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Seven Things To Do Before and After The Interview

Photo by AlexRaths/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by AlexRaths/iStock / Getty Images

Congratulations! Your resume was picked from a sea of job seekers, or you networked your way into the interview.

The meeting went really well. Your qualifications impressed the hiring manager, the discussion lasted over an hour, and you felt a genuine rapport with the interviewer(s). You were grinning with optimism as you mentally drafted your thank-you letter when you left the building. Great job! You just experienced a series of mini successes.

Yet it has been several weeks, and you have not heard back from the company. If you have ever been in this situation, you may have felt some level of disappointment or frustration. You may have acted like a Monday night quarterback replaying the interview over in your head and wondering what you could have done differently.

There are numerous reasons why you did not hear back from the company. Some of which are in your control others that are not. However, before doing an autopsy on your last interview, I want you to acknowledge your progress. Savvy salespeople view every no as one rejection closer to yes. Why not do the same?

Surely there are things to be learned from the experience. So what exactly is in your control?

1. Timing: Arriving too early is equal to being late. You run the risk of stressing out employees and creating a stir by arriving more than 10 minutes early for an interview. The extra time can be used to review your notes, focus on positive self-talk, or relax before your meeting. If your interview is at lunchtime, have a light bite to eat. A growling stomach can distract from an otherwise excellent conversation.

Allow yourself extra time if you tend to run late or are unfamiliar with the area. A test run to the location will familiarize you with the route and time needed to arrive at the destination. In addition to providing directions, an online map will alert you to the average traveling time.

2. Preparation: The company’s website will give you valuable information about the services or products the organization provides. It will also give you the names of the people who comprise the leadership team and members of the board. If there is a press or media section on the website read through the press releases and articles to glean past and current information.

3. Up your game: Take your research to the next level by learning more about the company. Visit LinkedIn and do a Google search to gather information about the leadership team, board members, and the organization. In particular, take note of the backgrounds of executives and the people you might have in common. Identify the businesses largest competitors by being aware of other companies that come up in search engines.

4. Expect the unexpected: The hiring manager may ask tough questions like why is a manhole cover round or how many dogs are in the United States. The purpose of these inquiries is to determine how poised you are under pressure, your ability to think on your feet as well as how creative you are and your acumen for problem-solving. There are no right or wrong answers. Just remain calm and answer the questions with conviction.

5. Thank you letters: If you had a face-to-face interview, it is critical that you send a thank you letter within 24 hours of the meeting. Multiple interviewers should receive a letter that speaks to the position from their perspective. The thank you letter is an opportunity to reaffirm what makes you the best person for the job. It also provides you a second chance to address any concerns that one or more of the interviewers may have had as well as offering any information that you did not discuss during the meeting. Enlist the help of a professional resume writer if you are unsure of how to write a thank you letter that excites the reader.

6. Follow up: “You don’t receive because you don’t ask” is the sage advice found in scripture. Hiring managers want to hire people who are excited about both the job and the company. It is okay to call the hiring manager if after a week you did not hear back about the opportunity. Caution, one or two messages is alright. Beyond that may infer a sense of desperation. Accept that this is not the right opportunity and move forward.

7. Fit: Whether or not you are employed it is tempting to get caught up in the desire to accept an offer, regardless of whether or not it is the right fit for you. When interviewing consider the culture and environment of the organization. Is it a place that you can see yourself spending at least eight hours a day? Do you believe in the products or services they provide? Did you meet other members of the team as well as the person you will be reporting to and how did you get along with them?

If you are in the early or mid stages of your career, think about how the position will help you gain the experience and skills needed for your next two jobs. Regardless of what stage you are in your career is this a position that utilizes your skills and challenges you? Are there any red flags or concerns that you might be ignoring? The only thing worse than being in a job search is being in the wrong position.

In my next article, I will discuss what is not in your control and what you can do about it.