The Grand Exit: Quick Tips To Close The Interview
Follow four post-interview tips to leave a memorable impression.
The end of the job interview can be the beginning of a new opportunity.
Virtually every seasoned job hunter has had the unpleasant experience of a interview that goes awry in its last moments. Seemingly without warning, things can suddenly drift off course, ending in awkward silences, nervous smiles and stammered goodbyes—and leaving you uncertain of your prospects with the company.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, you're not alone. Even the most experienced job seekers often fall into the trap of thinking that the best way to end a successful interview is to just go with the flow and let things unfold naturally. Unfortunately, interviews, like many other types of social interactions, can quickly unravel if left to their own devices.
A good last impression that lasts.
Everyone in the market for a job has heard about the importance of making a good first impression. But HR experts today are reminding job seekers that the last impression you make can be equally, if not more, significant. According to Bill Gaul, HR specialist and CEO of career counseling service The Destiny Group, the end of the interview will likely provide the image of you that remains with the hiring manager as he or she considers your potential fit with the company.
Think of the last moments of the interview as the final summation of an essay, the rousing conclusion of a stump speech, or the grand finale of your one man or one woman show. It's your last chance to make a strong impression and influence the hiring manager's perception. In the space of just a few brief moments, you'll shape the image of you that the interviewer will take forward into the decision-making process.
If the interview has gone well, this is your chance to build on that momentum and go out on a high note. Even if you've stumbled a bit, a good closing can do wonders to improve the interviewer's lasting impression of you.
Developing a concise summary of your strengths.
So, what's the secret to a successful interview closing technique? Preparation, preparation and more preparation. Try to think of those awkward moments that can arise as an interview draws to an end as an opportunity for you to step in and demonstrate your poise and professionalism with a strong closing statement.
As soon as you sense that the interview is drawing to a conclusion, you can interject your closing statement. An effective closing must both reiterate your interest in the position and your desire to move forward with the company, while also expressing gratitude for the interviewer's hospitality and the opportunity to discuss the job in person.
The challenge, though, is striking just the right balance. You have to deliver a planned closing statement without sounding forced or unnatural. You have to carefully match your closing words and behavior to the position in question without dragging down the pace of the interaction. And perhaps most importantly, you have to clearly express confident interest in the position without sounding aggressive or cocky, a mistake that could hurt your chances of landing the job.
A sample script to get you started.
Unsure what form your closing statement should take? Use these examples as the basic building blocks for your own version.
- 1. Start with a brief summary of the main reasons why you are interested in the position.
Example: "After talking to you today, I'm even more convinced that this position would represent the kind of challenge I'm looking for. I want to expand my supervisory skills in a guest-oriented environment, and based on what you've said, this position would let me do just that."
2. Remind the interviewer of the two or three unique capabilities you would bring to the team.
Example: "I think my communication skills and proven track record of handling sensitive customer service issues effectively would allow me to excel in the role of the guest care liaison."
3. Initiate the decision-making process by asking about the next step and establishing a point of contact.
Example: "What is the timeline going to be for selecting a candidate?" or, "When can I expect to hear from you?"
4. Thank the interviewer, his or her assistants and administrative support staff for their time and hospitality.
Example: "Thanks very much for taking the time to meet with me today. I really appreciate the opportunity" or, "Thanks so much for scheduling my interview with Ms. Jones. It was great to meet all of you."
This basic template can easily be customized to apply to each job, hiring manager and interview you encounter in your job search. Use this approach to ensure that the interviewer's last impression of you is a good one, and you'll significantly increase your chances of landing your dream job.
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