Your Post-Job Interview Timeline: What to Do and When

job interviewYou just walked out of your job interview, feeling confident about your chances of taking the next step. The interviewer said she’ll be in touch, but you know that passively waiting and pinning your hopes on this job will accomplish nothing but cause you anxiety. There are things you can do to be proactive and to improve your odds at landing a second interview, or even a job offer.

  1. Find Out the Process Moving Forward  (End of Interview)

Step 1 is actually something you should do before the end of the interview. Ask about the next steps in the process, including the following:

  • When will the decision to bring back candidates be made?
  • Will everyone be notified, or just the selected candidates?
  • If this is a final round, when will the hiring decision be made and who will be notified?
  1. Write Down Important Details from the Interview  (Immediately After Leaving)

As soon as you leave the interview, take out the business cards from the contacts you met to jog your memory. Quickly write down bullet points of items that you discussed with each interviewer. Add any information you can remember about the contact’s role and their convictions about what is needed from the new hire. Were there any points that the interviewer(s) seemed to emphasize? Then highlight the one most important point in your discussion with each person. Finally, write down the #1 reason you believe you are qualified for the position, and the #1 reason you are excited about the opportunity.

All of the information you take down here will help you to avoid making the same points in redundant ways should there be another interview. These details will also help to inform your thank-you notes.

  1. Send Thank-You Emails to the Hiring Manager and Other Key Contacts  (Later in the Day or Next Day)

Hiring managers often meet with the team after a round of interviews has been completed to discuss candidate impressions—and you need to stand out. Be among the first to make a positive impression by following up with succinct thank-you notes. Tip: Consider sending the receptionist a short thank-you as well if he or she was helpful and engaging; this could bring an unexpected influence to the discussion.

Using your notes from Step 2, mention these elements in your emails:

  • Your appreciation for the opportunity to meet with the contact.
  • A point of agreement you shared to personalize each email.
  • Something helpful the contact shared with you to further personalize and demonstrate your listening capabilities.
  • A reiteration of your fit with the organization, department, and role, and a summary of 1-3 sentences indicating why it is a match, given your abilities and achievements.
  • Any important information to address potential areas of concern, if necessary.
  • A link to your online professional website, blog, or portfolio, if applicable.
  1. Get an Endorsement from a Contact in Your Network, if Possible  (1-3 Business Days Later)

Check LinkedIn to see if you have a strong supporter in your network that is employed by the company or is involved in a professional association with one of your interviewers. Contact this person by phone or email to let them know about your interview and to ask if they would be willing to make a short endorsement on your behalf. If they do, be sure to send a thank-you email the next day.

  1. Connect with Your Interviewers on LinkedIn  (5-7 Business Days Later)

Referring back to your notes from Step 2, find an opening for a brief note. It could be an online article you just read about something you discussed that you would like to forward, a link to a relevant podcast on a subject for which the interviewer expressed convictions, or a mention of a LinkedIn user group the interviewer might find resourceful. Keep it concise, and use this as an opportunity (at the very least) to build connections within the organization for future consideration.

The post-interview stage can be daunting, but it can also be empowering if you take proactive steps. You’ll feel good about going the extra mile regardless of the outcome, because you are using this opportunity to cultivate contacts who will have a positive impression of your thoroughness and professionalism.