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Four Steps to Take After the Interview

Even after you've walked out the door, the interview isn't really over. Your next steps may be the most important ones yet — and they could be the difference between getting the job or improving your chances of landing another one down the road.

What comes after the interview can be broken down into four parts:

  1. Contacting references
  2. Sending a thank-you note
  3. Following up
  4. Preparing for the next interview
1. Contact Your References

If you provided a list of references, call each person. Give them information about the position so they can be ready to answer a reference call.

2. Send a Thank-You Letter

You can’t overestimate the value of sending a thank-you letter. You should always send a letter of appreciate for the interview either the same day or the next day at the latest. If you interviewed with more than one person, send a separate letter to each one.

Sending a thank-you letter shows interest, thoughtfulness and follow through. It places your name and qualifications in front of the hiring doctor(s) one more time — perhaps at a very crucial time — and may set you apart from other candidates who don’t bother to send a thank-you note.

The type of thank-you letter you send will depend on how you felt about the interview. If the interview went well, a quick thank-you note that expresses your appreciation for the interview and reaffirms your interest in the position may suffice. You might also emphasize something about your background or skills that you forgot to mention during the interview. Or maybe you stress again how you can be an asset to the practice and give additional relevant examples that demonstrate your capabilities.

However, if the interview went poorly, you may want to take further steps. For example, if you think you forgot to discuss something during the interview that’s important, a quick note explaining it can be appropriate. Perhaps the interview went poorly because of something personal going on in your life at the time, such as a recent death in the family. If that’s the case, then send a quick note explaining the situation.

You may be tempted to send a quick email thank-you note. And while that’s better than nothing, it certainly doesn’t match the thoughtfulness of taking a few extra minutes to craft a personal handwritten note.  

3. Follow Up Later

You should expect to hear back from the practice in a reasonable length of time. If you don’t, it’s okay to call and politely ask about the status of the decision-making process. Again, following up shows your enthusiasm and interest in the position. Plus, it provides yet another chance to remind the doctor of your skills, qualifications and accomplishments.

4. Prepare for Your Next Interview

If you’re lucky enough to get the first job you interview for, you’re blessed. But if that doesn’t happen, here are some tips to help you use the interview as a learning experience for your next one.

  • Review your resume and update it for your next application and interview.
  • Make a list of what went well during the interview and areas where you can improve.
  • Write down any questions you didn’t anticipate so that you can be prepared to answer them next time if asked again.
  • Think about what you will do differently in the next interview.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can learn from every interview is why you weren’t selected for the position. Don’t be afraid to contact the hiring doctor and ask him how you can improve your interviewing skills or if there are any capabilities you need to improve that will increase your chances of getting a job the next time you interview for a position.

For tips on what to do during the interview, please read Get Ready for Your Interview, Part 1, Get Ready for Your Interview, Part 2 and Interview Like a Pro.

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