Posted August 19, 2019 by

After the Interview: What Not to Do

As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” (If you don’t know who Tom Petty is, stop reading now and go listen to some of his music!) While a job interview can be very stressful, waiting to hear back can be even harder. If you prepared for the job interview and answered the questions to the best of your ability, you’ve done everything you can, and now it’s out of your control. Or is it?

Even if you aced the interview, you could jeopardize your chances of getting the job by:

Apologizing or “correcting” your responses.

It’s human nature to replay the job interview in your mind. But, obsessing over what you might have said differently or wishing you could take back a comment is a waste of time and energy. A more productive idea is to write down things that you’d like to do differently in the next job interview or examples you want to include. However, never include an apology or correction in your thank you letter or follow-up communication. Chances are, the interviewer didn’t even notice the “error” you made or the remark you wish you hadn’t, so why point it out? Second guessing yourself shows a lack of confidence.

Harassing the hiring manager.

It’s standard practice to send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours of the job interview. Once you’ve done that, don’t communicate until the date the hiring manager told you they’d be in touch. Unless you have a very urgent question or something major comes up, there’s no reason for you to contact the hiring manager.

Should you email or call to let him or her know that you’re still very interested in the job? No. What about a quick note to ask about the status? Again, no. Hiring managers are inundated with messages already. Don’t reach out again until a few days after the date he or she told you that you’d be hearing from them.

Posting anything about the interview on social media.

If you had a great job interview, it can be tempting to share your excitement about the opportunity or experience on social media. You might even think it’s cool to tag the company. However, you don’t know what the company’s social media policy is, so by posting you might be violating their standards unknowingly. Play it safe and keep your thoughts private, and brag to your friends and family offline.

Ghosting the hiring manager.

If you accept another job offer or you’ve decided you don’t want this job for any reason, send an email to the hiring manager to let him or her know. Thank the hiring manager for his or her time and the job interview, then explain that you’ve chosen to pursue another opportunity. The hiring manager will appreciate that you took the time to keep him or her informed and will remember your good manners. The business world is smaller than you think, so it’s very possible that you’ll cross paths again at some point, so don’t risk burning bridges.

Finally, don’t stop your job search or quit your job, no matter how well the job interview went. Nothing is official until you receive a formal job offer and sign a contract. Even if the hiring manager hints that the job is yours, another candidate may come along who is a better fit, or the manager’s manager may decide that you’re not right for the job. Any number of scenarios could occur.

It can be hard to be patient, especially if the job you interviewed for is an opportunity you’re really excited about. But, remember, patience is a virtue and proper etiquette is important.

(This article is based on “What Not to do After a Job Interview,” by Ashira Prossack, Forbes, July 2019)

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