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10 Things to Do When You Get the Silent Treatment After a Job Interview

Job interviews can be a lot like blind dates. You walk out of an awesome date thinking that this person is THE one. You've never felt more confident about anything in your life. Then, a couple of days turns into a week without you hearing back from that person, and you find yourself in a dumbfounded, anxiety-ridden tailspin, because you swore it was meant to be. The only thing you can do now is regain composure and figure out how to make sense of all this. Here are a few things to consider so that you can move on from this situation with more confidence and clarity, regardless of the outcome.

Job interviews can be a lot like blind dates. You walk out of an awesome date thinking that this person is THE one. You’ve never felt more confident about anything in your life. Then, a couple of days turns into a week without you hearing back from that person, and you find yourself in a dumbfounded, anxiety-ridden tailspin, because you swore it was meant to be. The only thing you can do now is regain composure and figure out how to make sense of all this. Here are a few things to consider so that you can move on from this situation with more confidence and clarity, regardless of the outcome.

Here's what to do when you don't hear back after an interview

(Photo Credit: Jamie/Flickr)

1. Don’t Freak Out: It’s probably too late for that now, but lest you need a reminder, freaking out isn’t going to help much here. What’s done is done, so the best thing you can do is accept that you cannot change the past. Once you stop beating yourself up about the “should have, could have, would have” possibilities, you can move forward with a clearer perspective on the situation.

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2. Have Patience: Keep in mind that you were probably not the only candidate being considered for the position, so if you haven’t heard back from the employer, then be patient, because they’re probably busy getting through interviews. Another important thing to remember is that filling the job opening may not be a huge priority for the employer, so be considerate of the fact that there is work to be done other than hiring a new employee.

3. Have Confidence: It’s easy to get bent out of shape when a potential employer stands you up, so to speak. The last thing you want to do is start questioning your abilities or doubting yourself, because one employer isn’t the end-all to your hope for career success. Have confidence that a trusty, reputable employer will get back to you in a timely manner, whether the news is good or bad. If an employer doesn’t have the decency to get back to candidates on their final decision, then it’s probably not a company you want to work for anyway.

4. Do a Postmortem on Your Interview Prep. Did you do these five things, before you went into your interview? If not, start planning now for your next one.

5. Did You Ask the Interviewer These 9 Important Questions?

6. Did You Manage to Avoid These 7 Things?

7. Did You Remember to Close? Candidates often forget that interviews are much like sales pitches, except they are the product/service being sold. You can do all the research and preparation you want for the interview, but you probably won’t be awarded the job if you can’t effectively close the deal. Learn how to close an interview in this post.

8. Did You Say Thank You? It’s always customary to thank your interviewer(s) when the meeting is over and shortly afterwards in a formal email or handwritten note. This is a considerate way of thanking the individuals for taking the time out to meet with you and consider your candidacy. It also facilitates communication between you and the employer and indicates that you await a response from them in due time. The thank-you should be sent immediately after the interview and should “be as professional as you were during your job interview,” says About.com’s Alison Doyle. Don’t wear out your welcome by pestering the hiring manager over and over – that’s a great way to nix yourself from the list for good.

9. Were You Qualified for the Job? If you feel you were either under- or overqualified for the job, then there’s probably a chance that the employer is looking at other options, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a consideration. If you don’t feel quite qualified for a job but have an interview secured already, then here are some great tips boost your candidacy and your confidence. Chances are, you were qualified enough to make it to the interview stage, so trust that you did your best and will just need to patiently await a response from the employer.

10. Know When to Fold ‘Em: You may have left the interview feeling like you could have done something better or answered questions differently, but again, that’s in the past and you can’t do much about it.

You can also use the thank-you note to clarify or expand on your answers, but after you send it off, it needs to end there. If a couple weeks go by without you hearing back about the final decision, then you can send a follow up to your follow-up message requesting an update. However, if you fail to get a response thereafter, it’s best to let bygones be bygones and seek out the next opportunity. Consider that interview as a practice run for your next interview and see if there’s anything you have learned about the process and yourself when it’s all said and done.

At the end of the day, you have to trust that you put your best foot forward. If you don’t get the job, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and there’s a more promising opportunity waiting for you around the corner. Whatever you do, don’t get down on yourself and make a mountain out of a molehill, because that will only hold you back and do more damage. Take every opportunity to interview as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and a company, because you will start to see what you want and don’t want in an employer over time. Chin up and take a deep breath. The right opportunity will make its way to you at the right time. 

Tell Us What You Think Have you been tortured with the silent treatment after an interview, but ended up getting the job after all? Head over to Twitter to share your story and let us know how long you waited before getting “the call.” 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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