It's very frustrating when you've been to interview – especially for a job you really want – but then hear nothing for what seems like a lifetime.Unfortunately, your work is not done once you leave the interview – in fact it's just beginning. You can't simply sit back and wait for the job offer.
Know the process
The first thing to do to save you from sitting by the phone is to get a rough idea of when a decision is to be expected. Ask at the end of the interview what the next steps are and when you may expect to hear back. If you find out that they are about to go on holiday for a few weeks and won't decide until they get back, it will save you from worrying.
Be proactive and follow-up any interview as a strategic part of your job search. It shows your enthusiasm and desire for the position, but don't make it seem as though you are desperate.
Obtain the correct titles and names of all the people who interviewed you - ideally, each person's business card – so you can include them on any follow up correspondence.
It's always a good idea to write a thank you email to each person who interviewed you, usually within two business days, and you'll be surprised just how many people do not do this. If you have made any promises to follow up with additional information, such as a link to your website, then make sure you include this.
If you're applying through a recruitment agency rather than directly, there may be some blockages to dealing directly with the employer; but if you are open with your recruitment agent and explain that it's a key part of your strategy, you should have no problems getting hold of the contact details.
A sincere thank you note following an important interview shows character and interest. It also shows appreciation for the employer's interest in you and serves to remind the employer that you are committed and sincere in the opportunity. This is also useful to bring you back to the top of the interviewer's mind as they may have interviewed many people for the role.
If you think your chances are high, this may be the time to approach your references to let them know their services may be required in the near future. The sooner they know, the quicker they'll react when communication is made.
Don't stop looking
Even if you feel confident that you will get a job offer, continue looking at other opportunities. It is never wise to place too much importance on one job or one interview. Tell yourself there will be other opportunities.
Waiting is never a good policy – even if you are the patient type. The recruitment process can often take longer than you, or even the employer, expects. It's fair game to use other job offers as leverage in your follow-up. You can always politely inform a prospective employer that you have another offer to see if it will hurry their decision along. Never introduce this as an ultimatum, just mention it in passing to see if they really want you.
Finally, never burn any bridges if you do not get a job offer. Any contact with an employer (or interviewer) even if it is unsuccessful, could be useful. Interviews are a good way of getting to know people who may be able to help you throughout your career.