| what to do after a job interview

Congratulations, your interview went well and you’re excited. It is not the time to rest on your laurels—you’ve got work to do! Here are the steps you should take following your interview to keep the momentum going:

  • Send a thank you note. Send a separate note to each person who interviewed you. Your thank you notes should be sent no more than 2 days after your interview; the next day is even better. For government interviews, you should use an email note.
  • Keep applying for positions, even while you wait to hear back on this one. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that the jobs will actually get filled. The budget for the new position might not be approved. Or the responsibilities of the job opening may be distributed to one or more existing employees. Or an internal candidate may have suddenly become available, and the position is offered to him or her.
  • Develop any specific skills that were mentioned in the job interview but that you’re weak in — for example, specific software platforms. Not only will this give you something to do while you wait, but it’s also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your serious interest in the position, because you can mention what you’re doing to strengthen your skills in your follow up with the interviewer.

The Complete Guide to Interviewing for a Federal Job

  • Reach out to your network. If someone you knew at the organization had passed your resume along to the hiring manager or endorsed your application, be sure to check in with him or her after the interview. Your contact may be able to provide you with insight about the number of candidates interviewed, how your candidacy was perceived, and other valuable information about the hiring process and the organization culture.
  • Tap your references. Let them know that you’ve interviewed for the position (give them the job title and organization) and that they may be contacted. Make sure they have an updated copy of your resume. Ask them to let you know if they hear from the organization.
  • If this was a first interview, start preparing for a second one. The second interview requires even more preparation than the first one—get busy!
  • Follow up. If the interviewer didn’t mention a timeframe for making a hiring decision — or you didn’t ask — you have a couple of options. The first is to wait a week and then reach out to inquire. How should you follow-up? Unless the interviewer has stated otherwise, a phone call is usually the best method for follow-up. Try to reach the person directly; only leave a voice mail if you can’t reach them after a couple of tries. Don’t forget to check USAJOBS as well to see if the status of the job has changed.

Remember, even if you aren’t selected for the position you were interviewing for, many organizations do keep your application and resume on file, and you might be contacted later about another opening.

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.