New and aspiring instructional designers devote plenty of time to prepping for their interviews. But what about after an interview? Did you know that there are a few things you should do after an interview that can:
Increase your chances of getting the job and,
Help you rock your next interview even harder?
Most of your focus is probably on how you’ll showcase your talents and land your dream job. If you’re anticipating a big interview, or you just had one, I’ve got some helpful steps you should take afterward!
Tips for After an Interview
After an interview, it’s tempting to just relax for the rest of the day. You’ve earned it after all that time spent polishing your resume and preparing, right? Not so fast! The best way you can evaluate your interview performance to do better next time is by reflecting.
As soon as your interview is over, record everything you remember from the interview. For example, what questions did they ask? How did you respond to those questions?
For phone interviews, have a blank document open on your computer ready to go as soon as the call ends. For in-person interviews, stash a notebook and pen in your bag and reflect as soon as you find a private space. You can even record your reflection as a voice note. Of course, I don’t recommend doing this in the company’s lobby! Sit in your car or a coffee shop.
Reflection Prompts for After an Interview
Here are my favorite prompts for post-interview reflections. I designed these prompts to get you thinking while your memory is still fresh!
What did you do well?
Start with the positives! What were your strengths? Jot down questions you felt you had great responses to or were just plain well-prepared for. Anything that happened during the conversation that you felt good about, record it.
Were there any unexpected or interesting questions?
Any questions you didn’t plan for or thought wouldn’t come up are great to add to your practice list for next time! Or maybe your interviewer asked a particularly interesting question. Write it down, so you don’t forget it.
What improvements could you make?
I know it’s tough to dwell on any mistakes you may have made during an interview. But the best way to bounce back is to identify areas for improvement. Now that you have the gift of hindsight, how would you change your answers?
Write out your new answer, get it perfect on paper, and use it to prepare for you next interview. Now you’ve turned a mistake into an opportunity for improvement!
Did you represent all your skills well enough?
Your number one job during an interview is to sell yourself to your interviewer. Try and see yourself from their perspective. Would you hire you, based solely on that interview?
How well did you talk up the skills and experience you would bring to the company? Is there anything you forgot to mention? Spend some time brainstorming easy ways to mention your skills during standard interview questions. Find connections so that next time, no matter what questions you’re hit with, you’ll find a way to bring it back to what makes you the right choice.
What did you notice about the company’s culture?
There are plenty of ways for you to get clues about the company’s culture during an interview. What’s the office setup? How do people interact with each other? How are your interviewers dressed vs. how are other employees dressed?
For phone or Zoom interviews, you have to be a bit more perceptive, but you can still pick up on certain aspects of the company’s culture. Was your interviewer speaking very formally, or more was the tone more conversational? Did the interviewer Zoom in from the office, or does the company allow remote work? If there were multiple team members on the call, how did they interact?
Noticing things about a company’s culture has a few benefits.
First, it gives you a good idea if you actually want to work there. Everyone’s different, so a traditional office environment might be a great fit for one candidate while a more modern, open-concept office appeals to a different candidate. Where do you fall?
Next, noticing what pictures your interviewers had in their office or the books they had on their shelves was a great way to break the ice with your interviewer during your interview. Now, if it makes sense, you can reference that small talk when you send a thank-you note later!
How prepared did you feel?
What everyone wants to know after an interview, how did it go? Were you adequately prepared? If you were, great! Make sure you identify the steps you took to prepare so you can repeat the process for future interviews.
If not, don’t sweat it. Even a bad interview is a great learning opportunity. How will you change the way you prepare to make sure it doesn’t happen again? If you need some tips, check out this article.
Action Items for After an Interview
Personally, I feel like a great reflection is an action item. But, your post-interview breakdown reflection is just for you. There are a few other things I recommend doing after an interview to improve your chances of getting hired.
1. Plan for Follow-up
After the interview is over, but before you leave, ask your interviewer for the next steps (if they haven’t already outlined them for you). This might give you a timeline for when you should expect to hear back.
Also, try to get your interviewer’s contact information before you leave! You can ask them for their business cards. At a minimum, make sure that you know their name so that you can follow up with them on LinkedIn.
2. Send a Thank You
Within 48-hours of an interview you should email a thank you note to your interviewers. Thank them for their time, express interest in what you learned about the company (and your interviewers, if applicable), and remind them of your enthusiasm for being considered for the position.
Closeout by letting them know you look forward to hearing from them. If you made a personal connection with your interviewer (maybe you noticed you both went to the same university, or you had both read the same book), reference this in your follow-up! A personal touch could be what sets you apart from the other candidates.
3. Connect on LinkedIn
If you’re able to find your interviewer(s) on LinkedIn, you can request to connect with them now that the interview is over. Include a message with the request to remind them who you are, and they can choose whether or not to accept.
Even if you don’t end up getting the job, growing your network is an important part of starting out in any new field. Plus, that connection could come in handy later on when the company is looking to fill a different position.
4. Reach out to References
First of all, it’s a good practice to thank them for being a reference. You can also ask if the company you interviewed with contacted them and get a feel for how the conversation went.
5. Keep Putting Yourself Out There
As I’ve said before, after the interview is over, your work is not done! Even if you’re feeling confident, it could be weeks before you hear back. If things don’t work out and you haven’t been sending out more resumes in the meantime, what a waste!
Get back to work, keep searching for your dream instructional design job, and writing resumes that will land you more interviews. If you need help tailoring your resume to instructional design jobs, check out my free ebook for tips and samples.