Hello and welcome to the first post in my new series, After the Interview! If you've already been following along with my prior series, Acing the Interview, welcome back! If not, I would highly recommend reading through that series as a precursor to what will be a very informative series on what to do after the interview. Throughout this series, we'll be discussing topics like receiving and evaluating your offer letter, as well as handling the negotiation process afterwards. First things first though, let's get started on what to do after the interview, but before you get that offer letter.
“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.”
Phew! You did it!😤 You made it through your interview! Ideally, the interviewer loved you and either scheduled a follow up interview for you with some other individuals in the company, or has let you know that they'll be getting back to you shortly with an offer letter. If you feel like the interview might not have gone as well as you hopped though, don't fret. While the interview is important, how you handle the follow up after the interview and potential rejection is just as critical. You have to remain present and responsive to the company, as there's a lot still to be done after the interview process, such as:
Thank you letters sent directly to your recruiter and interviewers can make or break your chances of getting an offer letter. One survey by TopResume, show that 68% of recruiters and hiring managers say a quick thank you letter after the interview matters to them. The interview process doesn't end when you leave the building after your interview. The post-interview activities provides you with the wonderful opportunity to create a stronger relationship with the interviewers and hiring manager, keeping your candidacy at the top of their mind. That survey also showed that 16% of the interviewers out-right reject an interviewee because they never sent any kind of thank you email or note after the interview. Another survey by CareerBuilder showed that 43% of interviewees don't send thank you notes after the interview.
This data shows that, while many companies expect a thank you letter after the interview, almost half of all candidates don't do so. Taking this into consideration, you can see how important this part of the process can be and how sending short, timely thank you letters after each interview and to each interviewer can be incredibly helpful. Not only can you reiterate why you're the right person for the job, it also provides you with the opportunity to mention something you may have forgotten during the interview, or even provide the correct solution to a question you may have gotten wrong during the interview. This shows the interviewers that you have the persistence and capabilities needed to do the job, even if you weren't able to prove that to them during the intense pressure of an interview. So be sure to get a business card or contact information from each interviewer and tuck that information away to follow up within 24 hours of the interview.
When writing your concise thank you letter, be sure to cover the following topics:
- Use short and clear subject lines for your follow-up email. Something like, "Thank you for the interview yesterday" or "[First Name], it was great meeting you"
- Thank each interviewer for their time by starting the email with the interviewer's first name and including some authentic part of the interview that you are grateful for involving that interviewer. Don't hesitate to mention something specific that you both discussed, such as a specific problem or skill that individual needs, and how it's one of your strong points, making you a great fit for the position
- Reiterate your interest in the company and why you are a great cultural fit, but don't come off as desperate. 1 or 2 quick sentences should be more than enough to do so
- Wrap up the email by asking if they have any other questions for you and what the next steps are in that company's interview process.
- Finally, be sure to include your full name, email, and phone number in the signature of the email so that they know how to reach out to you, if needed.
Below is a sample thank you letter that you're free to use in your post-interview communication:
[Interviewer's First Name],
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me yesterday about the [insert job title] job opportunity. It was a pleasure learning more about the role and where you see the company over the next several years.
It's clear to me by the projects you discussed that [insert company name] would be a very exciting place to work. I'm very interested in becoming an integral part of your team and contributing to its many successes in the future.
I'm confident that my knowledge in [insert applicable skill] and experience with [insert applicable skill] will help bring about those successes with you and the rest of your team, as your new [insert job title].
If you have any other questions for me, or need additional information, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm looking forward to hearing back from you on the next steps.
Once again, thank you for your time and have a great rest of the day.
As you can see, thank you letters take very little time to write but can have a major impact on your chances of landing that dream job. Be sure to write up one and send it out quickly after each interview to help separate you from the rest of the candidates and get the job offer you deserve.
Even when it comes to handling offers and rejections from companies, it's very important how you handle yourself and how you respond. If you have received an offer, but have interviewed with multiple companies, you might be waiting to hear back from them. If you wanted to wait before accepting/declining the offer extended you to, you can ask for an extension on the offer. Most offers from companies come with a deadline included, likely one to four weeks out from the offer date. While you should try to accept or decline the offer within that window, companies will typically try to accommodate an extension, if needed.
When it comes to declining an offer, it will be in your best interests to do so in a cordial manner and on good terms to keep a line of communication open with the interviewers. It might turn out that you become interested in working for the company a few years in the future or the contacts you made at this company might move to a different company that you're more excited to work for. With this in mind, provide a non-offensive and inarguable reason as to why you're declining the offer. For example, if you're declining an offer from a big company to go work at an environmentally friendly company, let them know why you're declining there offer and that you feel like making an environmental impact on the world is right for you at this current point in time. A big company can't argue with the fact that they likely won't suddenly become an environmentally friendly company in the next few years. Not only does this provide you with an inarguable reason as to why you're declining the offer, but it also helps build bridges to re-interview with the company in a few years when they do create plans to become environmentally friendly.
If you don't hear back from the interviewer immediately, it doesn't mean you're rejected and won't get the job. There are numerous reasons why the decision to hire you could be delayed. The company may have a couple more interviews to go through before making a decision. One of the interviewer's might not have provided their feedback on you to the interview team yet, causing a delay in getting a holistic idea of you. It could also be that they're busy drafting up your offer letter and discussing the details of that offer letter with your future boss! Whatever is the cause of the delay though, try to stay calm. Spend some time outside enjoying nature, or being around friends and family, to get your mind off the interview. If there still is no response from the company after a few days, it's more than acceptable to follow-up, politely, with your recruiter.
If you do end up being rejected by the company, it's not the end of the world. While being rejected is never a fun experience, it doesn't mean that you're not an excellent engineer or that you're not worthy of the position you interviewed for. Just as the mock interviews teach you something about yourself and the interview process, so will you have learned a lot from this interview. It might be that you had an off day, or just don't "test well" with these types of interviews. Whatever the reasoning, it will be in your best interest to reflect on the interview process and try to identify what went wrong. Be sure to remain cordial and responsive by thanking the interviewer for their time, letting them know that you're disappointed with their decision but understand, and ask when you can reapply to the company. While some of the bigger companies won't provide feedback due to their own company policies, it never hurts to ask them something like, "For the next interview, is there anything that you believe would be beneficial for me to work on?".
Once you find out that information, you can focus on improving upon it for the next interview. There are plenty other companies and excellent positions to interview for out in the world and I know you'll find one that you absolutely love. It will take time but stay persistent and you'll be sure to find it. If there is no other company that you want to work for though, it is possible for you to re-apply to the company and try again. Big tech companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google reject numerous candidates during every interview cycle. The hiring managers also realize that these interview processes aren't perfect and can sometime reject good candidates because of it. When previously rejected individuals re-apply again 6-12 months later, companies are typically eager to re-interview and might even expedite the process based off your prior performance. Your initial interview results most likely won't have a major impact on your re-interview so keep studying up and preparing yourself for that next interview. With a little bit of persistence, you may end up getting that offer letter to the company of your dreams.
If you enjoyed the post, be sure to follow me so that you don't miss the rest of this series, where I continue, in detail, on what to do After the Interview, including evaluating and negotiating your offer letter! The links to my social media accounts can be found on my contact page of my personal website. Please feel free to share any of your own experiences with the interviewing process, general questions and comments, or even other topics you would like me to write about. If this series of posts help you land that dream job of yours, be sure to let me know as well. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!👋