by Angie Solis, Senior Assistant, INALJ Missouri
Acing the job interview: Post-interview tips (pt 4 of 4)
I hope that throughout this series you have learned at least one thing to help you through the interview process. Since we started on this journey we have talked about pre-interview prep, personal and professional interview prep and surviving the interview. Now, I want to talk about after the interview. We can all breathe a little easier now that the interview is finished, but while all the face to face may be done, the work isn’t over. There are still things that you can do to help make you a successful candidate for the job.
First of all, once you leave the interview, take after-interview notes. The first thing I want to say about this is; why didn’t I think of this sooner!?!? Secondly, you may be asking why? Taking notes after the interview will help you to remember questions that were asked and your answers. You want to take notes after the interview while the information is fresh so you can remember the best details including the interviewer’s responses to your answers. Sometimes when I’m looking back at an interview my perspective begins to change because I can’t remember if something particular was said or if I gave the answer that I wanted to give. Taking notes will help you to follow up on any questions that you or the interviewer might have and can also help you to become a better interviewee in the future (should you need to interview again).
The next thing you want to do after an interview is to send a thank you note. This can be done via e-mail, mail or both. The thank you note should be sent within 24-48 hours after the interview is over so make sure to get business cards before leaving so that you can have contact information on hand and ready to go. I stress that this is not a step you want to overlook. It may seem so menial but it’s something that can help you to get the job or be traded out by someone who took the time to send their thank you’s. If the hiring process is time sensitive then be sure to send an e-mail as a mailed letter may not arrive within the time frame you need. For a more traditional institution or a job that isn’t time sensitive be sure to send a typed thank you letter. Don’t feel that you even have to choose one or the other. Send a thank you email after the interview and get a typed letter to the hiring manager in the mail within 24 hours. Not sure what to write? Some great samples of thank you letters can be found on about.com and monster.com as well as other places on the internet.
Before the interview was over, the interviewer should have given you a time frame for when you should hear back by. In the real world there are many factors that could prevent a potential employer from getting back to you when promised and it is perfectly acceptable to follow-up. You don’t want to intrude on the hiring manager’s life to find out about your application status but contacting the hiring organization tactfully can help you in your quest for job hunting glory. My recommendation would be to wait a week after the specified time frame. Don’t get me wrong, that week is going to seem like torture but just remember that things happen and it’s best to wait it out. Mashable recommends to use the same medium of contact that was previously used. If communication was being handled through email, go ahead and send a quick note to cement your interest, highlight your strengths and check for any updates on the position. Follow up once and if you don’t receive a response, move on. It’s best to focus that energy on jobs that are in the here and now.
At this point I’m going to stress that if you aren’t selected for the job try not to take it personal and don’t feel rejected if you get rejected. Hiring managers have a difficult job to do and there are typically many qualified candidates for each job. If you are not selected for a position just take a deep breath and keep it moving. I completely condone having a moment of silence along with a little cry on the inside but try to use the experience as a learning one to improve your skills for next time. My mantra is that everything happens for a reason so if you didn’t get it this time, the universe has other plans for you. While it may feel terrible at the moment, time will help heal your broken heart and one day your efforts will not have been in vain. Hopefully that time will be sooner rather than later. Need some cheering up? Think of a stampede of corgi puppies and that should do the trick.
In reality, you really can’t win them all. Building relationships and networking are going to help you to get a job in the future so use this opportunity to not only build a connection with your once was potential employer, but show them what they missed out by sending one final goodbye. Sending a rejection thank you letter is just as important as sending an after the interview thank you letter. It shows employers that you are in fact a true professional as well as a solid candidate for future positions. Don’t want to write the letter? Get over your writer’s block with some tips from TheLadders.com and samples from about.com.
On to a more positive note, hopefully all your efforts will end on a happy note and with a job offer. If you haven’t already discussed it, ask about pay, benefits and all the like that are important to you. Make sure to get all the facts before you negotiate a job offer. The first thing you want to do with those facts is to evaluate the job offer. All of you out there reading this are my new friends so I want you to know how extra special you are, so make sure that you don’t undervalue yourself. You may be a new graduate or inexperienced in the field or new to the institution, but, THEY picked YOU and you should remember that when accepting a position. Now, don’t go asking for the salary of a head librarian or every other Friday off but know that some things are negotiable. Take these tips from the real experts for rules on navigating the job offer. Forbes and Monster have some great tips, so be sure to check them out and let me know if you have any of your own.
Once again, I hope you’ve learned at least one thing through this series. All of these links and more are available on my Pinterest board, You’re Hired! So follow me and let me know your thoughts on acing the job interview.