Knowing what to do and what not to do after a job interview can be just as important as the job interview itself. In a recent blog about thoughts and fears before a job interview, I covered my experiences with a job interview and how I mentally took myself out of the running before the interview even started.
I had attended more than two dozen job interviews in my native New York City. This blog describes what happened after the job interview written about previously, which will take you through the thoughts and irrational fears that hurt my chances of getting work in the following months.
I stress again that times change for everyone, and at some point, we all have to be prepared for job interviews. It is mandatory to get over these irrational thoughts and fears after a job interview to have future interviews with confidence.
5. “I bombed the interview. I am going to follow up quickly and apologize”
I decided this 10 minutes after the interview, spoke to my wife about what happened, and she explained to me why I should not do it. Thankfully, I listened. Instead, I followed up with a thank you note for their time and left it alone. Here is why.
After Interview Tip: You should never apologize for a bad job interview, especially if you fear like you completely bombed it. You simply do not know how the hiring manager feels. You only have an assumption as to why.
If you know for a fact that you did not have a great interview because they told you, the last thing you should do is leave a lasting memory of the bad interview by apologizing. Let it go and move on. Do not draw attention to yourself over negative interviews that should be forgotten.
4. “I am not doing enough obviously. I need to start applying online for jobs mostly”
Reflecting, to this point I believe I had done a bit too much. At the time, however, I was not working and thought that the best course of action would be to play the numbers of applying online.
I made the smart decision to go home and work on several different resumes, one for each particular skillset. Then I made the unwise decision to completely spam job listings all over the Internet for jobs I can “almost do”. After this job interview, my fear was, “Everyone else must be doing more than I am because they have jobs and I do not.”
The real problem was that I stopped networking, which was something I had done a great deal of for most of my career. Mentally, whether I knew it or not, I had given up because of my irrational fears and thoughts following the job interview. I focused only on applying for jobs online, a big mistake.
After Interview Tip: The verdict will forever be out on whether or not applying online for jobs “works”. Some have had success, but most do not. Finding a job is not the one-pronged approach it used to be. The only way to “get a job” from a person is by networking with people. Online job applications are an effort, but they are not everything.
3. “I will take any job at this point”
I meant well, but it was a bad idea. After months of little success with interviews from job listings I spammed, I found myself growing more and more discouraged. In many ways, I had practically made a fool of myself at some job interviews just by showing up.
One interview at a fashion design website loved talking to me and thought it was “brave to show up”, but I knew nothing about the industry or the culture. I interviewed because I usually pick out my wife’s clothes for work and people say she looks amazing. Regardless, looking back I would have hated the job even I could learn how to survive in it.
After Interview Tip: No matter what happens to you in your career, stick to the things you are most passionate about. A paycheck is great, but we are in an economy right now that survives on dedication to a passion, not a paycheck. You will also be able to sleep better at night. Working jobs you do not like clutter up your resume with things you wish you had not done, not a great thing to have for a job interview.
2. “I do not need help talking to people in job interviews”
This irrational thought hit me because I was preparing for every other thing in the world, other than the thing I should be working on:
“How to interview for a job”
Only someone who over thinks will miss the most obvious obstacle and I was doing just that. My “interview muscles” were out of shape. I was likable, yes, but I was expecting that to be everything. I was not talking business enough, and most importantly, the business of the people in the job interview. I only discovered this after a hiring manager, in Denmark of all places, told me.
He simply said, “Do all Americans talk as much as you? Is that something we will have to get used to?”. He was not insulting me. He was planning on opening a business in the USA.
After Interview Tip: Everyone can always use the practice. If you would like to know what to say in job interviews, or what not to say, check out some of our videos here from career coaches.
1. “I do not have time to take classes or volunteer”
This was a big mistake on my part for the better part of a year.
After Interview Tip: Life rarely works in reverse. My mindset was to “get hired” and then “do what I need to do to further my career education”. Unfortunately, in today’s business world the longer you stay out of work the harder it is to get hired.
This makes it mandatory for everyone to keep their brains and lives active by doing some sort of work. Take business courses on things you care most about and volunteer with people who work in your field.
Eventually, after a year of irrational thoughts and fears, followed by a year of taking positive action all came full circle and I was hired, only after I became honest with myself, put in the work to prepare for job interviews, and stopped wasting time in areas that were not helping.
The saying goes, “If you spend time digging ditches in a rainstorm, all you are doing is creating a mud puddle.”