You thought the worst part was over. You sweated through the interview, overcoming the social and professional pressure of selling yourself to strangers (and you did a pretty good job too, in your humble opinion).

But something worse is on the way: the wait. Once the interview ends, you’re left in limbo as the powers that be make their final hiring decision.

What can you do now? Not much. The decision is out of your hands at this point. But you should follow up on your interview, in order to stay informed about the decision-making process and to build relationships. However, these efforts can easily slide into the “stalking zone,” actually hurting your chances of getting the job in question.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here are the key steps to following up the right way:

Say “Thanks”

Sending a “thank-you” email provides an excellent opportunity to establish contact directly with decision makers.

When writing your “thank you,” keep it short. Try to include something specific from the interview to make it personal. But don’t try too hard to be funny or overly friendly. The tone should remain professional.

Be Cool, but Not Casual

Tone is a key consideration for all your post-interview communications.

First, take a cue from the responses you get. If they get chatty, feel free to get a little chatty. But let them take the lead. Second, at all costs, don’t slip into desperation. Get pushy or defensive (or combative) and you’ve probably sunk your chances.

Give Them Time

Be patient. Corporate gears churn slowly sometimes. Multiple people have to be consulted, permissions have to be granted. If someone’s on vacation or gets busy on an emergency elsewhere, everything can get delayed.

Stay calm. If you start barraging your interviewers with questions, you won’t help your cause.

Check in Politely

While keeping in mind the hiring process might take some time, it’s acceptable to check in now and then. You want to politely find out if a timeline for a decision has been set.

You might also get in contact with your interviewer if your circumstances change. If you get another job offer, for instance, let them know. It likely won’t matter, but you want to give them the chance to make a counteroffer if they’re really interested.

Stay Positive

No matter how long they keep you waiting, no matter how terse their communication gets, don’t turn negative. That holds even if they turn you down. Don’t take rejection as an excuse to send an “I never wanted your stupid job anyway” email.

Even if this position goes to someone else, another job could open up at the same company at some point in the future. You want to keep all doors open. So, stay upbeat and polite.

Build a Relationship

If the company goes with someone else for the position, it’s certainly disappointing. But that’s not necessarily the end of the process.

Think of the post-interview process in the same vein as networking. Do what you can to maintain a relationship. Ask if you can make a connection on LinkedIn. Check in from time to time to see if any new positions have opened up. Also, offer your services for contract work. You never know what opportunities will materialize in the future.

Finding a job is filled with tense and aggravating waiting spells. Partnering with a recruiter can make the transition more tenable. A top staffing firm, like SmartTalent, will place you with the best positions, keeping your career moving forward.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.