6 Job Interview Follow Up Strategies

Some simple job interview follow up strategies can easily put you ahead of the competition. In fact, you still have the power to influence the employer's hiring decision after you leave his or her office.

After an interview, you may be very tempted to relax and put the whole nerve wracking process behind you.

Once you walk out of the employer's office, you are not finished the process.

There are several job interview follow up strategies you can use to have a positive impact the employer's hiring decision.

Immediately after a job interview you need to:

6 Job Interview Follow Up Strategies
  1. Make notes about the experience
  2. Take some time to assess how you did - Determine what you did well and what you could improve for the next time
  3. Send a thank you letter to the employer(s) and ensure it arrives in time to impact the hiring decision

And a few days after an interview, you may need to:

  1. Prepare for a second interview
  2. Prepare to evaluate and perhaps negotiate a job offer
  3. or
  4. If you discover you weren't offered the job, try to get some feedback from the employer about how you could improve for the next interview

1. Make Notes

As soon as possible after you leave the employer's office, you must sit down and make notes about everything you can remember about the experience.

I realize making notes is probably the last thing you want to do, and you would much rather enjoy some well-earned relaxation time. You must require yourself to complete your job interview follow up before you take a break.

The notes you make after an interview can have an enormous impact on your success in future interviews, so you will benefit from having thorough notes. Since the experience is usually somewhat stressful, you must make your notes immediately because if you wait even a couple of hours, you will forget vital details that could help you in the future.

When you make notes, write down:

  • Questions the employer asked
  • Your answers to those questions
  • The employer's reaction to your answers
  • Your feelings about the process
  • Any important or interesting observations

2. Assess Your Performance

Ask yourself how you felt about the meeting. Consider the following:

  • Were you happy with your answers?
  • Did the employer seem satisfied with your answers?
  • What questions could you have answered better?
  • Did the employer ask a lot of follow up questions? What kind of additional information was the employer looking for in his or her follow up questions? An employer's follow up questions can give you insight into something that has caught his or her attention, either something positive or something that might be a cause for concern to the employer.
  • Did you feel you were dressed appropriately for the situation? If not, what was wrong with the clothing you chose?
  • List any positive things that stand out.
  • List anything that could have been better.
  • If you have been to other interviews, how does this one compare? Are there common questions employers constantly ask you? Specifically, is there an area of concern that keeps coming up? If you are going to a lot of interviews but not getting employment offers, sometimes you can find a common thread that will help you determine why employers aren't hiring you.

Review your answers to the above questions. Determine what you did well so you can duplicate those things at subsequent interviews, and determine what needs improvement and how you will make those improvements.

3. Send a Post Interview Thank You Letter

Most job seekers have heard they should send a post interview thank you letter, but few people actually follow up on this advice. Which means sending a thank you note is a high-reward job interview follow up task which will help you stand out from the competition.

Sending a post interview thank you letter won't change the employer's mind if he or she has decided you are not a good fit for the company. However, it can have a huge impact if the competition is close between you and another candidate.

When you send a well written thank you note and other job seekers do not, it shows the employer that you are the kind of person who is just a bit more thorough than the average person and willing to go the extra mile. This easy job interview follow up strategy can be the final deciding factor that causes the employer to offer you the job.

There are several guidelines for writing a good thank you letter and delivering it in a way that is both professional and timely enough to impact the employer's decision. You'll find links to several articles about this high impact job interview follow up strategy.

Take a Well-Earned Break!

The next three job interview follow up tasks do not have to happen immediately. Take a break before you move on to steps 4-6. You've earned it!

4. Prepare for a Second Interview

Follow up interviews are fairly common. Sometimes an employer has narrowed his or her choice down to a couple of candidates and wants to meet with you again to determine who is the best fit for the company.

Other times, the employer is fairly certain you are the best person and just wants to meet with you one last time to be sure before making such a big decision.

No matter what the circumstance, if you are invited to a second interview, you are extremely close to an offer of employment. You're not quite there, but you are very close. So you'll want to put your best effort into preparing for a second interview.

Review all of the job interview follow up notes you made about your first interview, and check out these second interview tips in order to be ready.

5. Prepare to Evaluate and Perhaps Negotiate a Job Offer

If you are offered the postion, you need to be ready to evaluate the offer and do some negotiation if you feel it is appropriate and necessary.

You may have read that you you shouldn't ask a lot of questions about vacation time, sick days, etc. during an interview because it will make you appear uninterested in the job. However, when you are offered the job, you must ask a lot of questions about your working conditions and compensation.

The time period after the employer has offered you the job, but before you have accepted is the time when you have the most power in the hiring process. It's when the employer knows he or she wants to hire you and doesn't want to have to hire his or her second choice if you turn down the offer, but you haven't accepted yet.

At this point in the hiring process, you should find out everything you feel is important to know about the position, and you can do a little negotiating if the offer isn't in line with reasonable expectations.

You can get more in-depth information about negotiating job offers here.

6. Get Feedback About How You Could Improve

If you are not offered the job after the interview, there is still one final job interview follow up strategy you can take to boost your efforts.

If the employer calls to tell you that another candidate was selected, ask the employer to provide some feedback so you can do better at your next interview.

Most employers dislike calling the candidates they didn't select because it's never comfortable to deliver disappointing news. Keep this fact in mind as you talk with the employer, and be gracious and professional when you ask for some feedback.

You might say something like:

"Thank you again for the opportunity to meet with you, I really was impressed with (briefly mention something good about the company that stood out to you). Could you give me some feedback about how I could do better in my interview so I can improve for next time?"

Some employers will dodge the question by telling you they just hired someone with more experience (and sometimes this response is sincere). However, some employers will take the time to give you some suggestions about how you can improve for the next interview.

These suggestions can be priceless because they give you fantastic insight into what an employer was thinking through your interview process and how you can improve upon the impression you are making.

Summary

While it may feel like a lot of work to do immediately after enduring the stress of an interview, these job interview follow up tasks are well worth the time and effort it takes to complete them.

Plan on taking an extra hour or two immediately after the interview to review the experience and write a great thank you letter. The rest of the job interview follow up strategies can wait until after you've had a chance to relax.

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