Your giddiness is normal. You likely spent weeks responding to job postings and working your network. When you landed the interview, you researched the company and even the interviewer. You practiced with a friend. The day before you double-checked your video conferencing software or mapped out the best route to the company. Maybe you were nervous during the interview, maybe you didn’t answer every question perfectly. Yet now it’s over and you’re giddy. Except it’s not really over, is it? So what happens after a job interview? The next steps are up to you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a radical disconnect between those offering employment and those seeking it. The government’s employment data never presents a full picture. While the unemployment rate is falling, overwhelmingly the places hiring expect workers to work onsite –– think manufacturing, warehouse work, grocery stores. Yet if you’re like most people, you’re hoping for a remote opportunity. Unfortunately, ZipRecruiter marketplace labor economist Julia Pollak notes that only 10% of their jobs fall into that category. “There’s this huge gap between the kinds of conditions under which people are prepared to work and the kinds of conditions that they actually find in the jobs that are available.”
So, the job market may be even more competitive than you’d imagined. This gives employers offering the type of work you want incredible leverage. And when employers have leverage, they usually take longer to make hiring decisions. In 2019, Jobvite’s Recruiting Benchmark Report indicated an average time-to-hire of 38 days. It’s almost certainly far longer today. So, if you’re worried about what happens after a job interview don’t spend too much time thinking about what your potential employer is doing. Focus on what you can control.
Take Time to Remember
The stress from a job interview can boost your short-term memory. Use that. At home, write down everything you can remember about the interview. Pay attention to the answers you may have miffed but also record the ones you batted out of the park. This exercise serves two functions. First, the data you’re recording will be invaluable with future interviews. Second, that post-interview giddiness will almost certainly subside –– giving way to cold reality. As you inevitably start second guessing your answers, having them handy will help you remember what a great job you did.
Thank You Note
While you’re still at the computer, send a note to the interviewer. Keep it brief but thank them for their time. Remind them again of how eager you are to work for the company and how excited you are by the position. Close by telling them to contact you if they have any questions. It’s odd to me how few people take this simple step but that definitely works to your advantage. Sending a thank you note not only reinforces their hopefully already positive view of you but it will also keep you on their radar.
Don’t Neglect the Paperwork
You may have to fill out a form for a background check or sign an NDA. Whatever paperwork you were given, complete and submit it promptly. If you haven’t already done so, get in touch with your references. Let them know that the interviewer may be contacting them. With everything taken care of, now all you have to do is sit back and wait. I’m kidding! There’s plenty you can be doing!
Keep that Momentum
If you’ve ever had an ex get in touch the minute you stopped thinking about them, then you know how deeply weird the universe can be sometimes. It’s not any different with companies. You could well be waiting weeks for a response. Now is not the time to let up on your job search. Instead, focus that positive energy boost you got from landing an interview toward getting another one.
Spending time on your job search will do more than take your mind off of the interview. It could lead to an offer before the first company gets back to you. At this point, it’s not only appropriate to contact the company you’re waiting on, it’s honorable as well. It isn’t even about leveraging your new job offer to get a better one. If you were in their shoes, you’d want to know if a potential hire might be off the board. You may have to choose between two offers –– an enviable position to be in.
A final note about job interviews. Make sure you have the interviewer’s contact info before you leave their office. Besides having an email address for the thank you note you’ll be sending, you’ll be able to add them to your professional network. Maybe you won’t get offered a job this time but taking these steps could lead to an offer down the line.