By Jeff Gillis
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Remember that totally amazing interview you had a few days ago?
You remember, the one where you blew the competition out of the water?
You were prepped, ready, and on point!
In fact, if you’d been any more the Perfect Candidate, you would have already had the job!
So why haven’t you heard from the company yet?
Why are you home, sitting by yourself in your living room, still waiting to hear what’s going on? Why have they left you hanging?
Ugh. The waiting game. It’s the worst.
That hollow “Did I?” or “Didn’t I?” ping pong of thoughts going on in your head as you replay your interview over and over again.
After a while that victorious glow you felt after a solid interview starts to fade and is replaced by the dreaded “Waiting Game Blues.”
You know the feeling…that creeping sense of anxiety mixed with self-doubt and frustration.
Why haven’t they called?
Was it something I said?
Something I did?
Did I get the job?
I thought I did a great job! They told me I was amazing and that they’d be in touch…but it’s been years and years and still nothing!
Okay, maybe not years…but you get the idea.
Even a few days waiting post-interview can seem like an eternity.
Trust us…we totally understand where you’re coming from and get your sense of frustration and doom.
We agree: it sucks. And unfortunately, it happens to us all…which is why you need to be prepared when it happens to you.
So what can you do during the waiting game to help keep yourself from going crazy? How do you survive?
Here is an easy list of what to do after an interview to help maintain your sanity, remain productive and most importantly, keep yourself in the game.
What to Do While You Wait For the Result of Your Interview
DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY
This is the number one thing you can do to make your waiting time easier and help cut way down on the crazy feelings we know are starting to buzz around in your brain.
DO NOT take the waiting game personally.
Hyper-analyzing every single second of your job interview is only going to drive you crazy as well as waste time you could be spending on other things.
BE THE PROVERBIAL SHARK IN THE JOB POOL OF LIFE
Did you know sharks never stop swimming?
They are the top predators in the ocean and spend their entire lives on the move. The last thing you’ll ever find is a shark sitting around on his couch at home after an interview just—waiting.
Be like a shark. Instead of waiting around and putting everything else on hold, keep moving. Keep looking. Keep interviewing.
Yes, the one you interviewed for might have been the job you’ve been dying to have since you were five, but sitting around waiting for it for forever isn’t going to get you anything more than a load of frustration.
There are no awards for “Most Loyal Potential Employee We Never Actually Hired.”
Have a backup plan and backup jobs you can continue to pursue while you wait.
REACH OUT TO YOUR TEAM
Remember all those people who helped you get that interview? Maybe you worked with a recruiter? What about your friend who works at the company who got you the introduction?
Reach out to them—tactfully—and see if they can shed any light on the situation. Do NOT harass them.
DON’T GIVE UP
Keep in mind just how much time has passed between your interview and where you are right now.
If it’s just been a few days…well, relax!
Who knows what’s going on at the company right now and how that might be affecting the hiring process.
Some companies have a policy of holding interviews to help build pools of potential candidates they can continue to hire from long after the interviews have concluded.
Don’t hold your breath…but it doesn’t hurt to hold out a bit of hope either.
ACTIVATE YOUR FOLLOW-UP ACTION PLAN
Remember how at the end of your interview you spoke with the hiring manager about the next steps and their hiring process?
Remember how you asked them when you should expect to hear from them?
If that date hasn’t passed yet, then settle down and keep waiting! If it has passed and you still haven’t heard from them then it’s perfectly acceptable to reach out yourself. Again, like we said with your network, this must be done tactfully!
All you want at this point is what the status of the job is. If it’s still open, let them know you’re still very interested and if there is anything further you can supply.
If it’s closed, accept that information gracefully and MOVE ON!
Send the company a final follow up Thank You letter expressing your appreciation for their time. Include in there your continued interest in the company should another opportunity arise.
Everything above is great to do but you should also look at other ways to keep yourself busy.
Do you have a hobby? Are you a community volunteer?
Keeping yourself both physically and mentally busy is a great way to make sure you don’t obsess over what’s going on in your job search world. Making sure you have after interview plans will help that waiting time seem less stressful.
Exercise is important no matter what your job search status and when you’re waiting it’s another great way to keep your mind off of what’s going on.
Now that we’ve gone over the list of what you should be doing, let’s touch on what you should NOT be doing.
What NOT to Do When You’re Waiting For The Result of Your Interview
Like we said above, this isn’t about you. Shutting down and sitting around your house waiting for that all important
phone call isn’t the answer.
You don’t know if it’s actually ever going to come, so putting your entire job searching life on hold while you wait just doesn’t make sense.
Again, this is NOT ABOUT YOU. Sitting around all day agonizing about what’s going on isn’t going to do anything but drive you crazy.
Yes, you absolutely SHOULD go over your interview in your mind and look at how you did so you can learn from it for future interviews.
What you SHOULDN’T DO is turn this waiting for a job offer time into an obsessive second-by-second blow-by-blow breakdown of everything you said, everything you did, everything you thought. Assuming it’s all about you is the last thing you want to do.
Remember, when you assume…you know the rest!
RELENTLESS FOLLOW UP
After an interview, do NOT be the interviewee who follows up every single day with the hiring manager or company.
One or two follow up queries (as outlined above) is fine, but the last thing you want to do is to become the person who calls so frequently that the entire hiring team learns your number by heart and ignores it when they see it pop up on the caller ID.
The same goes for email. Too many follow ups and you’ll see your letters get flagged as spam and never read.
Similar to the relentless follow up, stalking is a huge NO-NO!
Do NOT go to the company and demand a meeting with the hiring manager and insist they tell you what’s going on.
You’re likely to go from Potential Hire to Potential Restraining Order, and trust us…that’s not going to get you the job you want.
Yes, we said to distract yourself, but the last thing you want to do is go totally off the grid.
It might be tempting to duck society for a bit and lick your proverbial wounds, but taking that six month long backpacking vacation across Europe the week after your big interview might not be the best idea.
We do agree you should not put your life on hold, but let’s be reasonable about it.
BLUFFING FOR POWER
In a perfect world you’d have multiple job interviews, and multiple job offers and it’s always reasonable in a situation like that to let hiring managers know what’s going on.
However, if you’re in the middle of the waiting game and looking for a way to jump-start the hiring process with only ONE potential employer, the last thing you want to do is call them and tell them you’ve got another offer for a job that doesn’t exist.
You could potentially find yourself in a situation where they call your bluff and pull you out of the pool of candidates because they think you’re taking the other (fake) job!
But why would a company leave you hanging like that? Why did they say so many nice things when you were there, but now it’s nothing but silence? What possible reason could there be for you to receive no response after an interview?
Lots of reasons!
And again, like we’ve said so many times already in this article, let’s start by first saying IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. So what could make a company not contact you?
Reasons Why You Haven’t Been Contacted Yet
IT HASN'T BEEN THAT LONG
To you a week might feel like an eternity, but to a busy hiring manager, a week can seem like an instant.
Remember, while you’re waiting for them to call, they’re still interviewing people as well as dealing with life in a busy company.
As the old saying goes, “Patience is a virtue!”
IT'S A COMPANY
Which means business must go on. You might think they’re dragging their feet contacting you but in all actuality, it might be because other things that need their attention have come up.
Maybe they had something internal that needed to be dealt with that took priority over the job search. A quick way to get some good info on what’s going on is to keep up on your corporate research.
Check their website and LinkedIn profile. Is there something major happening right now? It might be a situation where they are just overwhelmed with things other than filling the position you’ve interviewed for.
YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY INTERVIEWEE
Yes, you’re the Perfect Candidate, but that doesn’t mean that the interviews will all stop as soon as you enter the picture.
A hiring manager has a responsibility to the company to make sure they’ve done their absolute best to fill the position with the right person and that means going through all the interviews.
What if a company has hundreds of candidates?
You have no real way of finding out exactly where you are in that list. You could have been interview number 5 out of 500…which means there are 495 more to go before the company will know who their Perfect Candidate (you, of course) really is.
IT'S A GROUP DECISION
Many times in a corporate situation a hiring manager is responsible for narrowing down a group of candidates, but the final hiring decisions are made by someone else…or a group of “someone elses”.
It might be a situation where a committee has to convene to go over candidates and make the final selection and that can mean organizing around several schedules.
THINGS ARE CHANGING
There’s always a possibility that as the hiring managers have gone through the interview process they’ve discovered they need to make changes to the position they’re offering.
This is especially true in industries where rapid advancements are normal, like IT and medicine.
Again, a great way to see what might potentially be holding up a decision is to see what’s going on in the world around you and on their website and with your network and support team.
THEY'RE WAITING ON SOMEONE ELSE
Hate to say it, but regardless of whether or not you’re the Perfect Candidate (which we already know you are) the company may have offered the position to someone else and are waiting to hear back from them before talking to you about it.
YOU DIDN'T GET THE JOB
Okay. Let’s talk worst case scenario. You didn’t get hired. We’re sorry. Truly we are.
Unfortunately this happens and no matter how amazing your interview went, the hiring manager (for one reason or another) neglects to let you know they’ve gone with someone else.
It might be a situation where they had so many hires that letting everyone know just isn’t feasible.
Whatever the reason, if you find out you’ve been passed over, the best thing you can do is let it roll off you, take it as a notch in your experience belt, and move on.
It’s always a good idea in this instance to send a follow up note saying congrats on hiring the new employee and reiterating that you’re interested in upcoming positions should they become available.
Do NOT use this as an opportunity to chastise the company for being rude.
Putting It All Together
Remember, no matter what happens during your interview process, you are not only the Perfect Candidate, you’re also a professional. That means dealing with the waiting game in a mature, responsible, and productive way.
Keep busy, keep calm and don’t let the dreaded post interview blues drag you down.
And I don’t want to hear that you have “nothing to do.” At the very least, you should be getting your personal job search website up and running, because as I said before, it is one of the more powerful additions you can make to your job search portfolio.
Go ahead and get started now, and more importantly…