What happens after the interview?
The wait after the interview can seem interminable, especially if you feel it went well. The employers’ decision, whether yes or no, will of course create several decisions for you to make.
When finishing an interview, it is fine for you to ask the interviewer/ interviewers when you could hope to hear from them in relation to the next step? This is normally a question you would ask if the interview went well of course, but no matter how it went always thank them for their time and perhaps even drop them a brief follow up email to thank them for the opportunity. It never hurts to be polite. While waiting for the response, it is of course prudent to continue your job search and make some notes on what aspects of the interview you feel went well and which did not.
If they say ‘yes’
Well done, it’s quite an achievement: you have stood out from the competition and impressed the employer to the extent that they want to add you to their organisation. But remember, amidst the euphoria, you still have decisions to make. Are you sure you want the job? If you have no better offers on the table, then confirm in writing that you are happy to take the position. If you have a job offer but are waiting to hear about another job, try to buy yourself some time. Contact the employer and explain the situation (don’t mention the name of the second employer of course) and explain that you have a decision to make. Once you are honest about it an employer will be understanding, for a short period of time, about the situation. It’s important you do this. If you accept one job in writing and then reject it after getting another offer you could be in breach of contract. You also could damage valuable contacts that you may have built up during your job search. If your acceptance or rejection of the job is dependent on salary, then tread very carefully.
Most graduate jobs have a standard salary, which you will have been made aware of, so if you wish to debate this you’ll need to be very diplomatic and be aware that there can be negative consequences. When considering the salary for any position, you need to look at the whole package on offer, benefits, annual leave and any other perks or bonuses, most importantly career and personal progression paths.
If they say ‘no’
The very nature of any job selection process obviously means that there will be those left disappointed. However, you’re only starting out on your career path, and while disappointment is regrettable, you should not confuse rejection with failure. There’s a sporting phrase which says ‘you either win or you learn.’ You can learn from the experience by reflecting on your CV and application and the interview phase itself. What were you comfortable with and what did you feel you could have performed better at? You need to put such experiences in perspective and remember that even by getting the interview you were judged to be a high-potential candidate.
Ask for feedback. Many employers will be happy to provide some feedback and you can use this to benefit your future applications and interviews. If an employer highlights a skill or attribute that you were lacking, act on it! Such feedback can provide you with a sense of purpose to move forward.
Dust yourself down and start again. You need both tenacity and resilience to succeed in any job hunt, particularly during a crisis such as what we are currently experiencing. Doing interviews and assessments remotely is also extremely challenging. This means being realistic too, and even philosophical; perhaps the job wasn’t for you in the first place. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of applying blindly within the same sector with the same CV or qualifications. Make sure you’re applying for jobs that suit not only your skills, but also you.