How to Successfully Close the Job Interview

career Dec 02, 2020

You know that feeling, you can tell the interview is winding down and you’re confident in how you presented yourself and in how you answered the interviewer’s questions. You’re feeling like you can start to relax and let your guard down. Stop! Beware that feeling! This is the time to really shine and leave a positive impression on who you are and why you’d be the best fit for the job. Thinking the interview is over before it is can lead you to make unintentional slipups and saying or doing something that can take you from a “yes” candidate to a “no.”

We typically view the job interview process from the interviewer’s perspective. The person you’re interviewing with is wanting to get to know who you are, to get a feel for your personality, and to understand what skills and experiences you can bring to the company. Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding a new employee is expensive, both in time and money. According to Glassdoor*, the average company spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee. And once hired, onboarding can take anywhere from two weeks to several months. During this time, the new employee is costing the company more than what the employee is contributing.

The interview process benefits the company in finding the right candidate. They are looking at you through a long-term lens and determining how quickly you will be up-to-speed and how well you’ll fit within the company’s ethos. But just as they are trying to determine if you’re a good fit, you need to do the same. View the interview from your perspective as well. Are you a good fit? Do the company’s values, culture, and work style align with how you like to work? Don’t view the interview as a one-way street. Ask questions to gain a better understanding of their expectations of employees. If you get the job and then realize your work style doesn’t blend well with the company’s culture, you won’t be happy doing the job and pretty soon, you may be on the job hunt again.

Typically, there are two questions the interviewer will ask to wrap-up the interview: 1) Do you have any questions for me? and 2) Is there anything more you’d like to add that we didn’t get a chance to talk about? This is the time that you can interview the interviewer and ask questions that can help you determine if the company is right for you and aligned with your career goals.

DO have two thoughtful questions pre-planned. As you’ve done your prep work and researched the company, you may have a question surrounding a news story you’ve read about the company, such as:

  • I read about the acquisition between your company and company XYZ, do you see this role changing over the next year due to the acquisition

Be sure the questions you’re asking are pertinent to you. This is where you’re interviewing them. So ask:

  • Tell me about your onboarding process. Does the company conduct training throughout the year as well?
  • What does success look like for this position
  • What was the biggest challenge the last person in this role faced
  • How does the company support their employees and set them up for success
  • Can you elaborate on the daily responsibilities of this position
  • How would you describe the company culture
  • What are the company’s or the department’s biggest opportunities and challenges at the moment
  • What are the daily responsibilities or what does a typical day look like

If during the interview, a topic comes up you want to hear more about, here’s the time to ask and get a more detailed answer.

This is NOT the time to ask about:

  • benefits
  • vacation/sick time
  • how quickly can you get promoted/get an office
  • how quickly can you get a raise

DO NOT say you don't have any questions for the interviewer. This can be a kiss of death. If you don’t have any questions, it can leave the impression that you’re either not serious about the job or you think you already have all the answers. Neither impression is how you want to leave the interview.

DO be mindful of the time. Observe the interviewer. If they’re looking at the time, they may have a meeting or conference call coming up. Currently, with virtual interviews, it’s a little tougher to determine. You may want to state you have two questions you’d like to ask thereby placing them in the driver’s seat in regards to timing. If you want to follow-up with one of their answers, ask if they have time.

Finally, this is when you need to close and sum up your qualifications to let the interviewer know why you are the best person for the job. This is what some would call your Elevator Speech. Reiterate your interest in the job and the company and how your experience and skills are a great fit for the role. DO ask about the next steps so you leave the interview knowing who will contact you and the timeframe.

Remember, you should place as much thought and preparation into how to interview the interviewer as you did for being interviewed.

Once you’re back home, send an email thank you to everyone you spoke with. And to really stand out, send a thank you note in the mail. When the interviewer receives it, it’s a nice little reminder of who you are.

Be yourself, let your confidence shine, and be fearless!

*The True Cost of Hiring an Employee in 2020 by Mile Zivkovic