6 Things to do After a Job Interview

4 minute read

We’ve all been there. You have an interview. You think it went well, but it’s hard to tell. Then you’re anxiously waiting to hear whether it’s good news, or less good news.

Frustrating as it is, there are ways you can use this time productively, to boost your chances of being offered the role, and use your learnings for future opportunities. Here are 6 things to do after a job interview.

1. Write everything down

Immediately after your interview, write down everything you can remember about it. Include the names of the interviewers and anyone else you met, your observations about them, the charity and the office environment (if you went there). Next write down all the questions you were asked. Make a note of how you responded and anything you feel you should have answered better. Include things you wish you’d said and identify any weak points. Also jot down any questions you’d like to ask or information you’d need if you were made an offer.

This is all useful learning. It will really help if you’re called for a second interview, especially as sometimes you get asked similar questions (particularly if there are different interviewers) so you can build on, rather than just repeat your first answer. Do this as soon as you can after your interview, as you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll start to forget things. If nothing else, this information will help you to improve for future interviews.

hands typing at a laptop

2. Send a thank you note

It can feel a bit cringey, but it’s important to send a follow-up note. It’s polite to thank the interviewers and it also shows that you’re still interested in the role. Hopefully you’ll have asked for the contact details of the panel at the end of the interview, but if someone from HR did the organising, then you can send your message to them to forward on. Ideally do this within 24 hours, but don’t wait longer than two to three days.

Thank the interviewers for their time and restate your interest, but try to personalise your message. You could reference something that happened in the interview—perhaps a project they mentioned that you’d like to work on—or ask a question you didn’t think of at the time. If you feel confident to, you could include a link to a relevant piece of work you’ve done, or to something current that links with your discussion in the interview. This shows that you keep up to date with industry events and that you understand what’s important to the charity. It also keeps you at the forefront of the interviewers’ minds.

You could also connect with the interview panel on LinkedIn and send your message that way. Even if you don’t get the job, they could be useful contacts for the future.

3. Prepare for a job offer

We know you don’t have an offer yet and you don’t want to jinx it by being presumptuous, BUT you also don’t want to be on the back foot if you do receive good news. So now’s the time to prepare. Decide what your dealbreakers are, work out the minimum salary you’d accept and how you’d want to negotiate.

You could also be asked to provide references, so it’s a good idea to start getting your ducks in a row here by deciding who the most appropriate contacts are for this role and asking them to be ready, just in case.

woman talking on mobile phone and writing on a clipboard with laptop beside her

4. Prepare for bad news

Just as you should be prepared for an offer, you should also prepare for a rejection. And by this we mean continue browsing and applying for jobs, and going to interviews. Having more irons in the fire is good for a number of reasons: less disappointment if you don’t get a role, more practice at applying and interviewing and a better understanding of what you really want from your next role.

5. Don’t doubt yourself

You haven’t heard back in the timescale you were given—so you definitely haven’t got the job, right? Wrong. There may be other things going on within the organisation that have delayed the hiring manager getting back to you, or being able to get the sign-off they need to make you an offer. Or something else may have happened that they’ve had to prioritise and recruitment has slipped down the list. But remember that even if you don’t get the role, it doesn’t mean that you’re not capable enough, you messed up the interview or you won’t get the next one. You don’t know who the other candidates were, or exactly what the interviewers were looking for in terms of fit with their team. Don’t make the mistake of doubting your abilities during this waiting period. Try to be positive about either outcome.

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6. Know when to follow-up

It’s always tricky to know when’s the right time to follow-up after an interview—there’s a fine line between keen and pushy. Always ask about the timescale the recruiter is working towards and when you should expect to hear from them. Wait until a day or two after that date before getting back in touch. Then send a polite email to enquire if there’s been any update, to show you’re still interested. But keep it brief and then be patient and wait for a response before emailing again.

What to do after a job interview is all about balance. Let the recruiter know you’re still interested but keep applying for other roles. Be proactive and follow-up but don’t be pushy. The key is to be prepared, whatever the outcome. Treat every interview as a learning experience, and even if this job isn’t the one, it’s brought you one step closer to the one that is.

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Karen Harlow

Karen Harlow is Senior Content Manager at CharityJob.

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