We can sure learn a lot from a show that was about nothing. In Seinfeld's 9 seasons, Jason Alexander's George Costanza held many jobs, including sitcom writer, manuscript reader, hand model and real estate agent. George is what we might refer to as a Job Hopper. Having so many jobs means George went on a lot of interviews, with varying results of success.
In season 5, George interviews with Sanalac, a rest stop supply company. We were not witness to the beginning of the interview, but George must have made a good impression on the interviewer, Mr. Tuttle. The rapport between the two seems very good, as Mr. Tuttle tells George that he's "very quick" and that George understands "everything immediately".
This is where the interview takes a turn, and we get George's key interview mistake.
Mr. Tuttle starts to tell George "I want you to have this job, of course...", when he is interrupted by an important phone call. This leaves George unsure of where he stands, and what was to follow the "of course" part of Mr. Tuttle's sentence. To complicate things, Mr. Tuttle has gone on vacation. George is scared to just assume one way or the other because Mr. Tuttle explicitly said that he liked how George understood everything immediately.
What should George have done?
You should always follow-up an interview with a note thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to speak about the position. This is a nice gesture, and is another way to further explain your qualifications and how excited you are about the opportunity. George did not have the access to email that we do nowadays, but a handwritten note would have been a good move as well.
If you have any questions, make sure to ask them. Mr. Tuttle did have to take that call, but George could have followed up with a phone call later in the day, simply to thank him for taking time to interview him, and maybe discussing the opportunity further. We don't know if pay, benefits, or hours were discussed, so George could have used any of these questions as a way to clarify his situation.
Mr. Tuttle also made some mistakes as a hiring manager when it came to George. First, the problem with George not knowing whether he was hired or not. It ends up that George was hired, but when he showed up, no one in the office knew about the hiring. He was placed in a random office and given a random assignment (the Penske file).
George had no clue what he was supposed to do so he...did nothing. For a solid week. This is where having a great onboarding guide for new employees comes in handy. When Mr. Tuttle returned from vacation, he saw that George had done nothing for a week. The two got into a confrontation and George quit, thinking he had a job lined up with Mr. Penske of the Penske file. Turned out there was a similar confusion in George's talk with Penske, as there was in George's initial interview, and there was no job at Penske.
By following up after his interview and avoiding a few key interview mistakes, George could have clarified his employment situation with Sanalac.