After a great interview, you’re bound to feel confident about the next steps. But just because the interview went well, doesn’t mean you should lose your job search momentum. “A lot can happen between an outstanding interview and a job offer,” says Peter K. Studner, author of Super Job Search IV: The Complete Manual for Job Seekers & Career Changers.
There are a lot of factors you can’t control, even if you rocked the interview. A company might interview internal candidates, who often trump external candidates. Or the company might wind up in a hiring freeze and decide to hold off on filling the role. The only aspect of the process you can control, is what you do in the time between the interview and the final offer.
We interviewed job search experts to glean these five things you should do after an interview.
Take notes on what worked, and what didn’t
A great interview might tempt you to put your job search on a shelf and move on with your personal life. But Studner says you should take some time to write down what did, or did not, go well in your interview. Evaluating yourself after an interview — even a great one — can help you learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses.
For example, did you know enough about the company and what they do? Did you ask enough questions? Maybe next time you need to do more research on the business, or perhaps you were unprepared to ask the hiring manager more about the job. Any insights you can glean will only help you perfect your interview skills for the future.
Key in your references
When you’ve reached the point in an interview process when it’s time to supply your references, Studner suggests taking time to contact each person and discuss the position with them. At the very least, you can send them your resume and any key skills you have, so they can prepare to speak to the hiring manager. The last thing you want is for your references to be caught off guard and unaware by a hiring manager’s call.
Thank you notes
Sending a thank you note is one of the most important things you should do after your interview concludes. According to Erik Bowitz of Resume Genius, following up is “not an option; it’s an expected courtesy.”
You don’t need to pull out a formal thank you card; a simple email will suffice. Thank the hiring manager for their time and include something specific, so it doesn’t feel like a generic thank you note. Include any details that will reassure the hiring manager you were engaged in the interview and are enthusiastic about the position. “In addition to expressing your appreciation, you might include a follow-up thought based on a particular interview question,” says Studner. “And be sure to state that you look forward to the next step in the process.”
But how soon should you send a thank you note? John Turner, CEO of UsersThink, says you should send the note within 24 hours, but wait at least 1-2 hours until after the interview. “Even if they don’t hire you, it will help them remember you, and you never know when they might recommend you to someone else,” says John.
Engage the competition
Studner suggests investigating the hiring company’s competitors to see if they have any job openings. Even if they don’t have openings, try drafting up a cover letter and resume to send to the head of the department you would fit into best. “Your letter should not ask for a job, but should tell the reader about your key accomplishments and inform him or her of your availability,” says Studner.
The bottom line is that job seekers shouldn’t throw in the towel after one good interview. To ensure you land the best job you can get, it’s important to keep your momentum strong throughout the entire process. The search isn’t over until you’ve signed a contract. Studner suggests using networking to keep your job search going. If you find a job that you aren’t right for, he says to pass it along to someone in your network. Chances are, they’ll remember you helping them out, and will do the same for you down the line.
Don’t stop searching
Job searching can take up a good amount of your time, but a promising interview isn’t a reason to stop searching. Starting from scratch after a job falls through can be demotivating, but if you continue your search through the interview process, you will have a chance to line up other potential offers.
“Corporate shifts are often unexpected and repercussions can shock even the most skilled employee. Remember that a career change is never truly finished until you are at your new desk,” says Jack Martin, CEO of Technology Jobs NYC.
Studner suggests using networking to keep your job search going. If you find a job that you aren’t right for, he says to pass it along to someone in your network. Chances are, they’ll remember you helping them out, and will do the same for you down the line.