What To Do After An Interview – “Did I Get The Job!?”

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?shark-keep-monving

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

 

community-150124_640Remember 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.

 

DISTRACT YOURSELF

 

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.

JEFF'S TIP:

Do you have a personal website? If you don't, why not? Not only can having a personal website get you more job interviews, but it also is a major asset to your job interview and follow up. Instead of sitting on your behind and doing nothing, you should use this time to get your own site up and running. It will be especially helpful to you if you don't end up getting this job. Mike and I wrote a three-part blog series about personal websites that includes how you can set yours up  in less than 15 minutes. You can read it here.

 

GET PHYSICAL

 

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

 

POUTING

girl-308981_640

 

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.

 

OBSESSING

 

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.

 

STALKING

 

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.

 

GOING MIA

 

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…

Good luck!

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31 Comments

  • Lisa C

    Reply Reply May 5, 2016

    If I failed to mail out a thank you letter in the first 24 hours, is it okay to drop it off at the front desk in the addressed envelope?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply May 5, 2016

      Yes that’s fine Lisa!

  • Dana

    Reply Reply May 17, 2016

    Hi Jeff! I had my interview last week and I think it really went well—thanks to your “Top 10 Interview Questions (…And How To Answer Them).” I also sent everyone a thank you note and three of them replied. They were really nice and one of them even said that he asked the HR to move forward and check references. So the same week I completed my reference when I received another job interview email from the same company, same position but different department. I don’t know if I should go for it. There’s a big possibility that the same HR person will interview me—he might think I’m not serious about the first and went to another interview. Also, should I inform the person who emailed me that I had an interview last week but for different department?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply May 17, 2016

      Great to hear Dana!

      Yes I think you should contact them about your previous interview for another department. It would be good to get some clarification on whether they are aware you already interviewed. Also, you could email the hiring manager you already met with for some clarification as well.

      Well done!

  • Mark C

    Reply Reply May 23, 2016

    Hi Jeff,

    I was interviewed last Thursday (May 19th), and I have totally blanked on a follow up thank you. At this point, is writing a mail sent letter appropriate or should it personally dropped off? Or should I write an email thanking all four of my interviewers and recruiting staff? I just want to take the most personal approach to this but I also don’t want to waste too much time! Thanks for the article! Everything has helped!

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply May 25, 2016

      Hey Mark,

      If you can, dropping off a typed or hand written note will have the most impact.

  • KathleenSirb

    Reply Reply May 24, 2016

    Hi Jeff
    First off, your Interview Book is excellent. It helped become more prepared and more confident in my interviews. I sent a follow up email to one company today that I interviewed with 2 weeks ago. At that point, they said they were still interviewing and their post is still up. I haven’t received response yet. I interviewed for another job last Wed (5/18) and was told they had other interviews rest of week, would go to 2nd interviews and he hoped to make a decision by end of this week. Is it too soon to send him a follow up email?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply May 25, 2016

      Hi Kathleen,

      First off, thank you for your kind words. In terms, of your follow up…. No it isn’t too soon. Go ahead and send a short note.

  • KathyPlatt

    Reply Reply June 6, 2016

    Hi Jeff,

    Your book is great and very helpful, unfortunately I found it online after my first interview so it has been very beneficial in preparing for the second interview if I get the call. My question is, I interviewed with the company on May 25/16. They said they would be in touch with me on the following week to discuss the outcome of my first interview and next steps. Today is June 6 and I haven’t heard from them. I interviewed with two people, the hiring manager and the HR manager. Should I send a follow up email to the HR manager to inquire about my status now or continue to wait to hear from them?

    Thank you,
    Kathy

  • Kochar

    Reply Reply July 11, 2016

    Thank you for this article. And its so well written, as if you are talking…

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply July 18, 2016

      Thanks Kochar!

  • Ashley O

    Reply Reply July 19, 2016

    Hi!

    Great article and gives me good advice while I am waiting! I had a 2nd interview with the the hiring manager on June 30th. He said that the recruiter would reach out to me on a 3rd interview with his colleague. He said they did not have a set time frame when rxactly the position would start but wanted to fill the position by mid to end of August. I did not have the hiring manager’s email but did send a thank you letter to the recruiter and to forward to the hiring maanger on July 4th. I have not heard anything back yet if I am chosen for the 3rd interview. Should I send a follow up email to the recruiter? If so, what should be said?

    Thank you for your help!
    Ashley

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply July 19, 2016

      Hi Ashley,

      I know it’s hard but…since you already sent a thank you letter I think you need to sit tight. Remember, there are a lot of reasons why you may not have heard anything yet. Good luck!

  • Karen

    Reply Reply July 28, 2016

    Hi Jeff

    I was interviewed recently by 8 people but I was too nervous to write down and remember their names. Should I simply email my thank you to the HR person who invited me to interview and ask her to extend my thanks to the panel?

    Thank you

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply July 29, 2016

      Hi Karen,

      Yes that’s the right approach. You could even write a thank you email and ask the hiring manager to forward it to the other 8…

  • Jack

    Reply Reply August 1, 2016

    I interviewed 2 weeks ago. Day after interview i sent thank you and on the 4th day they called my references. 4 days after that i was sent a link to a pre-employment reasoning and personality test which i promptly took. This seems like a funny order and I’m confused. Its been a week. Should i follow up?

  • Jennifer

    Reply Reply September 3, 2016

    I interviewed on August 31st but once I got home accidentally forgot to send a thank-you e-mail. Is it now too late to do so? A family member thinks I should frequent the library (where I interviewed) in the meantime… but that seems strange to me, since I haven’t really been there before. Would that help my chances or maybe hurt my chances in your opinion?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply September 5, 2016

      Hi Jennifer,

      It’s not too late to send a thank you note. I would go that route rather than lurking around the library. You don’t want to creep the hiring manager out 😉

  • Frederick

    Reply Reply September 6, 2016

    Hi Jeff,
    I had the initial interview with the CEO, it went well. He flew me to headquarters to meet with his executive team. They put me up, took me out to dinner. I had break out sessions with Dept heads. The interview went very well! They told me I’d hear from them soon. I followed up with my Thank You letter. I’ve received an offer from another company and they want an answer but I haven’t heard a peep from the company that flew me in, in over a week and they haven’t replied to my email or voicemail.
    Sincerely,
    Confused in Clearwater

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply September 8, 2016

      Hi Frederick – Confused in Clearwater 😉

      Wow it’s amazing how companies conduct themselves sometimes. I know lots of people, myself included have gone through similar situations. Since you have an offer from another company I think it’s perfectly fine (and good) to continue reaching out to the company in question and letting them know you have an offer waiting for you and you would appreciate an answer asap. Now obviously you have been trying to get in touch, but this is a situation where you have the leverage to be a little persistent….polite, but persistent.

  • Ashley

    Reply Reply October 6, 2016

    Hi Jeff, I haven’t heard from the company for a few days after an interview that went really well. I have another job opening that I’d like to apply for, but am afraid that the first company calls me and gives me an offer when the second one has called me for an interview. What should I do?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply October 6, 2016

      Hi Ashley,

      It’s always good to continue interviewing. Go ahead and apply for the other job.

  • christina

    Reply Reply October 19, 2016

    Hey,
    I interviewed twice for a job, first time was a sit down interview, second was a working interview. The main person doing the interviews the first time was who i spent most of the day with the second time. I only briefly meant with the other two people who where higher up in the hiring process. The main person doing the interviewing told me that if she was making the hiring decision i would have the job, they are looking for two people to fill the position. It has been a couple days over a week since the second interview, should i call at the end of the week or wait until two weeks?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply October 19, 2016

      Hey Christina,

      Sounds like you did a great job in your interview! Chances are they are still making their final decision. I wouldn’t call, rather I would start with a follow up thank you email to the woman who mainly interviewed you and liked you.

      You can learn more about thank you emails here if you haven’t read it yet: http://theinterviewguys.com/sample-thank-you-letter-templates/

      Fingers crossed!

  • Pedro

    Reply Reply October 28, 2016

    Hi Jeff,

    Greetings! Love your site and articles.

    Need a little advise on this…
    I have gone for 2 interviews and is waiting for the company to call. Meantime, there are other positions opened from the same company. should I apply? or should I ask the HR before I apply?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

    Have a great day.
    Cheers,
    Pedro

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply November 3, 2016

      Hi Pedro,

      Go ahead and ask HR if you should apply. If you apply without asking beforehand it might show a lack of focus on the job you interviewed for.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply December 6, 2016

    Hi,
    I had an interview that went great, the person that interviewed me said that he would reach out to me Monday with a decision. After the interview, I emailed a thank you letter that friday. Monday comes around, and I hear nothing from the guy. So Wednesday comes and still nothing, so Thursday I send a follow-up email just trying to see where we stand with everything because I was informed I would hear back from him Monday with a decision. Its now next week Tuesday, do you think I should contact him again?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply December 7, 2016

      Hi Steve,

      Unfortunately I think 2 follow ups is enough for now. But like we said in the article, there are a myriad of reasons why you may not have heard back yet…

  • Kurt

    Reply Reply December 29, 2016

    Jeff & Mike,

    I have followed your action plan and I really appreciate the work that you guys do! I am in the middle of a job hunt, and I have a couple of questions. I have interviewed with two companies that I am seriously considering. The first company I interviewed with is a leader in the field and I have heard great things about them as an employer. I phone interviewed (12/8) with the hiring manager and was told I would hear back in 5-7 days. I emailed him a tailored thank you note and follow up and he actually replied and asked me some questions, which I thought was good. I waited a bit to hear back, but didn’t get anything, so I sent another follow up (12/19). He thanked me for the inquiry and said he was still working through the process. Still haven’t heard anything back(12/28), and I don’t want to send a 3rd email. Additionally, I understand the delay as we are in the middle of year-end and two major holidays, but I am still frustrated. The problem is is that another company I applied on is moving a lot quicker and I will be in the final interview stage next week. How long do I wait to reach back out to the first job?

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply January 4, 2017

      Hi Kurt,

      It sounds like things went well. Your first instinct was correct in not sending a third email. However, now that you’re in the final stage of this interview I think you CAN reach out to the first company just to let them know the situation. It’s hard to say how long you should wait without knowing the exact hiring process of the new company however. Good problem to have though!

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