job interview

What happens AFTER a job interview can be just as important as what happens during it. It’s not easy to get an interview with an organisation these days so don’t jeopardise all that pre-interview preparation and effort by putting a foot wrong with your post-interview strategies.

Here are some of my top tips for ensuring you tick all the boxes.

Make sure you have referees ready

If you’re asked to give referee names, have some readily to hand. There is always a question mark against someone who cannot easily give referees. Referees usually need to be someone who has been your direct manager, not colleagues or personal friends. The exception to this rule is where a number of references are taken from a variety of contacts from your past, including colleagues or people you have managed.

You need to contact your referees in advance, so they are aware they may be called/emailed. A lot of recruiters and organisations have problems getting hold of referees due to lack of notice, which slows the recruitment process. A referee who needs to complete questions online is acceptable, while referees located overseas are not a problem either. These days a lot of reference checking is outsourced and there are plenty of recruiters and organisations who work around the clock collecting information and references.

Ensure your qualifications are watertight

A lot of organisations want to check qualifications thoroughly. Have a full copy of your academic transcript available, not just the final certification (these can easily be forged).

Ask for feedback

You should always receive feedback from a recruiter or organisation after your interview. I often hear that candidates are never contacted after their interview, despite following up on several occasions. This is unacceptable – you deserve feedback, and you will receive it from good recruiters and good organisations.

Keep trying politely by calling and emailing the client, or recruiter, if there is a recruiter involved. Don’t contact them daily, they may be waiting for an approval OR waiting for the preferred candidate to accept the offer. If you have been harassing them, they may not be as keen to offer you the role if the other candidate eventually rejects them.

If you happen to be connected on LinkedIn – I find people communicate far more readily via LinkedIn than email or phone – perhaps try that avenue.

If it’s looking unlikely they will respond, have the last say. Send a professional message to thank them for the opportunity and let them know “if I don’t get this role I am keen to work for the organisation in the future” (even if this is a complete lie). At least you know you have done the right thing. No one ever has a sterling career by letting off steam or burning bridges, you never know who knows who.

Consider calling or writing to someone senior in HR or management to say you’ve been unsuccessful in a role, but are very keen to work for the organisation. You never know, the manager who interviewed you could be on the way out.

How to handle rejection

If you are unsuccessful with a position that really interested you, go back to the organisation or recruiter in three to six months. Don’t be embarrassed that you were rejected once – often the decision between the first and second candidate is an incredibly fine line.

Sometimes an organisation recruiting for itself doesn’t make a good decision at the time. I can’t tell you how many times I see an organisation choose a candidate who doesn’t show up for the first day, or who only lasts a few weeks or months. Many times, the candidate who won your dream job takes it as their second choice. Following up shows how keen you were and you never know, the organisation could have a job for you right now or in the future.

Good luck with your job search!

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