One of the hardest things about job search is the time you spend waiting AFTER a job interview. Sure, the interview itself can be nerve-wracking. Still, at least you’re in there fighting for yourself during the interview. But once it’s over, you’re in the hands of fate — and the all-powerful hiring team.
As I well remember, each day of waiting can feel like a year. So what do you do while waiting to hear back? Here are a few suggestions to help get you through with at least some of your sanity still intact!
While waiting after a job interview
1. Keep looking for jobs! No matter how great this one job is, it helps to keep the energy aimed at finding work you really want. Sometimes an even better job comes along during this time.
2. At the most basic level, try daily breathing exercises. A good one suggested by Dr. Andrew Weil is to breathe in to a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 8. I do it, and it helps.
3. Take up a new hobby — something you’ve always wanted to try. Yoga. Meditation. Tai chi. Tae kwon do. Knitting. Painting. Photography. Guitar. Acting. Whatever piques your interest or moves your spirit.
4. Rent LOTS of movies and re-direct your obsessive behavior in that direction. Not sure a therapist would suggest that, but I’m just trying to get you through the interview process. (To keep costs down, you can always join NetFlix for a month or two and then stop.)
5. Go to the library or local bookstore (online too), and find a bunch of books you’ve been meaning to read. Learn something new that may be relevant to the job you want. This is the time.
6. Volunteer somewhere. Turn your energy into something that helps others. Also good for your resume. Or, if needed, your next interview.
But wait … there’s more!
7. Enlist the help of your friends and loved ones. Make sure you get them to do things with you that keep your mind occupied.
8. Also try putting your extra energy into doing things for people you care about. Hard to stay too obsessed about the interview when you’re doing something wonderful for a loved one.
9. Write about your thoughts and feelings. And let your thoughts fly. Maybe you can write a short story about a character going through what you’re going through. Maybe even give the protagonist super-powers to break through barriers and make things happen. Or you can even turn your story into a great country or blues song! “I’m waiting too long. They done me wrong.”
10. Exercise. Even if it’s only walking 10-20 minutes a day. Movement is good for helping break you out of obsessive thoughts. Maybe even use that time to think about positive things. Something you like to do or someone you love or a place you would like to visit. (No … not the office where you interviewed. Sheesh.)
11. Singing while exercising or even on its own helps you redirect your thoughts. For me … it’s show tunes or good ole rock ‘n roll.
12. If all else fails, I use bad TV to get lost in. Oh sure … it’s not the optimal prescription for mental health. But we’re just talking about making it through the interview process. Sanity above all!
Good luck. Please let us know what happens. And how you manage to get yourself through the awful time waiting after a job interview.
~ Ronnie Ann
[Post updated in 2020]
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About the author…
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work To the Wise and 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, as well as her many adventures as a serial job seeker.