By Amy Levin-Epstein, CBS MoneyWatch
There are few things that feel better than walking out of a job interview you think you've nailed. But just because you've answered the last question doesn't mean the evaluation process is over. From the time you stand up, to the time you get into the elevator, leave the building or walk to your car, you're still under review. Here are five things to do after you stand up. They just might be as important as the Q&A itself.
1. Engage in Conversation.
As you leave the office, continue your conversation, even if it's small talk. "You can talk about the weekend, the rest of your day, ask the interviewer about the rest of their day. But you want to show that you're poised even at this point," says Carolina Ceniza-Levine, career coach with Six Figure Start and co-author of "How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times."
2. Keep your chin up.
Regardless of how you think the interview went, leave the office with positive body language. "Exude energy and confidence until you leave the grounds. You never know who is watching you, so it pays to act the part all the way through," says Cheryl Palmer, founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm. Act like the job is as good as yours -- and it very well might be.
3. Hold your tongue.
Your cell phone should stay safely inside your bag until you leave the building. "You never know who is sharing the elevator down or walking behind you as you leave the building," says Meryl Weinsaft Cooper, co-author, "Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work." Because of that, don't start to give your friends and family the skinny on your interview performance just yet. "Wait until you are a safe distance away -- or better yet, in the privacy of your own home," says Weinsaft Cooper.
4. Ask for the next step.
Inquiring about when the interviewer expects to make a decision gives you valuable information for your job search and lets them know that you're serious about pursuing the position. "Don't act confused or insecure if you're told they're not sure. Focus on ensuring that the interviewer know how much you enjoyed the meeting him or her are looking forward to future communication. Leave on a confident note!" says Tracy Brisson, founder and CEO, The Opportunities Project, a career coaching firm for younger employees.
5. Thank the receptionist or assistant.
Interviewers may speak to the receptionist or their assistant to see if they had any first impressions of you, so leave a good one with them, too. "Make conversation [but] keep it upbeat and positive. Listen to what they are saying," says David Couper, career coach and author of "Outsiders on The Inside: How to Create A Winning Career -- Even When You Don't Fit In!" And most importantly, say thank you -- to your interviewer, the receptionist, assistant and the building security. It can't hurt to be pleasant to someone, and not doing so can be damaging.
Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including the New York Post and The Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MWOnTheJob.
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