When it comes to interviews, most people are pretty good at researching the company, preparing interview questions, engaging in the interview and sending thank you notes, but very few are good at closing a job interview. Closing the interview is not just thanking the interviewer (then going home and waiting for the phone to ring). Closing the interview is actually asking for the job, which pushes most of us outside of our comfort zone.
I’ve coached hundreds of candidates to not leave the interview until they have asked for the job, or at least made their interest in the job known. I’ve found that it’s not so much that people don’t know what to say as it is they don’t want to mislead anyone or they are afraid of rejection. The term “closing” itself is that sales term no one really likes, especially women who don’t want to be perceived as pushy or aggressive. Career coach Linda Matias, with CareerStride writes about how as we mature from children to adults we have collected all these stories in our heads that can basically sabotage our courage in an interview setting. I encourage you to shift your thinking.
You have a short runway in the interview process to seize the moment and close the interview. There are a lot of other candidates interviewing and, all things equal, the employer will be more inclined to extend an offer to the person who expressed the most direct interest. Recruiting agencies know this well. Wayne Mello, a leader with Robert Half who I learned a great deal from, focused his leadership and training around prepping candidates, not just for the interview, but for the close – because it works.
Unless you’re certain in the interview you don’t want the job, you should push forward with a strong close. Take the temperature of the interviewer during the interview and let that guide you on what to say when you close, but it should be some version of, “Based on what I have learned today, this is exactly the type of role I’m looking for and I’m confident in my ability to be successful. Given there is mutual interest, I would like to receive an offer.” Then be silent and let the interviewer make the next move. Be prepared to have some discussion, you’ve just made a pretty bold statement. If it’s a good match the interviewer will be very pleased to hear your interest. You may even receive an offer on the spot. If not, don’t get discouraged, the interviewer may not have the authority to make the offer right then.
Employers know they are being interviewed too, which is why you have to be clear about your interest and intent. Making assumptions can leave you without the job. I remember having to tell a candidate who genuinely wanted the job that she didn’t get it because the client, even though they really liked the candidate and felt she was qualified, couldn’t tell for sure if the candidate was really interested. Ouch! I know that was not the message the candidate wanted to send during the interview. You should always leave an interview feeling confident you’ve done all you can to position yourself for an offer by asking for the job with a purposeful and direct close.
If you’re job hunting, prepare yourself for closing a job interview by practicing different ways of asking for the job, roll play with a friend or family member. The more prepared you are before the interview, the easier it will be to end with a strong close. As I tell all my candidates, “Good luck, call me afterwards and don’t forget to ask for the job!”
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Ask Ajna guest blogger Julie Robinson:
Julie is an experienced Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Professional with 15 plus years in both executive search and corporate environments. She began her career in advertising sales with United News and Media. She moved into recruiting in 1996 where she spent the next decade working for Robert Half International in specialized contingent search for Accounting and Finance Professionals. She later joined Alliance Data in 2006 to oversee corporate recruiting and lead enterprise talent acquisition initiatives.
As a contingent search recruiter she developed a client base of comprised primarily of midmarket organizations across industries including Advertising, Real Estate, Professional Services, Oil & Gas, and Manufacturing. Candidate recruitment ranged from early/mid-career through c- level.
Her work in corporate is focused on leading corporate recruiting developing SOP’s, defining and analyzing metrics, research and development of preferred providers, implementation of applicant tracking and ancillary technologies and programs, Immigration, EEOC, OFCCP, E-Verify, AAP and I-9 compliance.
Julie is a graduate of University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and has lived in the Dallas area since 1993. Click here if you’d like to connect with Julie.