We all tend to remember what we hear first and what we hear last. In the past I’ve written about that crucial first question, but now let’s look at how a good interview closing statement can help ensure you’re remembered – and for the right reasons!
As the interview draws to a close, you need to accomplish two crucial objectives:
- Make it clear you want the job and are excited about it.
- Make sure the employer will remember your key selling points or “unique selling proposition.”
You also need to find out about the next steps in the employer’s process, so that you can follow up effectively.
Express your interest!
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.
Remind them how it’s a fit.
It’s like writing an essay: you summarize your key points at the beginning, then refer to them again in a closing statement. That way your most important messages are clear and easy to remember.
Maybe you’re the General Manager candidate who has deeper change management experience than most, or you’re the Account Manager candidate who’s got a superb track record with mobile solutions. 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 you just discovered that the job involves mentoring others, which happens to be a great strength of yours. Add that to the closing remarks you had planned.
But keep it short – the interview is ending! A sentence or two is all that’s called for here.
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 should you move into your end-of-interview statement?
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:
“Well, I really appreciate 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’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? … And when do you think you’ll be making an offer? … Good! I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again!”
Closing the sale: a stronger option.
If the interview process is in its final stages and you think it’s possible that the employer is ready to decide, and if you’re applying for a position in sales, as an executive, or some other position where a stronger pitch may be expected, then you might add something like “Is there anything preventing you from offering me the job right now?”
When you get home, do you sit back and wait?
Generally not, if you want to be remembered and seen as a proactive, assertive person who really wants the job. Follow up, and do it memorably. Hint: It’s more than just a thank-you note.
This article was originally posted in October 2014, and has been updated.