The wrong way to conclude your interview is to answer, “No” when you are asked if you yourself have any questions you might like to pose to the interviewer(s). After all, they’ve just spent 30 minutes to an hour or so for example with you and asked you several questions to determine your fit with their organization. Shouldn’t you have something to ask in return? Yes you should.
When you are given a chance to ask questions, you can safely assume they have enough information gathered to form an opinion and will use that information shortly when assessing you vs. anyone else they are considering for the job. It’s a cue you should realize that is alerting you to the fact that the interview is about to conclude. So before you think of asking a question of the interviewer, ask yourself, “Have I done enough to sell them on me and what final impression do I want to leave them with?”
Think of your last few minutes in the interview as a chance to summarize your benefits. So you should definitely ask two or three questions to show your interest. But I also advise that instead of then saying, “Well that’s all the questions I have”, and getting up to shake hands and leave, you say one last thing. Start off with something like, “While I have no further questions at this time, I want to both thank you for this interview, and leave you with a this final thought.”
What follows this introductory sentence is going to be unique for each job applicant. Essentially the next words you speak should punch out your qualifications and your unique value; what you’ll bring to the job. So it could look like this: “I AM the last person in the world you should be interviewing for this job because I’m the RIGHT person for this job. I’m qualified, motivated, have demonstrated my past accomplishments and my education and experience have positioned me to thrive and succeed in this position. But it’s my enthusiasm and attitude above all else that I want you to remember. As of right now, I’m no longer looking for a job and I’m excited about joining your team.”
If you deliver something like the above with assertiveness, then rise with a smile, eye contact and a firm handshake, you’ll leave a strong impression. Compare this exit with what you may be doing already at interviews you’re having now. First impressions and last impressions are critical. When you watch an advertisement on television, watch how they market a product. Something at the beginning of really good ads catches your attention, and then the final few seconds you generally see the product up close, clean and polished, the name of the company and it’s all carefully done to imprint on your brain a final memorable image. You should do no less.
And this idea of marketing yourself like a product is not only close to what you are doing, it’s spot on. You are the product the company is considering investing in by ‘purchasing’ your services. Nobody just goes into a store and says, ‘Sell me a pair of pants – any kind of pants”. Customers would be asked by the clerk for your size, your inseam, what kind of pants you are looking for, the colour, your desired price range, whether you’d be interested in wrinkle-free pants, low riders, zippered, button up, pleats or no pleats, pockets or no pockets, etc. WHEW! That’s a lot of questions! But each bit of information gets the clerk closer to what you REALLY want, and you’ll get a few to try that match what you said you wanted.
In the interview, you are the pants. Interviewers are like that clerk, trying to gather enough information so they can see which applicants most closely match what they need. If you shop without a clerk to help you, you’re like the interviewer, trying to wade through all the pants in the store to find the ones that are just what you had in mind.
The last few minutes of an interview should be carefully considered both before the interview even begins, and throughout. Let me explain the two different periods. Before the interview, it’s a good practice to identify for yourself how much of a fit you think you really are. Are you in fact a perfect fit and realize you have ALL the qualifications they are seeking, or are you a very good fit with say, 18 out of 20 things they’ve said they desire? So you can have a general idea of how you want to emphasize your fit going in.
But the second thing you should be thinking to yourself DURING the interview has to do with any areas you want to stress about yourself that either will address any weakness that became exposed, or addresses new information that has been shared with you about the job or the company. So if they shared some current challenge the company is facing or the job description has shifted since it was posted, you have to conclude by emphasizing your skills and attributes as they directly relate to the new information.
The most attractive gifts often come wrapped with bows and gift paper. Conclude your interview by wrapping it up in a way that makes you appealing and wanted by the employer.
Written By Kelly Mitchell
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