The tough part’s over. But you can improve your chances of getting the job and prepare yourself for future interviews by doing a few more things.
Before you forget the details, write down what happened during your interview. Then send a thank you note to the interviewer to set yourself apart from other candidates. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Make notes about your interview
By taking the time to review what happened, you’ll have a record of your performance. More importantly, if the job offer doesn’t go to you, you can use your notes to analyze your performance and prepare for your next interview.
Don’t take it personally if you don't get the job. Employers often find it hard to choose one person from among several well-qualified candidates. There are many reasons why you may not be the successful candidate.
Your interview notes can include:
- The names of the interviewer(s)
- The interview questions you remember
- How you answered the interview questions
- Salary figures, if the interviewer brought them up
- Anything else you might need to remember if you are offered the job
Learn from each interview by asking yourself some of these questions:
- If interviewing in person, did you find the location easily? Did you arrive on time and well-prepared?
- If it was a virtual interview, did you have any technical difficulties? Were you in a good video and audio environment so you could present yourself professionally and without interruptions?
- Did the interviewer ask questions that you were not prepared for? If so, how can you prepare better for future interviews?
- How well did you make the link between the skills you offer and the skills the employer needs for the job?
- What questions did you handle well?
- What questions would you answer differently next time? If so, how?
- Did you answer the interviewer’s underlying concerns as well as the questions asked? Did you address these concerns in a positive way?
- What questions do you wish you had asked? For example, did you forget to ask anything about the job or organization?
- How was your attitude? Were you professional, friendly, and polite? Were you pleasant, honest, and sincere?
- Did you sum up your skills, and then leave promptly and politely at the end of the interview?
- Do you need to do anything differently next time?
What to do if there is no job offer
There are many reasons you may not get a job offer:
- Maybe someone else was more experienced.
- Maybe your answers were not complete.
- Maybe the interviewers wanted to hire someone they already knew.
- Maybe you weren't a good fit with the company's culture.
Many interviewers are willing to tell you why you did not get the job. Consider contacting the employer for feedback. Make sure to clearly let the employer know you’re not asking them to defend their decision. You are looking to learn so that you can do better at your next interview.
Common questions to follow up with are:
- How can I improve my resumé?
- How can I improve my interview skills?
- What can I do better in the future?
- Is there a chance for me to get a job at your company in the future?
Some interviewers may not want to answer. Other interviewers may give you some tips. Either way, make sure you are polite and do not argue with them. Thank them for their time and say goodbye.
Write a thank you note after your interview
Regardless of the outcome of an interview, it’s a good idea to write a brief letter of thanks for the interviewer’s time and consideration. It sets you apart from other applicants and may remind the interviewer about you and your strongest qualifications. You can also use your note to briefly supply additional information.
Like your resumé and cover letter, a thank you note should be tailored to the particular employer, so mention specifics from the interview. Here are some guidelines:
- First paragraph: Thank the interviewer for his or her time and for telling you about the company and the position.
- Middle paragraph: Note what you learned about the company during the interview. Remind the interviewer of why you are a good fit for the company’s needs and mention any qualifications or experience that you didn’t have a chance to talk about during the interview. If the interviewer raised any concerns during the interview or asked questions that you don’t think you answered well, address them again here.
- Final paragraph: Confirm again that you are interested in the position.
You can send your thank you note by email so the interviewer receives it as soon as possible after the interview. Or you may want to follow up by sending a note through regular mail. It’s fine to send a handwritten one if your writing is easy to read.
Interviews can be stressful, even when they go well. Take a few deep breaths and give yourself some time to relax.
But don’t wait too long to make notes on your performance. What you learn from this interview can help you do even better on the next one. And take the time to write a thank you note to your interviewer. It could give you an edge over other candidates, and help you land a job offer.