The interview is over, everyone gets up and the interviewer is getting ready to walk you out. Don’t relax just yet – there is still plenty of room for you to make unnecessary mistakes.
If they want to have a small conversation on the way out, let them make that move. It is their territory, not yours. Walk firm; keep it to small talk in case there is a conversation on the way to the exit. Eventually point out how much you enjoyed this interview and that you are grateful for the opportunity.
When you sign out at the receptionist area, keep an eye out to see if there is another handshake opportunity coming or not. You do not want to reach out if the interview partner is not. No matter what, address the interview partner by name one more time when you say good-bye.
Once you are out of the office or building, do not waste any time. Walk straight to your car or merge into foot traffic on the street and get some distance. I know this may sound old-school, but you do not want to leave any chances open. The hiring manager might be watching you leaving. Your body language and your immediate behavior after the interview can tell a lot about your personality and how you handle stress.
I hope you are not a smoker (for health reasons), but if you do smoke, please wait until you are out of sight from the building before lighting up a cigarette. These days, hiring managers might consider this habit a weakness. Too often smokers are away from their desks standing outside of the building having a smoke. The hiring manager wants you at your desk doing actual work.
I usually walk straight to my car, take off my jacket and carefully store it in the back and then I drive off. I drive for about 5 minutes and then pick a parking lot somewhere to gather my thoughts and to take notes. I write down everything I remember after an interview. I do not want to get distracted by heavy traffic and then forget important facts.
You can tell that I do try not to leave anything up to chance. Of course, landing a job offer requires a little bit of luck, but luck should only be a small portion of the overall decision process at the hiring company. The more you can control of the entire process, the greater your chances are to be the candidate who gets the job offer. I even care about the pieces that maybe stand for 2% or 3% of the decision. Why? Because many others do not care, and maybe that extra 2% will push you over the finish line first.