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How to Close Your Job Interview

Is it important what you say at the end of an interview? You bet it is. First impressions are important, but so are final words.

This is true at any interview, but especially as you approach the end of the interview process and a decision will soon be made.

As the interview draws to a close, you need to accomplish three crucial objectives:

  1. Leave the interviewer with a strong impression that you’re a good fit for the role. You might briefly remind them about 0ne, or a few, of your best key selling points, especially the ones they seemed most impressed with during the interview.
  2. Communicate a strong interest in the role.
  3. Find out about the next steps in the employer’s process, so that you can follow up effectively.

Let’s look more closely at these three points.

Reiterate your key selling points, your core message.

Maybe you’re the candidate with the unique combination of technical and business background, or the one who’s a thought leader in the industry, or the one with more experience and certifications. Know what your “best stuff” is, and make sure you re-emphasize it at the end.

Of course, your key selling points may have shifted during the interview. For example, maybe in the interview you discovered that an important part of the job will to roll out a new software in your department. In your closing remarks you might add that you’re excited about the emphasis on technology, and that you’ve played a key role in such implementations before.

But keep it short – the interview is ending! A sentence or two is all that’s called for here.

Make it clear that you’re still interested and enthusiastic.

A pet peeve of interviewers is a candidate’s failure to indicate whether they’re still interested at the end of the interview. You might think they would assume you want the job, but they won’t. You need to say so. For all they know, something may have turned you off. And if it’s the last interview before a decision will be made, you need to let them know you want the job!

Clarify the next steps.

It’s very useful to know what the next step is, and when it will take place. If there will be another round of interviews, you want to know when that will be, and when they plan to make an offer. So ask!

When and how to pull all this together:

Since most interviewers ask for questions near the end, a good time for your closing statement may be immediately after that discussion. So when you’ve asked your last question about the company, or the interviewer indicates that he or she needs to wrap up, you say something like this:

I’ve really appreciated this chance to talk, and it’s been very exciting for me to hear about (key points they told you about the company and position). This job sounds perfect for me because (refer to a couple of your strongest selling points). I’m very interested in this job. (Or if it’s the final interview: I’d really like to work with you and your team.)

May I ask, what’s the next step in the process? … Okay, great. And do you have a sense of when those next interviews will be happening? (Or if it’s the final interview:) “When do you think you’ll be making a decision?

Great! I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again!

If the interview process is in its final stages and you think it’s possible that the employer is ready to decide, you might add something like this: “Is there anything that might keep you from extending an offer to me?” or “Is there anything I can clarify, or any additional information I can provide, so you’re comfortable moving me on to the next step?”

Are you done?

Nope. Now it’s time to follow up, and do it memorably. Continue the conversation until you’re in the job!

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