Post-Interview Checklist

By Chris Kolmar
Nov. 22, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Congratulations, you successfully prepared for and completed your job interview.

While you have hit the major benchmarks of the overall job application process, your work is not done just yet. Some of the most effective interview strategies apply long after the last question is asked. You want to make sure that the great impression you made stays at the forefront of the recruiter’s mind.

It is important for job seekers to keep the momentum going by taking a few important steps after interviewing. You should have an idea of the timeframe in which you will hear back from the recruiter, and you can use this post-interview checklist as a guide while you wait.

Key Takeaways:

  • After a job interview you want to make sure to send a thank you note and also line up your references.

  • Also consider prepping for the offer and salary negotiations.

  • Thank-you emails are faster, but a physical note might add a unique touch to your interview.

  • Stay positive and give yourself time to reflect after the job interview.

Post-Interview Checklist

Post-Interview Checklist

  1. Send a thank-you note. A well-written “thank you” note serves several purposes for interviewees. First and foremost, it expresses gratitude toward the interviewer(s) that you met with.

    If you had any additional questions to ask post-interview, thank-you notes also give you an opportunity to pose your query. This is also a great chance to show that you really listened during the interview by mentioning an interesting point and adding to the conversation.

    To make writing thank-you letters easier, make sure to take notes during the interview. Also, get business cards especially if you sat with a panel or had multiple interviews throughout the day. You can send personalized notes to each person. Aim to send your thank-you note within 24 hours of the initial interview.

  2. Line up references. The next step for hiring managers after you ace your interview will likely be to check your references. References can be a crucial part of the application process, with recruiters using reference checks as a way to gauge what kind of employee you might be if hired for the position.

    After the interview, let any references that you listed know that they may receive a phone call or email from your potential employer. This way, they are less likely to dismiss the call from an unfamiliar phone number or mistake the email for spam. Give them details on the position and the name of the person that may be reaching out.

    If you were asked to submit a letter of reference or chose to include one with your application packet, you will also want to touch base with your contact in case the recruiter wants to follow-up.

  3. Prep for offer. The best-case scenario after any job interview is impressing the company and securing a job offer. Before you get to this point, it’s beneficial to have an idea of your salary requirements and what to expect from the new company.

  4. Research company in-depth. Research the employer to find out how much employees typically make. Of course, you want to focus on your job title, but it can also be helpful to research other positions as well. This provides you with a floor and ceiling for the pay scale across the company. There are plenty of job websites that allow you to review companies and salaries based on real employee reviews.

  5. Prep for salary negotiations. In a perfect world, an employer would automatically offer you thousands more than your target salary. Realistically, you may have to negotiate your salary to arrive at the number you believe you deserve.

    The best piece of job advice we can give heading into a negotiation is to have completed all of your research. Know what the average salary is for your position and how much others at the company are making in similar roles. Essentially, be a master of the job market. Then, factor in where your experience and education rank along the spectrum.

    During the actual negotiation, present a firm number and be prepared to provide justification as to why you deserve it. Zero in on how this salary is appropriate for the work you will be doing at the company while using your proven results and successes in previous roles as leverage. The main focus should be on why you deserve the salary in your new role.

  6. Connect on LinkedIn. This goes back to the importance of taking notes and gathering names throughout the application process. A few days after your interview, you should add the recruiter and/or interviewer on LinkedIn. This is an excellent way to keep your name in front of the interviewer, while also expanding your professional network.

    If you want to make the request feel less abrupt, you can ask about connecting on LinkedIn at the end of your interview. It also helps to add a personalized note with your request rather than a generic follow; briefly mention a talking point or shared interest that was discussed during the interview.

  7. Ask for feedback. Feedback can be one of the most valuable takeaways from an interview. Of course, the goal is to land the gig. But in case you don’t, there is always something to be learned. You should ask for feedback in either scenario, as the recruiter can share tips that could help you along your job search or tips that can help you better adjust in your new position.

  8. Keep searching for jobs. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have a strong feeling that you will get the job offer, it is wise to continue applying to other positions.

    You never know if a vacancy will unexpectedly close due to last-minute staffing changes. You also might find a position that better aligns with your professional goals. Continue your job search and explore additional opportunities that may offer you more than expected.

How To Send a Thank-You Note

After an interview, you have the option to send a thank-you note one of two ways, by email or by written note. Both are acceptable, but email is more common and faster.

  1. Email note. An email note is the most common way to send a thank-you due to the overall convenience. Fast and effective, the interviewee can read and respond at their leisure. It also allows you to easily attach additional documents or hyperlinks if needed.

    Hi Ms. Johnson,

    I just wanted to follow-up and thank you for the opportunity to interview today! It was great learning more about your journey with Writer’s Core Inc. and a bit more about the tools that are utilized.

    I did have one other question to ask regarding the editing test that we discussed today. Did you have any suggestions on how to improve my submission? Were there any crucial edits that I missed or ways to help me better align with the editorial process in place at Writer’s Core Inc.?

    I am always looking for ways to improve my own process and grow professionally, so your input would be very valuable. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Best Regards,
    Erika Marinelli

  2. Written note. While an email may arrive more expediently, a handwritten note may leave a longer-lasting impression. While a thank-you note is valuable no matter the delivery method, a traditional letter can help you stand out from other candidates.

    The content of the letter will be the same as the email, however, you will also include your contact information and the recipient’s contact information on the envelope plus the current date at the top of the letter.

    To get around the delivery time, it may be possible to write the letter immediately following the interview. In that case, you can hand the enveloped and addressed letter to the receptionist to inter-office to the appropriate person. You will need to be prepared by bringing stationary to the job interview if you choose this method.

How To Get References Lined Up

It is important to be proactive about your references and be prepared before the interview. You want to be ready to give out your references as soon as possible. However, usually it is after the interview when you will actually need to prepare to send them to your potential employer.

  1. How to ask for a letter of recommendation. If you are wondering how to ask for a letter of recommendation, it is not as hard or intimidating as some might believe. When you start by considering who to ask, the rest of the process is simple. Choose someone that you have a professional relationship with that will speak to your strengths, knows your work habits, and will tell the potential employer what makes you a worthy candidate.

    Your references should be people you trust and know will present you in the best light possible, making the actual ask the easiest step to take. If you see the person frequently, you might ask in person.

    Otherwise, give them a call and explain that you are in the job market and believe it would be beneficial if they wrote a recommendation letter. Give them the highlights of what you need to be covered within the letter, which gives them more direction.

    A description of the position along with an updated copy of your resume will ensure that the reference is well equipped to write your letter.

    Just always ask for the letter at least two weeks before you need it. You want to give the reference enough time to write the recommendation without feeling rushed.

  2. How to ask for a letter of recommendation email. Instead of asking in person or via phone call, you can request a letter of recommendation over email. This method allows you to breakdown your request in an easy to follow format while including all of the necessary details.

    You should include a clear and direct subject line that states your intent (letter of recommendation) and name. From there, state who you are and your relationship to the requestee. Being that you may not have as close of a relationship to this person, include details of an accomplishment or highlight during the time you worked together.

    The next section of your email should be the formal request for the recommendation, along with why you chose this person in particular. Then disclose details of the position that you are applying for and why you believe you are a good fit. Tie this into how their specific input on your achievements could assist with securing the job.

    Close the email by thanking them for their consideration in writing your recommendation letter. There is no way to guarantee a “yes”, but if your contact does agree to write your letter make sure to follow-up with them throughout the timeline you provided.

Post-Interview Tips

Interviews are challenging. It is hard enough to get an interview, let alone go through one. However with proper preparation, you can give it your best. Don’t take for granted that the post-interview time frame is just as challenging.

Along with the steps listed above, consider the following to help you make the most of your time after a job interview.

  • Be kind to yourself. First off, be your cheerleader. You did it! Regardless of how you did, you got the interview and made the most of it. You may be feeling all sorts of emotions. Be mindful of them and don’t be yourself up too hard if you find had any issues. If it was a particularly challenging interview, reward yourself with something like a nice dinner.

  • Stay positive. It is easy to focus on the negative, especially if you are anxious about an important result like a job interview. Keep your spirits up by re-framing your perspective and focus on the good that you see. Have a sense of humor and be optimistic.

  • Reflect. While being positive, also be honest with yourself. Keep your expectations realistic by reflecting on your interview and consider how you think you did. Also, reflect on the job. Job interviews are two-way streets, and you should have had a conversation with your employer to learn more about the position. Consider what you learned and if it is the right job for you.

  • Be patient. Some companies take a long time before making a decision. If you don’t hear back right away, do not consider it a failure.

  • Have a growth mindset. You always have the potential to grow and change yourself. Re-frame the challenges of a job interview as opportunities for growth so that regardless of the outcome you have something to gain from the experience.

Combined with the checklist these tips can ensure you do the best you can when you leave the interview.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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