Via Liz Ryan on LinkedIn
CEO and Founder, Human Workplace
At Human Workplace we teach our clients a five-step protocol to follow after every job interview. The first step is to go home (or back to the office, if you’re conducting a stealth job search) and write down everything you can remember about the interview.
Jot quick notes to yourself to remind you of the million things you’ll forget about the interview if you don’t capture them while they’re fresh in your mind. Write as much about the conversation as you can remember, and note anything that struck you as odd or awkward or thought-provoking.
If you can, get a friend on the phone or sit down face-to-face with someone and tell them the story of your interview. “Aha!s” will occur to you as you recount your interview story. Your friend will pick up on things you miss, too.
Once you’ve put your interview notes on paper and shared them with a trusted advisor, compose your post-interview thank you notes. Every interviewer gets his or her own thank-you.
The third step is to look for learning in the form of “Was there anything in that interview I want to do differently next time?” That doesn’t mean you screwed up. Every time we step out there, we have the chance to think of new ways to grow our muscles.
Every time I sing an aria, even one I’ve sung a hundred times, I think of new things to try. We get better as we go – “better” meaning “truer to ourselves.” Capture the learning from your job interview, and remind yourself if you want to develop a more cohesive answer to a particular question or do or say something else differently next time out.
You succeed in a job interview when you bring yourself to the conversation. When you aren’t fully present either because you are sitting outside yourself judging your ‘performance’ or busy in your mind gauging your interviewer’s reactions, then you may go home after an interview feeling as though you could have done better.
The fourth step in the post-interview protocol is to celebrate your interview with a treat – maybe a nice gelato! The fifth step is to close the file and move on. If they get you, they deserve you. If they don’t get you, they’ll hire someone else and that’s fine. You don’t have time for people who can’t see your flame.
Forgetting about a job interview can be the hardest step of all. It’s human nature to wonder “What happened with that interview? Are they going to hire me, or not?” It’s human nature to think “Maybe I messed up. Maybe I didn’t tell interesting stories, or maybe I talked too much.” To add to your stress level, most employers do an abysmal job of communicating with job applicants during the recruiting process. It’s shameful how poorly job-seekers are treated.
You may get an invitation to come back for a second or third interview, or you may get a terse email message that says “We’ve decided not to go forward with your application.”
You may hear nothing at all, and only realize months later that the promising first interview melted into nothing without so much as a “thanks for your time!”
Here are some of the reasons you may not have gotten hired. You’ll notice that none of the reasons has anything to do with you!
- They may have put the job on hold or killed the job opening completely.
- They may have changed the job spec so dramatically that none of the people they interviewed initially (including you) is a good fit for the re-configured job.
- They may not have hired anyone. They may have been interviewing people to get free consulting advice from job-seekers.
- They may have promoted someone internally, only realizing after six weeks of interviewing that a perfectly qualified person was sitting right in front of them.
- They may have eliminated the whole department you were in the process of joining. Even the manager you interviewed with may be history by now!
It’s a waste of your time and your precious mojo to stew and simmer about interviews that are already in the past. Once you get all the learning you can get from a particular interview experience, let it go!