A few years back, my friend and I were hoping to intern at an organisation we really admired, for the summer. We were both good fits for the company on paper. We applied, got called in for an interview on the same day, and they went fairly well for both of us. We left the office building shaking off the residual nervousness from the interview, promises to keep each other updated, and the best of luck for the waiting period to come before “the call”.
So, we waited. I waited anxiously and she waited loudly.
I spent every free moment going over the interview in my head and beating myself up over what I could have answered differently. I would check my email inbox and text messages obsessively every day. I was a teenager after a first date all over again – only instead of a first date, I’d had an interview, and instead of butterflies, I had agonizing anxiety eating away at my insides.
But while I nervously checked for communication from their end, there was radio silence from mine. I was too fearful to follow up, and too busy wondering if I’d get the internship, to apply for any others.
My friend on the other hand, was just as anxious, but her nerves didn’t keep her from following up with the organisation. And she did – almost every day.
She followed up with a polite email the first day after the interview. This was followed by persistent and, now she admits, borderline demanding, texts, social media messages, and even calls, in the waiting period that followed.
Ultimately, neither of us got the internship, and the much-awaited call was one expressing regret.
I can’t say for sure whether our behaviour during the waiting period led to us not getting the offer. All I can say for sure now, is that it definitely didn’t help.
I know my friend and I are not alone in this waiting-period anxiety, and the blunders that arise from it. So, here are a few ways you can stay sane and better your chances of landing the job, while waiting to hear back after a job interview.
Here Are 5 Things You Should And Shouldn’t Do While Waiting To Hear Back After A Job Interview
1. First – send a thank you mail.
Sending a simple thank you note to the person who took the time out to interview you, can make a big impact. Send a thank you mail within 24 hours of your interview.
Formally thank them for the opportunity and their time. However, make the thank you note as personal as possible.
While writing the thank you mail reference instances from your interview and link relevant material. If you had talked about your management style or approach to your work during the interview, link a book that explains the benefits of that style or approach. If you’d discussed certain current events during the interview, link an interesting article on the event that might have come out since the interview, that reflects your views on the subject.
Do not turn the thank you mail into written minutes of the interview. Only reiterate what you admire about the organisation. Express your eagerness and excitement to work with them.
If there was any confusion at the end of the interview regarding when you can expect to hear back from them, politely clarify when they expect to have made their decision.
2. Do. Not. Be. A. Stalker.
Impatience and anxiety are not your friends during this period of waiting for a job offer. Don’t let them take the wheel.
Pestering your interviewer isn’t impressive, as many movies, where job seekers go to extreme lengths to ensure they are on the top of their potential employers’ minds, have made us believe.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that staying on top of their mind with daily messages on social media or email, will increase your chances of getting the job. Constantly sending messages after the thank you mail asking about the status of their decision-making, can get very annoying very quickly, and even make you come off as rude or entitled.
Get some distance. Take the time to reflect on how well you think the interview went, and how realistically you should expect a job offer. Don’t beat yourself up about the things you didn’t nail during the interview, but use the reflection as constructive self-feedback for future interviews.
Don’t be that annoying stalker. Follow up only, and only when the period within which they had said they would get back to you by, has passed without any communication from their side. If they said two weeks, wait those two weeks.
3. … But do “stalk” them to be well-acquainted with what they do.
While you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview, use this waiting period to also go through the company’s website and any of their work that is public. Understand what is the kind of work they do and are looking for. Truly reflect on the message their brand stands for, and if it is something you want to align yourself with. So, if they follow up with you for another round of interviews or a “casual chat” to get to know you better, you will be well-prepared for the interview. And if you do get the job, your knowledge of the company will only make onboarding easier for you and the company.
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Follow the company’s social media page. Update your own social media profile. Clean up things that you think will hamper your chances of getting in from your social media feed, and make your profile public before connecting with the organisation on social media. If you have a professional “work-related” social media profile, use that (if you don’t, this waiting period might be the perfect time to create one).
4. Apply to other places
As badly as you might want this particular job, as perfect you may believe you are for the organisation, and as certain you may be that you nailed the interview and can expect a congratulatory call soon – you have to be prepared for a possible rejection.
While you’re waiting for a job offer you should also consider applying to other places, and keep your options open. If you get this job, good for you! If you don’t, the rejection cannot be the end of your career. You must always have other options fall back on and start actively working towards.
5. Finally – don’t allow yourself to treat the ‘waiting period’ as a period of just waiting
Contrary to how I’ve been referring to this period throughout the article, do not let this period be defined as the “waiting period”. Treating it as a period of waiting will only result in you spending your days as a job seeker in an anxious state of limbo.
Waiting to hear back after a job interview can be stressful and obsessing over the interview and the call to come can only be detrimental to your mental well-being.
In addition to applying to other jobs, invest your time in activities and hobbies that occupy your time and mind. Spend your time learning new skills, honing old ones, and engaging in other activities that bring you joy. Allow yourself to check your inboxes only a few times a day. Refuse to regress back to your days as a teenager anxious to hear back from someone!
Be the extremely capable and highly employable woman who knows exactly how to get through and make the most out of this period of uncertainty, that this article will ensure you are!
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Last updated: 1 February 2021