When you land a job interview, it means someone believes you have great potential to fill an important role at a company. But although it's a big step, getting through the in-person interview does not mean you will get the job offer.
In fact, how you conduct yourself after an interview can greatly impact the next steps in the hiring process. In 2015, an Illinois man lost a job offer after texting nude photos of himself to the HR director he'd interviewed with. Even though the photos were intended for another recipient and not meant to go to the man's new employer, the damage was done, and the job offer was rescinded.
Even if you know better than to accidentally send nude photos, there are still many ways in which you can lose the chance at a new position. Felicite Moorman, CEO of BuLogics and StratIS EMS, told Business News Daily about an applicant who was impressive during the interview but ultimately didn't get the job because of her obsession with cats.
"When [I] asked what she did for fun, or what hobbies she might like to share, she responded, 'I am fond of cats,' and we ended on a note that led me to believe I'd be making an offer after our round of interviews were complete," Moorman said.
"The next day, I received the first of several cat-related faxes," Moorman continued. "The cat faxing continued, with notes signed 'The Crazy Cat Lady,' to the point that I declined to make an offer, instead of sending a 'thank you for interviewing' letter. The last fax [I received asked], 'Was it the cats?' It might have been the cats." [See Related Story: The No. 1 Thing to Avoid Doing in a Job Interview]
So what other mistakes should you avoid the next time you leave a job interview? Here's what several business owners and experts had to say.
1. Don't follow up too much.
Even if you're not following up with cat faxes, if you're doing so too much, you're going to turn off the hiring manager.
"Candidates should ask, 'When do you expect to make a decision?', follow up and then ask, 'When would it be appropriate to follow up again?" said Jennifer Akoma, vice president of human resources at Airfoil Group, a marketing and public relations company. "We had one candidate [who] … used an organization that many of our employees were involved with to get their internal emails and phone numbers. Their guerilla tactics ended up leaving a huge negative impression on me and many members of our staff."
2. Don't add the interviewer on social media.
Social media is a great tool for marketing or showing your personality. It's not good for socializing with a potential hiring manager.
"[One mistake is] asking to connect on LinkedIn with a hiring manager or one of the interviewers as soon as the interview is over," said Richard Orbé-Austin, career coach and partner at Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting. "This request may seem too presumptuous and be a turnoff to the hiring manager or interviewer."
Not to mention, people tend to post personal thoughts and feelings on social media sites. It's best not to post anything you wouldn't mind an employer or potential employer seeing, Time reported.
3. Don't change your salary expectations.
Mike Astringer, director of talent at Alliance Life Sciences, noted that HR professionals interview candidates based partly on their initial compensation expectations. "We [need to] know that they fit into our overall compensation range," he said. "All too often, a candidate will interview for a job, become overconfident [and] then dramatically increase their compensation expectations."
Astringer said he makes an offer to a candidate based on those salary expectations and that candidates should avoid greatly increasing their expectations at the final hour.
"It makes the candidate look bad," he said. "It makes me look bad, and it wastes everyone's time."
4. Don't act like you already have the job.
Until you have the official job offer, you don't have the job. The worst thing a potential employee can do post-interview is to email or call the hiring manager as if he or she were already hired, said Jasmine Elias, senior social campaign manager at Sensis, an ad agency.
"At [that] point, I'm either still interviewing other candidates or finalizing the role to fit the person, but that doesn't mean they have it yet," Elias said. "It's not a smart thing to do, because while they may think it shows them being confident, they come off as cocky or arrogant."
What happens if you mess up?
Mistakes happen. If you handle them quickly and gracefully, you may recover.
"I haven't had anyone recover [from a mistake], but I also haven't had anyone try," Akoma said. "For example, if someone noticed an error on their thank-you letter and owned up to it quickly, I think I would still consider them. It shows accountability and willingness to admit and correct a mistake."
But no matter what happens following a mistake, don't burn bridges.
"If you don't get the particular position, you always send a gracious follow-up to the hiring managers and/or the HR person expressing interest in future opportunities," Akoma added. "It will make a good impression and could get you considered for other opportunities."
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan (Helmrich). Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.