It’s tempting to just kick back and mentally “shut down” following a stressful interview. However, there are a few things to do after a job interview. completing these five tasks right away will help make sure you learn and grow as much as possible from your interview experience.
Write down every question you got asked
If you didn’t (or couldn’t) take notes during the interview, write down every question you can remember as soon as you leave the office or hang up the phone. The questions your interviewer asked are not just about figuring out if you’re a fit for the role. They can also give you some insight into the company, into what professional development opportunities you may have, and more.
There’s also a good possibility that if you are called for another interview, you’ll be asked similar questions. If you’re ready with great answers and stories, you can show progress throughout the interview process. At the very least, it can give you preparation for next time if this opportunity doesn’t work out.
Reflect on the interviewer’s body language
Open arms with gesturing, a head nodding up and down, lively conversation, smiling, and consistent eye contact are indicators that the interviewer was interested in and agreed with what you were saying.
Crossed arms, a head shaking back and forth, sighing, pursed lips or frowning, tapping a pen or making other distracting movements, and a lack of eye contact are all indicators that the interviewer was uninterested or not in agreement with what you were saying. Determine which of your messages were received positively and which ones weren’t.
Side note with this: sometimes, people are having a bad day that’s not about you (or some people have more reserved personalities). This is a gut check, not a specific science.
Note where you got stuck
Did a couple of unexpected interview questions surprise you, causing you to resort to fillers like “um” and “ah” or other noises instead of articulating meaningful responses? Take a few minutes to craft a set of “best answers” to the tricky questions so that you won’t get caught off guard again. Rehearse your new answers while the questions are still fresh in your head; you may get a chance to improve your performance in follow-up communications or a second interview.
Write a thank you note
A handwritten, one-paragraph thank you note is a very effective way to show your gratitude and professionalism. If you can’t mail something in, a kindly written email will also suffice.
To help make your note memorable, include a reference to something specific that happened during the interview (like the realization you have direct experience in an area that is critical for the job or the discovery of a shared interest between you and the interviewer). If it was an interview by committee, write a separate thank you note to each interviewer.
A prompt thank you note demonstrates your conscientiousness, and sometimes hiring decisions are made very soon after interviews are completed.
You hunted hard for the job, carefully prepared your application package, and earned an interview. You deserve to feel good about yourself! A small reward will reinforce your ambitious behavior and motivate you to keep making similar efforts. A cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop or a leisurely stroll through a local park can instantly raise your level of positive energy.
Even if you ultimately aren’t selected for the position, doing these five things immediately after your interview will help you develop into a better prepared and more confident candidate when pursuing future opportunities.