You got the call, went on your best interview yet and sent a courtesy follow-up email thanking the potential employer for the interview opportunity.
Now, the waiting game begins.
One day, two days pass, and you receive no callback or reply. You might start to feel nervous and hit the refresh button in your email a few times.
Everybody goes through the agonizing waiting period. While you’re going through yours, here are a few pitfalls you should try to avoid during the post-interview stage, and some tips to make the most of it. We like to think of them as four power plays you could make during the waiting game that can reduce anxiety and help you stay focused on what’s really important: finding your next best career move.
Don’t obsessively contact your potential employer
Is following up good? Yes. Can you do it more than once? Sure.
Following up with potential employers is great and can be really useful (more on that later), but there’s also something to be said for leaving a little something to be desired.
You may have heard the rumor that candidates who are currently employed will come off as more desirable for a role. This thought goes even further for those who may unintentionally make themselves look desperate by trying to contact a hiring manager too often.
As a general rule of thumb, after your interview, you should contact an employer three times before hearing back: 1). When sending a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview, 2). Following up a week after your interview, and 3). Following up 1-2 weeks after your last attempt to contact the company. After this, it’s probably best to move on to more promising opportunities than to spend more time pursuing an unresponsive company.
Don’t assume the job will be yours
After a great interview, it’s easy to overestimate your chances of landing a new job. There are many factors at play behind the scenes that go into a final hiring decision. Unfortunately, you have no idea how many other applicants are in the running for the same position or their unique qualifications. Secondly, you do not know if the potential employer is actually seeking to fill the position or is simply soliciting qualified candidates in the event the position needs to be filled.
Don’t put in a resignation notice to your current employer until you’ve received an official offer (in writing) from a potential employer and have finished your negotiations. Keep applying for other positions and going on interviews when invited throughout your job search. The only certainty is that nothing is certain when it comes to job hunting until it’s in writing.
Don’t string along potential employers
We like to tell candidates that options have inherent value. If you’re given an offer, it’s ok to let a company know that you have another interview lined up and you’d like to weigh your options. Your transparency will probably be appreciated. Just try to give the company a timeline of when they can expect to hear from you and then stick to it. If you need more time, keep the lines of communication open and let your interviewer know. One of the worst things you could do is ghost the company until you know what you’re doing. Do your best to leave a good taste in any potential employers mouth, not a sour one. You never know if they might have a place in your future career.
If you do have to turn down a company who offered you a position, try to do it as soon as you’re sure. Politely thank the potential employer and let them know that, though you are appreciative of the opportunity to interview, you are no longer interested in being considered for the position. Be willing to consider any counter-offers made by the potential employer (more money, better working hours, etc.) but do not expect them. Avoid ‘calling their bluff’ by turning down a potential employer in anticipation for a counter-offer, as this may result in you barring your chances for a job that may have been a great fit.
Do keep the relationship “warm”
While there’s something to be said for looking “desirable” to an employer (ie. doing your best to not seem desperate after sending your twentieth follow up email), you may be surprised to hear that a lot of hiring manager actually find follow up emails helpful.
If you think about their job from day-to-day, they spend a lot of their time in meetings, writing and following up to emails, interviewing candidates. So just because it may take them a while to respond to your job application, it doesn’t actually mean you’ve been kicked to the can. Your email may have just gotten lost in the shuffle of a busy week.
So, do write a follow-up email. Just make sure that you’re polite. Try to give the hiring manager the benefit of the doubt. Let them know how excited you are about the role and the company, and that you’re available to talk more when they’re free.
Do continue your job search
You may have had an interview at your dream company, but that doesn’t mean you should throw the extra copies of your resume in the trash. If you come across another job listing that catches your eye, go ahead and apply. Attend interviews if you’re invited to them, even if you’re unsure about your fit for the role. An interview is a two-way conversation and you’re at no obligation to commit to a company after meeting with them one or even a few times.
The point here is to keep your options open. The hiring process can be a long one and if it turns out that you don’t get the role you had your hopes set on, you’re going to find yourself starting your job search again from square one.
Do give yourself time to make your next best move
Before handing in the towel with your current employer, allow yourself some time to decide whether or not the position would actually be your next best move.
Respond to your potential employer within 24 hours of your acceptance notice, thanking them for the opportunity and letting them know you will respond within three days. If you are waiting to hear back regarding a more desirable position, here is your chance for making a power move. If you are more interested in a potential employer than the one who has offered you a position, let the potential employer know you’ve been offered a position with a different company who is waiting for a response. Politely inform the company that you are interested in working for them and proactively ask what you can do to expedite the process.
Do your research
When applying for new jobs, it is important to do research into the companies you’re seeking out as potential employers. A recent study identified company culture to be an important factor in workplace satisfaction, with 92% of respondents believing that improving the corporate culture of the company would result in improvements in the value of the company. Find out as much as you can about their mission, their reputation, and their health as a company. Ask yourself if their values in align with your own and/or how would you feel about going to work every day here. Do your research before applying and decide whether or not an organization is one you feel comfortable representing.