Sunday, November 13, 2016

How to Close the Interview

One of the most basic, and a very important thing you can do to aid your efforts towards a successful outcome, is the manner by which you finish the interview. I mean each interview, every time, with everyone you meet, anytime throughout your career. How you close the interview says a lot about you, your abilities, and your level of interest and conveys a measure of professionalism many people overlook.  

So there you are, being interviewed and the time arrives when they ask, “So, do you have any questions?” You should, of course, have some as a result of your time spent with the hiring official with whom you’re meeting. But before you conclude, there is one final question you will make a part of your interview ritual for the rest of your career - no joke, from this time forward. It sounds like this, “We’ve been speaking for the last hour (or whatever it has been) and I would like ask, what’s the next step?” or, “We’ve been speaking for the last hour…is there any reason you would not recommend me for the next interview step?” Say it however you want, be polite but decisive and clear about your intent and then stop talking, don’t speak, zip it and if I need to suggest it more bluntly, shut up – don’t add anything or feed an answer and now wait for their reply. 

There are three likely answers: 

1)     “I first need to talk to my colleague(s)…”, “…meet additional applicants”, “…review my notes…”, “…eat a ham sandwich…” etc. (just kidding about the last one) 

No problem and it is okay, so they gave you some BS answer and chose to sidestep the question. It’s all right you asked, you did your part and it was noted.

2)     “…when I asked about…you said…but your resume says something different, could you clarify it for me?”
If they have a concern or need a clarification, you certainly want to address it here and now. You don’t want to leave question marks to dangle in their mind, assuming you’ll get a chance to clear it up later, if they have a concern you likely won’t get a next chance. Go ahead and respond, then ask if the additional info satisfies their query? If so, repeat your question about the next step which presumably brings you to the third possible reply.

3)     “We’d like to meet you again…”
Although it may appear I’m oversimplifying, I am not. This is how you close and finish every interview. Of course there are never any guarantees, but this is without a doubt the best way to conclude an interview and it might even extend the conversation, which is a good thing. 
So what does this do for you? It clearly demonstrates your interest and that you are decisive and proactive. Furthermore, you’ve distinguished yourself from most others who sound needy when they sheepishly say, “Well, um, thank you and I hope I hear from you.” Now there’s a snoozer of a parting statement!

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