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Via Inside Higher Ed : What to Do Immediately After an Interview

You just finished a job interview. Moments ago, you hung up the phone or arrived back at your hotel room. What should you do next?

Interviews are draining and stressful, so it might be quite tempting to follow an interview immediately with a run, nap or bowl of ice cream. (Tag yourself: I’m definitely a bowl-of-ice-cream person.) But if you do any of that right away, you are missing a vital opportunity to advance your job search and your career.

Taking just 15 to 30 minutes to follow the steps I outline below will allow you to use your interview experience to set yourself up for success in the next stages of the hiring process and beyond. This advice applies to any kind of job search — whether in or outside academe.

Have you ever had the experience that, not long after an interview ends, all the details fade — except for the bits you wish you could forget? If so, you’re far from alone. I advise hundreds of graduate students every year who are interviewing for jobs, and when debriefing with them after an interview, I can almost always predict what they’ll say: they won’t remember what questions were asked or answers they thought they aced, but they can definitely remember when they said the wrong word or couldn’t think of a strong response.

And while that’s totally natural, it’s also not terribly helpful as you look ahead to the next interview or a potential offer. One of the most important roles an interview plays is to give the candidate an opportunity to learn more about the position, the employer and their maybe-soon colleagues. Understanding more about them lets you predict future questions, understand their priorities and assess whether you actually want to work with them. But if all you end up remembering is your own mistakes, then you won’t have the data that lets you do that.

The solution? The instant you hang up the phone or get back to the hotel, sit down with your note-taking technology of choice (a Word document, a notebook and pen, a whiteboard, a voice memo app) and start writing. Spend at least 15 minutes — and maybe as many as 30 — recording everything you can remember about the interview.

You’ll want to take a lot of notes. Here are questions to consider:

  • What did they ask? This is especially important if another interview may take place in the hiring process. The questions they ask can tell you a lot about what matters to them, and it’s often the case that second- or third-round interview questions have a lot in common with questions asked earlier in the process. (If the first interview included questions about managing complex projects, for example, it’s likely that later interviewers will ask questions about your project and time management experience.) Write down each, as precisely as you can remember them.
  • How did you answer? What notes did you hit in your responses? Returning to and reinforcing themes in later interviews or in negotiation can strengthen your case. But also make note of the stories and examples you used. If you use exactly the same stories, and only the same stories, in later interviews, they might start to wonder how broad your experience really is.
  • What seemed to matter to them? Formal interviews over the phone and less formal conversations during on-site interviews can both give you invaluable insight into an employer’s priorities. What new initiatives did the dean seem obsessed with? What did the hiring manager tell you about the company’s strategic priorities?
  • Did you get any new information? Did the interview seem like it was for a job different from the one described in the initial posting? In what ways? Why do you think that was?
  • What was the vibe like? Interviews can tell you a lot about the culture of the organization, so pay attention to your instincts. Did you like the people you talked to? Did their interactions with you and one another indicate a work environment that is more rigid or more flexible? More hierarchical or more flat?
  • Whom should you thank? One of your next steps should be following up on the interview with a thank-you note, so make a list of the people who should get emails from you.

And, since interviews are a great learning opportunity, you should take notes about yourself, as well. Here are questions to ask:

  • What went well? What didn’t? Even if this interview results in an offer, it’s unlikely to be the last interview of your career. And an actual interview is the perfect opportunity to gather data on how you perform under pressure. Start with the positive. What did you do well? Did any approaches to structuring your answers work particularly well? Did a new strategy for setting up your computer for a Skype interview pay off? (Returning to these notes about how you rocked it can be a good idea later when your brain tries to convince you later on that the experience was all a disaster.) Then consider lessons learned. What could you improve next time? Did trying to tell a particular story trip you up? Did you get a question you’d never considered and need to prep for it in the future?
  • What do you want to emphasize in the next stage? Whether the next step of the search process is another interview or an offer and negotiation, use what you learned in the interview to help you think about what you want your messaging to be. What did they seem excited about in your background? What didn’t seem to land in the way you had hoped? What skills that you have seem like high priorities for them?
  • Who are you interested in connecting with? If you don’t end up getting an offer, an interview can still turn out to be a great networking opportunity. Especially in an on-site interview, you may meet with a ton of people, some of whom you may want to connect or collaborate with in the future. Jot down those people’s names now, along with what you discussed. (Plan to wait until after the search process is finished and then reach out.)

Don’t worry about thinking too hard at the note-taking stage. Just get everything down as thoroughly as possible before your brain crashes. You can sort through the rich, detailed mess later on.

It may also be a good idea at this stage, however, to set an agenda for deep reflection in the coming days. That’s one of the reasons you want to take good notes. You might get a follow-up interview request or an offer soon, and once that happens, your prep time is often minimal. So think about the timeline of the search (you ideally asked someone about that during the interview) and plan to use some time before the next trigger to think hard about whether and under what circumstances you want this position.

Can you see yourself in this position, at this organization, working with these people? Based on what you learned in the interview, will this job help you build the career you want? Under what circumstances — salary, start date and so forth — would you accept this job? Thinking about those questions in the coming days will get you ready to evaluate an offer and move forward with confidence.

OK. Phew. You’ve finished note taking and agenda setting. Now the interview is actually over, and it’s finally time to rest and recover. Go for that run, or take that nap, or get a big bowl of ice cream. And be kind to yourself in the ensuing days and hours, as you wait for news and your ridiculous brain starts to tell you lies.

Via Association for Talent Development : 5 Tips on What to Do After the Job Interview

You know that feeling. You walk out of a job interview and think, “Nailed it!” But you aren’t hired just yet. The company will still have to check your references and verify you’re not a serial killer, and you still have some work on your end to do as well.

1. Thank You Note

The first thing you should do is sit down and write a thank you note—chances are you have heard this one before. Don’t wait for two days to appear aloof; do it by 5 p.m. the day of the interview. Gather your thoughts on what was not covered during the interview, some key competencies and personality traits you heard they are looking for, and some experiences you have that fit those key areas. Be sure to attach any portfolio items or links that support your claims of being the best candidate for this job.

Some people recommend a handwritten note, but if you have terrible handwriting (as I do), you might want to opt for an email instead. Make it short but informative; most managers don’t have time to read a lengthy diatribe about your awesomeness. Close with a line about how you look forward to hearing back from the hiring manager soon. If you got a firm date on when you would hear back, insert that here instead of the word “soon.”

2. Contact Your References

You should give your references a heads-up that they will be contacted by the hiring manager, and a timeframe of when that will happen. You should also give your references some specifics about the job for which you are applying. If the new job is centered around e-learning and your reference knows you as a sales enablement colleague, giving them the job description or a brief summary on the position you applied for can really help them tailor their reference to be more relevant.

3. Find a Connection

If you have any connections to the company, especially if those connections are within the management or leadership team, now is the time to contact them. Having a valued employee vouch for an applicant can go a long way—especially if they are armed with examples of your key competencies.

4. Distract Yourself

While being responsive is a good quality, checking in too much can be annoying and overwhelming. It’s just like a date; if the other person says they are going to call, don’t start bombarding them with text messages asking when they are planning on calling you. Even if you are obsessing about the job, you never want the hiring manager or your new potential boss to think you are. Distract yourself and apply to other jobs while you wait. If it takes longer than two weeks for them to get back to you, chances are that you didn’t get the job, and emailing them more won’t change that.

5. Be Truthful With Yourself

While the thrill of finding a new job may appeal to some of us adrenaline junkies out there, be truthful with yourself. Did the interviewer tell you there would be a lot of face-to-face interaction with team members and you really would rather analyze data all day in a room alone? Are you leaving a good position with high growth opportunities for a longer commute and a potentially toxic work environment? Or is this the job you have been waiting for, and you will even take a slightly lower salary to move into the new position? Make sure you are honest about what your non-negotiables are. If a job offer comes in and fits the bill, you are set! If you need to negotiate the offer, you know what you are willing to do and not willing to do.

Your job search doesn’t end with the interview, and neither does the impression you make. Use these tips to ace the after-interview.

Via Forbes : Three Things To Avoid After A Job Interview

It’s not over till it’s over.

You made it through the interview, and now you can breathe again. That time spent preparing has paid off and an offer for a great opportunity is right around the corner. Now, you’re in the home stretch where it is important to finish strong.

As a career coach for many talented clients, I am always reiterating that the interview process is not over till the offer has been made.

I was working with a career coaching client named Janet. She was ready to break out the champagne after her interview, and rightfully so. Her effort was unmatched, all signs pointed to her dreams coming to fruition. Before we could even toast to a new life, Janet started to feel uneasy about the situation. She was projecting every bad scenario possible. That is when I reminded her of the first thing not to do after an interview.

1. Don’t over think.

Fighting the urge to replay every aspect of the interview back in your head is going to be a challenge. There is no need to sit there and dissect your interviewer’s body language or word choice, you did great. That friend who claims they heard back from an employer a few hours after the interview was in a fortunate position, the panic can wait – each hiring process is different. Try your best to relax. Accept that you did everything in your power to put your best foot forward.

It is easier said than done, I get it. With Janet, she wanted to do more to help her chances, but in all of the excitement it was easy to forget the basics.

2. Don’t forget to send a thank you note.

To be safe, you may want to have the thank you note drafted the day before the interview. Writing a thank you note can seem old fashioned, or even like a waste of time however it is proven that those who write them are more likely to get better results. Luckily there are great how to guides available on crafting the perfect follow up note. Utilize all of the resources available to ensure you are making the most of every opportunity. Following up with gratitude is a great way to demonstrate appreciation as well as interest while simultaneously gently reminding the reader of the great candidate they just met.

My career coaching client Janet worked hard to get the interview. As much as she wanted to rely on the power of positive thinking — I had to direct her towards the final thing not to do.

3. Don’t stop job hunting.

The only thing better than one job offer is two job offers.

When it comes to getting offers, you’re allowed to be greedy. This whole process is a chance to see what is available. By pursuing other leads you are going to gain new perspective and feel more confident once you accept an offer. It is not even about hedging your bets or not putting all of your eggs in one basket, it is more about opening every possible door so you are in the best possible position to succeed.

Needless to say, Janet got the offer. She accepted and now gets to come home from work every night feeling more fulfilled. For some it can feel like climbing a mountain to land an interview, for others the interview invitations will rival the amount of stars in the sky.

To get the best results it is imperative to remember that just because the interview is over — the work isn’t done.

via Inc Southeast Asia : Want to Get Hired? 8 Things Every Interviewer Is Thinking (That Most Job Candidates Never Consider)

Preparing for a job interview is relatively straightforward. You do some research on the company, maybe a little social research on the person conducting the interview, and you prepare yourself to answer the most likely interview questions. (Here are answers to some of the most common interview questions, as well as some unconventional interview questions leading entrepreneurs like to ask.)

But this is what most job candidates don’t do: They don’t put themselves in the interviewer’s shoes. After all, great salespeople don’t blindly sell a product; they address the customer’s needs.

So when you walk into the room for a job interview, what is the interviewer most likely to be thinking?

1. “I hope I like you”

Obvious, sure, but also critical. Everyone wants to work with people they like, and who like them in return.

So, interviewers want you to smile. They want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before).

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond.

You may have solid qualifications, but if the interviewer doesn’t think she’ll enjoy working with you, she’s probably not going to hire you.

Life is too short.

2. “I hope you ask questions that are important to you…”

Interviewers want to determine whether you’re a good fit for the job, but just as importantly, they need you to make sure the job is a good fit for you.

So they want you to ask lots of questions: What you’re expected to accomplish in the first weeks, what attributes make the company’s top performers so outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you will be evaluated — all the things that matter to you and to the business. (Here are seven smart questions great candidates can ask.)

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. Interviewers don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

3. “…But only if most of those questions relate to the job”

Everyone wants a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies, and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late, or whether the company has considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be awesome for you and your family…

First help the interviewer find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc., are right for you.

Then you can talk about the rest.

Interview Question

4. “I hope you stand out…”

A sad truth of interviewing is that after many interviews I often didn’t recall, unless I referred to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interviewed for a job, and the more spread out those interviews happened to be, the more likely I was to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when I met with staff to discuss potential candidates, I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the handcuff-ready stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the guy who grew up in Romania.”

In short, interviewers may have remembered you by “hooks” — whether flattering or unflattering — so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career.

Better yet, your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time, or the huge sale you made.

Instead of letting interviewers choose, give them one or two notable ways to remember you.

5. “…But not in a bad way”

There’s no way interviewers can remember everything you say. But they will remember sound bites, especially negative ones.

Some candidates complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their co-workers, their customers.

So if, for example, you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. The interviewer knows there are reasons you want a new job… but they want to hear why you want this job, instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.

And keep in mind, good interviewers are well aware an interview is like a first date. They know they’re getting the best possible version of you. So if you whine and complain and grumble now… they’ll assume you’ll be a total drag to be around in a few months.

Interview Question

6. “I hope you bring a ‘project'”

You’re expected to do a little research about the company. That’s not impressive; that’s a given.

To really impress the interviewer, tell how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away — the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how that skill can be put to immediate use.

Remember how the company sees things: They have to pay you beginning with your first day, so they’d love to see an immediate return.

7. “I want you to ask for the job — but I also want to know why you want the job”

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so. Work to determine how you will get the information you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, and you know you want the job… do what great salespeople do and ask for the job. Every interviewer I know likes when candidates like the job — as long as you explain why you want the job.

So explain why. Maybe you thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel. Ask for the job and prove, objectively, that the job is a great fit for you.

8. “I want you to follow up, especially in a genuine way”

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting and are happy to answer any other questions is a polite gesture.

But “polite” may not separate you from the pack.

What interviewers really like is when you follow up based on something you discussed. Maybe you talked about data collection techniques, so you send information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe you talked about quality, so you send a process checklist you developed that could be adapted for use in the interviewer’s company.

Or maybe you both like cycling, so you send a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and the interviewer is totally jealous).

The more closely you listen during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, you’re hoping the interview is the start of a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.

via ForbesThe right way to follow up after a job interview

Your first assignment when you get home from a job interview is to grab a notepad and write down the story of the interview, from start to finish.

Keep writing and adding details to the story whenever you think of them, because you won’t remember the details for long.

interview notes

Your body is your most important guide. Capture your observations about how you felt at each point of the interview, things you saw or heard that startled you and any other reactions you can remember.

You can capture your interview notes in bullet form, like this:

  • Front-desk lady Annie, kind of mean
  • Lobby clean but harsh, antiseptic
  • Looks like they do a lot of hiring
  • HR guy Nate young, casual, didn’t have my resume
  • Manager Sue very sweet, talked about fast growth, how she got promoted, they need people who can write, do a little coding and manage social media

You can keep adding bullets as long as impressions of the interview keep flowing down. You may keep writing for several days as new impressions emerge.

You can capture your interview notes in paragraph form if you prefer.

Once you’ve finished your post-interview brain dump, your next assignment is to tell a friend about your interview.

Walk your friend through the whole story, leaving out no details.

Share your impressions of the people you met, the questions you were asked and the job you interviewed for.

Choose a down-to-earth, honest friend who will tell you when they hear something “off” or sketchy about the interview.

You need that kind of feedback! The Vortex is strong.

The Vortex is the pull or pressure you may feel to pursue any job opportunity that seems the least bit viable.

Any job opportunity can look like a life raft when you hate your current job or you’re unemployed. It looks like a life raft but if it’s the wrong job, it could be a boat anchor instead.

Job-seekers want a job fast, and that need gives the Vortex its power over them.

A wise and brutally honest friend can help you stay safely out of the Vortex. It won’t do you any good to get a job offer if you end up hating the job!

The next thing for you to do is to write and send a paper thank-you note to each person you met on your job interview.

You can pick up a packet of 10 or 12 notes for about seven dollars at any store that sells stationery. Choose simple fold-over note cards with a plain front or a design that appeals to you.

When you get home, compose a thank-you note to each person who interviewed you. If someone walked you from HR to the manager’s office and shook your hand, they don’t need a thank-you note.