What is the right protocol after a job interview?

Post job interviews can take a considerable amount of time.

Picture this scene. You have just finished a great job interview, showcasing your various skills and knowledge to advance your case for employment. After shaking hands with the recruiters or managers, you walk to the lift and exit the building.

However, with a promise of "letting you know the result in due course" ringing in your ears, some people can get anxious about the process. What happens if they don't ring me? How long do I wait until I contact them?

For many Auckland Institute of Studies students, this is a familiar situation as they supplement their education with part- or full-time work. While it doesn't have to relate to their course at AIS, holding a job in a foreign country can help socially as well as support you financially.

With this in mind, here is our guide to handling the process after a job interview.

Follow up with a thank you message

Following up an interview with a 'thank you' email is recommended. Following up an interview with a 'thank you' email is recommended.

Much of the argument around the right steps after a job interview involves whether or not to contact the employer again. While we will address this point later in the article, both sides of this conversation agree that a thank you message is vital.

According to a 2014 Forbes article, it is best to send this message via email within 24 hours of the interview. It doesn't have to be complex, just explaining that you appreciate them taking time out of their day to speak to you, and look forward to future communication.

As an added bonus, the article noted that candidates could reference a topic from their interview. As well as reminding them of your interview, it could further reinforce your suitability for the role.

Manners and politeness can go a long way in recruitment so make sure that employers see how much you appreciated the opportunity.

Respect the process

At the end of a job interview, the recruiter should let you know what their plans are. For example, they could have other candidates to interview or they might be going on holiday which might delay the process. Understanding these time frames is vital as you want show enthusiasm and desire, but you don't want to come across desperate or simply annoying.

If someone has said that the process will take three weeks, respect that window and wait three weeks before reaching out again. Of course, it will help to have the particular recruiter or manager's contact details on hand so you can reach out to the right person.

Take the hint

While it is obviously disappointing, not all job interviews lead to an offer. In some cases, a recruiter or employer won't contact unsuccessful candidates – meaning that you might get left in the dark or reaching out with no return call. If you find yourself in this situation, it's best to take the hint and continue your search elsewhere.

Additionally, no good will come from continuing to try and contact the business as this will only harm your own credentials. You may cross paths with these individuals again during your career so don't burn your bridges.

Keep applying for jobs

Keep searching for other jobs during the waiting process.Keep searching for other jobs during the waiting process.

Finding a job is a fluid process. Until you get an offer on the table, make sure you keep searching for positions.

In fact, having applications in more than one place could help you after a job interview as leverage. According to recruitment specialists, you can explain to prospective employers that you have other offers in progress – potentially speeding up their own process. Of course, this shouldn't be an ultimatum, just a polite way of informing them of your efforts thus far.

If you would like assistance finding and securing a job in New Zealand, be sure to visit the Student Careers Centre for more information.