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Ending an Interview Graciously

Shaking hands

Shaking handsEnding an interview graciously can be a challenge and is frequently awkward for both the candidate and the interviewer.  Handle properly though, this is a great opportunity to leave a positive last impression.

At the end of almost every interview, you’ll usually be asked one last time if you have any other questions you’d like to bring up.  Many applicants, particularly if during the interview they’ve already asked the two or three questions they prepared in advance, will simply say no.

Too bad!  They just lost a golden opportunity.   Here’s how to take advantage of that one last question.

Early in my career, I was looking for a new job by using a recruiting agency.  One of the recruiters, who had extensive experience as a hiring manager in several corporations, shared with me what he considered to be the best question to ask at the end of any interview.  Here it is: “I’m convinced this is the job I want. What do I need to do to convince you that I’m the best person for the job?”

This is a great question. It shows your interest in the job and it flatters the Hiring Manager’s selling skills (yes, if you did well in the interview, the hiring manager will want to sell you on the job).  It also opens the door for one last chance to sell yourself by addressing any specific suggestions the interviewers may have about how to “convince” them that you’re the best candidate.

If you feel you did well in the interview, try using this approach.  I asked this question myself once when I was interviewing for a mid-level management position and felt that the interview was going well.  To my surprise, the Hiring Manager replied, “Well, I’m pretty well convinced already.”  I was offered the job the next day.

Once the interview is finally over and you’ve shook hands with everyone and left the room, on your way out be sure to stop by the desk of the person who you checked in with when you arrived and/or the person who escorted you to the interview room (that is, if you can find them) and thank them.

This is a simple courtesy that most applicants don’t bother with.  This surprised me because you just never know: that receptionist might also be the executive assistant to the Hiring Manager and it never hurts to leave a good impression.  It might result in a positive comment made to the Hiring Manager, which just may be the tipping point if the hiring decision gets down to you and one other person.

In my next post, I’ll review some things you need to do right after you’ve left the interview, as well as the proper way to follow up if you haven’t heard back after a reasonable period of time (hint: most candidates get this wrong!).

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