.

What to do post-interview: 

Take time to pause once you walk out of the building and release some of the excited and nervous energy. Collect your thoughts and call your recruiter or someone in your support network to objectively go through how the interview went. Think through the following questions:

  • How did the interviewer respond to your answers? 
  • Was there something you got stuck on or didn't have a straight answer to?
  • Were you able to gain rapport with the interviewer?
  • How was the commute? Was it realistic?
  • Can you see yourself growing with the company?

Put your thoughts on paper so you can use these details to fuel your thank you note, and to incorporate your personal feedback in future applications and interviews.

Send a thank you note via email within 24 hours of the interview.  If you want to supplement the emailed note, consider a handwritten thank you card to demonstrate your gratitude. You can also use this opportunity to reinforce your industry expertise by sending along an example of your work or referencing an article relevant to a topic discussed during the interview. If you felt like you could have answered an interview question more clearly, you can also use a thank you note to clarify, correct or expand upon one of your responses (contact me if you want a template). Before sending, ALWAYS make sure to double-check what you wrote. As a recruiter, I saw people who were going to get a job offer get knocked out of the running entirely due to improper spelling and grammar in a thank you note. Don't let that happen to you! 

Follow up gracefully. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the overall average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. Waiting for hiring managers to make a decision requires a lot of patience. While you're undoubtedly anxious to know the results, make sure to respect the instructions you received regarding any follow-up. If the interviewer stated that they'd make a decision in two weeks, follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager after that timeframe via email or phone. If you didn't get information about next steps or the hiring timeline during the interview, request clarification in your follow-up email. 

Getting Feedback and Process Improvement:

It’s an unfortunate truth that getting useful feedback after an interview is like pulling teeth if you get any feedback at all! Before seeking out the interviewer’s comments, take out the notes you wrote after the meeting and be brutally honest with yourself. Are you a viable candidate for this job? How prepared were you? How did you perform? If you feel like you have room for improvement, ask a friend or trusted colleague to role-play with you and consider recording your session. Listen to or watch your performance again and highlight areas for improvement. Career coaches, like myself, can also provide you with training or mock interview practice so you can hone your skills even further. 

Of course, you can and should go back to the company and ask for feedback directly to see if they have any specific advice for you. Remember to seek areas for improvement rather than a point to argue about.

Need a tool to track your progress? Grab this job application log to keep you organized. 

Keep at it: 

So, how do you keep your head in the game while you're waiting to hear back? What if the company never gets back to you? Keep in mind that it's necessary to consistently take bold actions with courage and with persistence when things don't go as planned to attain your goals. Many people don't have the stamina to turn their dreams into reality because they don't take action in the first place, or they get discouraged when they encounter the first roadblock or failure. They think, "I guess I'm just not cut out for this."  Nothing could be farther from the truth unless you decide that it is!

If you were baking a cake and you couldn't wait to eat it, and when you took it out of the oven it was lopsided and didn't taste right, you would probably go back to the recipe to see if you missed something. Job hunting, like baking, is an art form and a science. Whether you're looking to advance, to break into a new field or reenter the workforce, you are going to have to evolve to get there, and that's great news! Because if what you're doing doesn't work, you can pivot and try to approach the situation from a different angle. This process involves patience, acting as a keen observer, and making adjustments based on your findings. When you treat your career search like an iterative process, you take failure off the table as you’ll only continue to evolve and grow. As you're doing this, you're adapting, you're changing, and you’re going to make it happen.

Have more questions about how to proceed post-interview? Please leave a comment or contact me directly at If you found what you read today useful, don't forget to subscribe to this blog below!

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