Between practicing your handshake, crafting an elevator pitch, and planning what you’re going to wear, you have a lot to tackle when it comes to interview preparation. So once the big day arrives and you make it all the way to the end of the interview, it’s only natural to be so relieved when it’s wrapping up that you forget to ask a pivotal question, drive home your enthusiasm, or summarize your awesomeness.
Handshake, meet facepalm.
“I like to say that a last impression is a lasting impression,” says Chrissy Scivicque, career coach and founder of EatYourCareer.com. “How you wrap things up is going to stick with the interviewer just as much as your first impression.”
Follow these steps to close an interview and position yourself for a job offer in the process.
1. Ask pointed questions about the job and the company
Hiring managers often conclude job interviews by swapping places with you, so to speak, giving you a chance to ask them questions. This is a prime opportunity to shine. Take full advantage by asking good interview questions that will provide you with information you can’t find online, recommends Jaime Klein, founder of Inspire Human Resources, a New York City–based HR consulting firm. A few recommendations:
- Why is this position open?
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?
- Are there opportunities for additional training and education?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- How is performance measured in this role?
2. Restate your interest in the position
Before you head out the door, take a minute to reiterate that you want the position, says Carole Martin, job interview coach and author of Boost Your Interview IQ. A high level of engagement is key to showing a hiring manager that you’re really into the job. Also say you think you’d be a good cultural fit for the company, which is a pressure point for employers, considering more than six in 10 (64%) human resources managers say they’ve misjudged a candidate’s fit with their company’s work environment, an OfficeTeam survey found. Mention that you look forward to being part of the team.
3. Summarize why you’re the one for the job
To end on a high note, restate your value proposition at the end of the interview. After all, you’re not the only person going after this job, so you want to put a giant spotlight on your talent. In a couple sentences, talk about the key skills and experiences you bring to the table, Scivicque says. Pro tip: Make sure your selling points are tied directly to the job duties.
4. Find out next steps
This sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of job candidates forget to ask what the next step of the hiring process is, laments Stamford, Connecticut–based executive coach Anne Marie Segal. “You need to walk out knowing what to do next,” she explains. In addition, ask if there’s anything else you can provide, such as references or work samples. Most important: Find out the best method to follow up with the interviewer. (“Is it OK if I email you in two weeks if I haven’t heard from you?”)
5. Send thank-you emails
Surprisingly, three out of four job seekers don’t even bother sending a thank-you note after an interview. To set yourself apart, take the time to write thank-you emails to each employee—including the receptionist!—you met with during the hiring process, and send them within 24 hours after the interview.
To show the interviewer(s) you were engaged, mention specific things you discussed during the interview. The best way to do this is to write down notes immediately after the interview so you don’t forget what you talked about.