Post-Interview Etiquette

Your Job Interview Is Over. Now What?

Thank You word typed on a Vintage Typewriter.
••• AzriSuratmin / Getty Images

You've just interviewed for a position, and you're pretty sure you aced it. But you want to know for sure. Did you get the job? Will you be called back for a second interview? It might depend as much on what you do after the interview as it does the stellar presentation you gave during it. 

There are rules you should follow, a post-interview etiquette. Not doing so can hurt your chances of getting the job – you might even inadvertently anger your potential employer, or at least you'll get off on the wrong foot if you actually get the job anyway.

You're not done when you dance out of the building, fist-pumping all the way. Here are a few more steps you might want to take. 

Send a Thank You Note

This isn’t a necessity, but let's face it, it never hurts to thank someone for anything. Everyone – even the individual who just interviewed you in the normal course of his workday – likes feeling appreciated and knowing that his investment of time is acknowledged. 

Granted, an interview isn't a typical situation – you didn’t receive a gift, after all – but a thank you note will make you stand out from other applicants when competition for a job is tough. Those who didn't think to send a thank you note will drop to the back of the pack.

If you do send a note, make sure to do it immediately the interview. Keep it brief and professional. Don't use it to sell yourself all over again, although it's OK to state again how interested you are in the position. 

Don't go overboard with stationary. You're thanking the interviewer, not trying to impress. Even an email will work fine.

Be Mindful of How You Follow Up

Employers often take a lot of time before they decide to hire someone. It means you'll likely have to wait longer than you want to find out if you landed the job. It's OK to follow up after an interview, but only after a certain period of time has passed – and only once.

If you start pestering someone about whether they’ve made a hiring decision, you'll turn yourself into a nuisance. Remember that hiring managers are usually people who trying to do their regular jobs and fill a position. They have tasks they must tend to, and filling an open job position might not be at the top of their lists. So don’t bother them. If you haven’t heard a response in over a week, you can send a short email checking in and, again, expressing your interest, but don’t call. As a general rule, calling is more invasive.

After that? You have to let it be and move on. 

What if You Don’t Hear Anything?

Unfortunately, employers generally don't reach out to give you bad news. More often than not, employers do not get back to candidates who aren't being offered the job. It is particularly true if the individual you interviewed with isn't in the HR department.

If it’s been weeks and weeks and you still haven't heard a word, there's no harm in sending a second note. That said, you can probably assume you didn’t get the job if it's been weeks and weeks.