How to make a strong application – Part 9: What are the next steps?
In our ‘How to apply for a job’ series, we tell you everything you need to know about choosing and applying for jobs – from the question “What do I want to do?”, to the perfect job application photo, to the interview stage.
After the job interview, you cannot do much except wait and see – and send a thank you letter. Obviously, this only makes sense if the interview went well and you can imagine accepting the job. Writing a thank you letter is not yet common practice in Germany, so it gives you an extra chance to stand out from the crowd. In such a letter, you can once again emphasize how positively impressed you were by the interview and how it strengthened your desire to work for the company. This is also a chance to correct what might not have gone so well in the interview and to clarify open questions. The letter should not be longer than half a page.
Even if the position is not your absolute dream job, it is not wise to put all one’s eggs into one basket. Therefore, keep looking and applying. This increases your chances of finding a good job.
Follow-up after about two weeks
If, for example, the company agreed to get back to you in a week, at the earliest you should get back to them two weeks after the interview to inquire if they have made a decision. Some selection procedures, however, take longer. This can depend on the company’s established procedures, or because the decision maker is ill or on holiday. In such situations, it is important to not act briskly or get on their nerves. Being understanding and friendly generally leads to results faster.
Don’t get discouraged!
At some point, the company should inform you of their decision. In the best case, they invite you to come to a second interview or to sign the contract directly. In the worst case, you get a rejection. If it did not work out, don’t get frustrated! This happens to everyone. Ask them why they did not select you. This can provide valuable tips for your next application.
Some companies do not even send a rejection. If that is the case, you should follow up and make it clear that you are still interested in the job. Ask them when they expect to make a decision, imply that you are in negotiations with other companies and need to make a decision soon.
Watch out for false expectations
When you get a job offer, do not start off in the company with false expectations. During the first months – the probation period – always keep in mind that it is primarily a question of you and your employer getting to know each other. During this phase, it is not uncommon to be given tasks that may not be entirely related to your area of work. Nevertheless, it is important to show perseverance, commitment and motivation. The company is looking at how you react to your new environment. Should problems arise, talk openly with your boss or the human resources department and try to find a solution together.
3 tips from an expert:
Julia Stadler, student advisory service
- After the interview, send an email to the company and thank them for the interview. You can mention that you look forward to hearing back from them. As a dual studies student do not forget to keep your study advisor informed about how the interview went and any agreements reached.
- If the company has not followed up after one or two weeks or after the agreed upon deadline, call and ask about the status of the decision-making process, set a new “decision date” with your contact person, and possibly express your interest in doing a work trial. In any case, stay on the ball.
- Are your expectations unfulfilled? In general, as a dual studies student or trainee you are entitled to have at least 50 percent of your responsibilities as specialised tasks. If you have the impression that this is not the long-term situation, you can contact your supervisor at the company and address that. Of course, as a dual studies student your study advisor is also available to answer questions and address uncertainties.