After the Interview: Anxious, Doubting My Answers and Not Sure What to Do!

Dear Work Coach,

While searching for advice on post interviewing tips from a search engine, I came across your website. I read through all the posts from recent job interviewees, and I find that I’m sharing similar experiences with most of them. I’m glad I found your site as it now acts as a “support group” for me.

I’m currently going through what most interviewees are going through… the excruciating, long period of waiting on a “call back” or “hear back” from a company I interviewed with. About 3 weeks ago, I interviewed with a mid size regional bank (approx. 86 branches throughout the state) for a position in their marketing department. I went through the phone interviewing process, the first round of interviews set up by HR, and made it to the second round to see the Senior VP of corporate marketing. I prepared long and hard for this second interview, because this position (event marketing) is what I have been dreaming to work for, and the company’s philosophy and values make it an outstanding environment for any employees seeking job opportunities in this field.

Well, my dilemma is… I have doubts about my answers to the Senior VP’s interview questions. After the interview, I realized that I could have answered the questions more appropriately this way…and that way…and why I shouldn’t have responded to certain questions this way… etc…etc… (I felt like I haven’t showed my full potential of proving that I am the right candidate for this job…)

The interview lasted approx. 40 mins. The first 30 mins or so was structured by asking questions like what I had done at my previous company, what I was involved in, to… What I see myself doing in 3-5 years… then I asked him what the day to day duties are for the job, and he explained in full detail about the job duties, showed me what the previous person had done (i.e. projects she had worked on before she left the company), and he even went into great detail on the structure of his group. (what everyone’s position is, and their duties…)

He explained that most people have worked there for at least 5 years, and the person who left this position I was interviewing for, had to leave because her husband is relocating to another city… then he moved on to ask more personal questions like my hobbies… what I like to do on my spare time, what my interest is in… and how I keep myself busy in the mean time (I’ve been out of a job since this Jan). That was the last 10 mins of the interview… I couldn’t “feel” if he was impressed with me or not, because I couldn’t see any signs of whether he likes me or not…

The interview came to an end when he said he would make a decision within 2 weeks time. He said by then, he would narrow down to 1 to 2 final candidates to see the President of the company and the marketing group, so the group can choose the candidate for the position. Then he handed me his business card and let me know if there are any questions in the mean time, to contact him. I asked whether it was ok to follow up with him a week after the interview, he said that’s ok, or someone would contact me.

Then we proceeded to walk me out of his office. We passed by other offices, and he introduced me to all the people in his group. I shook hands with all of them, and greeted them warmly. Then he accompanied me to the door and we said good bye.

That was last Tuesday. Today is Wednesday. One week and a day had passed. I am pulling my hair out… I hate waiting. Should I write an email to him asking where it is in his decision-making process, or should I write to the original recruiter (the HR whom I was first contacted, and who conducted the phone interview, and the first in-person interview with me)? Or… should I wait till next Tuesday before doing any follow ups (next Tues is exactly two weeks that the VP indicated on the time frame)..?

I have to mention that I did email him right after the interview (4 hrs after the interview) thanking him for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with me, and emphasized on some strengths and thoughts I didn’t or forgot to mention during the interview.

I appreciate any candid advice from you. I apologize for the lengthy email… If you have any questions, please feel free to ask by emailing back. I might have some thoughts I left out from above.

Thank you so much!!! I’m anxious to hear back from you soon.

CK

***

Dear CK,

First of all…from what you tell me, it sounds like you had an excellent interview and made all the right moves. Congratulations on that. And I like that you gave him a next step, in this case asking him if it was ok to follow up with him. And he said yes (or someone would contact you).

So, since you were gutsy enough to say that, I think your best bet is to go ahead and e-mail him. There’s no downside under the circumstances. All you have to say is something like “As promised, I’m following up on our interview (this shows you have follow-through). I just want to let you know I’m still very interested and hope to be one of the finalists for this exciting position.” Use your own words of course; I just threw those together. But you get the idea. Keep it short and polite. At the very least, he knows you’re a woman of your word and not afraid to pursue your dreams.

FYI: Right out of grad school, I interviewed with an SVP of a major bank and got the offer. He called me “pleasantly aggressive”. I’ve never forgotten that.

As for worrying about how you answered the questions… Were my answers right? Could I have been better? Should I go back and beg him to let me answer again??? 🙂 Please let all that go now. He wouldn’t have talked to you as long as he did and introduced you around if he weren’t at least pretty interested. I’m sure you did fine. The secret from the interviewer’s side is most of us don’t really care exactly what you’re saying…we just want to get to know you and see how you think and connect with people. Especially for a marketing events person in banking, your personality, follow through, and attention to detail are more important than your exact answers.

So, if you think it’s the right thing to do…send him that e-mail. And then wait. (I know. Easy for me to say. 🙂 ) Everything seems to be on track. And don’t worry about an SVP’s promise to get back to you in a week. While you remember every word that passed between you, they are extremely busy and he may have forgotten those words. (It’s kind of like dating.) But that doesn’t mean you are out of the running. And now, when he gets your e-mail, he will at least remember who you are!

After that, try your best to relax. Believe in yourself. Know that you did your best. And wait until they get back to you. (Unless it’s been two more weeks. Then you might want to contact the HR person.)

These things really do take more time than we wish. What seems so long to you is just a blink of an eye to them.

Good luck, CK! I truly hope you’re one of the finalists. Please let us know how it goes.

Ronnie Ann

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. Dear Ronnie Ann,

    Thank you for the encouraging words! I will email him today. Let’s see what happens… I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

    Will definitely let you know how things go as soon as updates become available.

    Cheers,
    CK

  2. Dear Ronnie Ann,

    I just checked the company’s website. They are re-posting the same position I have applied for. What does that mean? Do I still have a chance?

    I’m still keeping my fingers crossed, and my spirits high…. Please wish me best of luck!!

    Sincerely,

    CK

  3. Hi CK!

    Well…to be honest…I don’t like that they re-posted the position. While it’s not always what it seems, it can very well mean that they feel they haven’t found the right candidate yet. But then again, they may still want to keep you as a possibility. I can’t say for sure.

    All the more reason for you to send that e-mail today as if you never saw the re-posting. Keep it positive and make an extra effort to strengthen your case by emphasizing your determination and follow-through and how much you enjoyed meeting him. You never know when a small gesture like that can make a difference.

    You aren’t out of the running yet, but if they do turn you down, use that as an opportunity to let them know you are still very interested in them. And maybe follow up in a month or two…just in case they are still looking and might reconsider.

    But as of now since we know nothing for sure, so I will keep my fingers crossed. Anything is still possible. I wish you MUCH luck, CK! May the right job come your way…and if you don’t get this one, well maybe it wasn’t right for you after all. I think you sound great and some employer will be very lucky to get you.

    Fingers crossed. Good luck!!!

    Ronnie Ann

  4. Ronnie Ann,

    I wrote the email early this morning to the SVP, before I even found out the re-posting of the same position. I re-iterated my interest in working for the company, and how I am a good fit for them.

    As soon as I found out the re-posting, I called the original recruiter and left her a VM to call back… not sure if it was a right thing to do, but this is just driving me nuts! The msg basically reminded her who I was (I was the first candidate she interviewed, and she commented on that in our meeting), and I told her I saw a re-posting of the same position I applied for, and if that meant that the position is still open? I also asked if she could tell me what the status is… in the decision making process for this position… and that I’m still very interested… and if she could call me back at this number….

    I’m going to leave it at this. If this comes, this comes… if not, I will be pursuing other opportunities. But… I always think this way: “if you think you can, you can”…

    Thanks for the encouragement and the advice. I hope to keep my spirits high….

    Cheers,
    CK

  5. Just keep applying for other jobs. It keeps the wait from the previous interview less excruciating. Look forward to the next interview 🙂

  6. Love your advice, Mr. X. Right on!

    And CK…contacting the recruiter was totally fine. Nothing lost by that. Wasn’t sure that was something you felt comfortable doing, but it certainly shows them you are pleasantly aggressive. 😉 And this way at least you find out one way or the other (hopefully) and end the torture!

    I repeat…you sound great! You and Mr. X are right. There’s more than one job out there for you. Go pursue other opportunities – and should anything still come of this…well, that will simply be a nice surprise. If not, you’ve moved on anyway!

    As for your words “If you think you can, you can”… Wonderful philosophy! Even if at times you actually don’t get to the exact goal you’ve set, this kind of thinking gets you further than you would have gotten otherwise. And it may open doors you never even imagined. Hard to get to your dreams with “I think I can’t. I think I can’t.” 😉

    Good luck. Please let us know what happens.

    Ronnie Ann

  7. A quick update. I was not chosen to move to the final round. It’s a sad feeling… especially when I have such high hopes for the job, and I like the culture/philosophy of the company…

    I will continue to pursue my opportunities, and I won’t let this affect me.

    Thanks for the support!

    CK

  8. Hi Cynthia!

    Oh…I’m so sorry to read that you didn’t get the job – but at least it wasn’t a total surprise. Glad you’re taking the positive road. I try not to worry about what I didn’t get; better to use that energy setting your sights on the next one!

    The best thing you can do right now is gear yourself up for finding an even better job. As good as that one sounded, there are other good ones out there. And don’t forget to network if at all possible.

    Good luck. Please let us know how it’s going.

    Ronnie Ann

  9. Hello All,

    I am going through a rough patch lately( I mean that is what it feels like)

    First time in my life, I have failed 14 job interviews in a year 2016 and still no job. so it has been a year and 14 interviews.

    Lately, my health is deteriorated. I am stressed out. After third interview that I failed, I started preparing, writing my notes, recording my interview mock-up to see where I go wrong. But still no luck.

    Partially, I do admit that I was not bad as such based on the feedback but it left me anxious, worried and depressed.

    some feedback was not straight. they just said, no match.
    some said, internally they filled in the position.

    some said, experience is not match( weird? in the second round of interview they felt so?)

    while some interviews, interviewer were stupid I felt , like asking me totally different questions far away from the actual requirement.

    so all in alll, I am heart broken. specially for the jobs where there was no feedback or rather no courtesy by these people who interviewed me to let me know what they felt.

    Now a days, I am all filled with negativity. I used to be so happy, positive but this kind of experience in my life for the first time( 14 interview failed) making me very nervous.

    I keep on doubting my skills, i miss to share my experience, I forget the things that I should have shared.
    Initially, I thought recording my interviews would help me, but its affecting me in different way.
    Moment i give interview, go home and check my recordings and keep on grudging like,
    Oh, I knew this,
    Oh, I sounded nervous.
    Oh, I missed the key experience.

    I made to listen to my closed-ones for their tips but they find it is ok. But I keep doubting and thinking about the failure and that is what happens in the end.

    No amount of positive thinking is happening. I keep on tossing the thoughts, I made this mistake, or that one person didn’t sound happy after my answer.

    I had endoscopy done due to acidity, indigestion. stress and sleepless nights is affecting me.
    I take sleeping pills but still no use.
    I try to close my eyes and do meditation but nothing works. Those scary thoughts keeps popping and then I cant continue.

    Please help me, how should I reduce my anxiety?

    what ways I can relax post interview?

    what should I do to know where I go wrong?

    This jobless situation is killing me. I need to pay bills and my savings are getting over…..

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Nancy!

      SO sorry to hear what you are going through! You ARE NOT ALONE in having a very tough job search, not getting good feedback or any feedback at all. Don’t spend a ton of time in self-analysis, because the likelihood that you are causing problems is probably low.

      My biggest recommendation to you is to find a job club or job search support group to attend. You need to see with your own eyes that you are NOT the only smart, capable person who is having a tough job search! Job search becomes tougher when you are unemployed, unfortunately.

      Attending a job club will expand your network — essential for a successful job search — and will also raise your confidence! Find them at your local public library, local places of worship, MeetUp.com, and even the bulletin board at your favorite Panera Bread or local grocery store.

      Please ATTEND THESE MEETINGS! Go to more than one. Help other job seekers, and accept help from them. Usually these groups are led by a career or job search professional who can offer solid advice.

      Take good care of yourself, and stay in touch!

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

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