Five things to do before leaving your job interview

Before you walk out the door after interviewing with a potential employer, make sure you have made the most of the opportunity. There are some crucial steps that many people overlook that can have a significant impact on your career success and happiness.

Make sure you do these five things at your interview.

Ask questions. The job interview will almost certainly end with the employer asking you if you have any questions for them. (And even if it doesn’t, you should ask some anyway.) What is the workplace culture like, what are the biggest challenges of the role, what would a successful first few months on the job look like?

There are probably things you would like to know more about – and this is your chance to find out. Asking questions will also help your candidacy. Employers are more impressed with applicants who ask smart questions about the job than with those who don’t.

Thank the interviewer. Make sure that you express your appreciation to the employer for taking the time to meet with you and consider your qualifications. No matter how the interview went or how it turns out, you want to be courteous and professional. Thank them for offering you the opportunity to come in and discuss potential employment.

Get the contact information of everyone you’ve met. It is polite – and good strategy – to send a thank you note to each person who participated in evaluating your candidacy. So, if you interview with more than one person, make sure that you get the contact information from each of them so that you can thank them for their consideration.

Scope out the workplace. Sure, you researched the company, read their website, looked them up online and social media. There’s still a great deal of information you can only get from seeing the environment in person. How is the layout, the décor, the atmosphere? Does it seem like a place where you would be happy to spend from eight to ten hours a day? Do the current employees seem happy and upbeat? Can you hear banter, conversations, laughter? Is it casual or formal? Private workspaces or open concept? If you are offered the job and you accept it, this will become a major part of your life. Find out as much as you can while you’re there to make an informed decision.

Evaluate the commute. Similarly, calculate how long it took you to travel to the workplace. Would the drive or transit connections be realistic as part of your daily routine? Remember that while the trip to the interview might not have been during rush hour, your commute to work most likely will be. The time spent and stress levels from a brutal commute can take a serious toll on your quality of life. Pay attention to your trip to the interview and make sure it’s a journey you’d be willing to make on a daily basis.

You’ll increase your chances of landing the job by asking insightful questions about the role and following up with a courteous, professional thank you email. Evaluating the workplace and the commute will help you decide if you actually want the job at all and what you might want to negotiate for in your contract. Working environment, scheduling, potential for telecommuting, and more might be on the table.

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