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After the Interview

This lesson is a part of an audio course Interview Skills by Ross Maynard

You have finished the interview, and you probably want to collapse somewhere and have a rest. But, while the interview is still fresh in your mind, make some notes on answers you feel you could have improved on, as well as areas where you feel you were really strong. Think of how you can make those weaker areas as good as your strong areas.

Refresh your personal interview skills balance sheet and consider any other skills development needs you think you have in the light of the interview.

After that, take some time to decompress. Do something to take your mind off it for the rest of the day if you can.

It may take the employer a week or more to get back to you, so don't wait around anxiously for a response. Get on with the rest of your life.

What If You Don't Get the Job?

If you don't get the job, then it means it wasn't meant to be. Someone else was better qualified, more appropriately experienced, or a better fit for the opportunity. It doesn't mean you were a poor candidate – just that someone else was stronger or a better fit.

So don't beat yourself up. Be gracious in defeat. Good luck to them. Thank the person contacting you for the opportunity – you never know when you might cross their path again.

If you felt that the job was a strong fit, then ask for feedback. Where do you need to improve your skills and experience? Thank the employer and stay positive.

If this really was your dream job, then definitely ask for feedback. Write to them expressing your continuing interest and work on your skills and experience. Follow the organisation online, and you might be able to apply again in a year or so.

Above all, don't be put off by this set back. Don't dwell on it. As they sing in the film Frozen – let it go, let it go, and I'll rise like the break of dawn. Just don't expect me to sing it.

It wasn't meant to be, so work on your weak points, and move on to the next opportunity.

When You Shouldn't Take the Job?

Sometimes you are offered the job – and you shouldn't take it. It's a rare occurrence, but I have taken at least one job in the past where I fell for the promises made and I probably shouldn't have taken it. None of the promises were fulfilled.

When should you not take the job?

  • If the company is being elusive about the position being offered, then you should think twice. If you don't understand the role that you are being offered, or the company is vague in answering questions, then you don't know what you are walking into, and you need to think very hard about going ahead. Ask more questions to try and clarify the role and its requirements – if you don't get clear answers, then maybe you should walk away.

  • If the role has a high turnover, then it might be a poisoned chalice. Ask why the previous incumbents left. Research employee reports about the organisation online. Of course, succeeding in a difficult role and stabilising a position that has been problematic for the organisation, will be very good for your CV – but take that sort of role on with your eyes fully open; and you might need to be ready to look for another position in six or nine months.

  • If the job won't do anything for your CV, then you should think twice about taking it as it might be a dead-end that damages your future prospects. At the same time, sometimes a "holding pattern" job might be ideal for you – you might want to broaden your experience in an area with a new employer; or you might want some time to build up your skills and develop some qualifications; or there might be things going on in your life that mean you need a role you can handle easily for a while.

  • Finally, if there is pressure to take the job, then take time to think it through. Are they keen to get you, or just desperate?

It doesn't happen often, but you shouldn't automatically take a job you are offered – particularly if it is different from the role originally advertised.

If something doesn't feel quite right about the organisation or the job, or they seem desperate, then think twice before leaping into the unknown.

Thank you for listening to this lesson. In our next lesson, we will cover what to do when you are asked to be on an interview panel.

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Written by

Ross Maynard