Your Closure & Commitment
With the majority of the hard work having been done already in the interview, the way in which you finish the interview can leave the most lasting positive impression if you get it right. This is a big chance to differentiate yourself from the competition as most people simply do not close an interview properly and, whilst this doesn’t leave a negative impression, it wastes the opportunity to cement your position as the ‘preferred’ candidate.
The beginning of your closure starts at the point when the interviewer has asked all their questions and asks, ‘Do you have any questions for me?’
Asking good intellectual questions about the company and the job, whilst not trying to be too clever, is one of the best methods of showing you have commercial understanding, a sensible head on your shoulders and lots of talent.
You will be expected to ask the interviewer questions so write a long list before the interview using open questions (starting with who, what, why, where, when and how). A long list ensures, no matter how thorough the interviewer in describing the company and job, you will have some questions that remain unanswered when it’s your turn. Desperately racking your brain for a question in the pressure of an interview often results in a poor question coming to mind. Don’t put yourself in that position, see our interview guidance pack for more assistance.
Some example questions:
- Can you tell me more about your business / client base?
- What is the team demographic in which this job is working / leading?
- What are the career prospects?
- Why do you enjoy working here?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- What is the support / training offered in the company?
- What involvement with clients is there in this role?
- What projects are happening / lined up to happen within the company? What will be the impact on this role?
Don’t ask about salary or holiday entitlements at this stage of the interview – particularly on first interview. As tempting as this may be to find out, many employers see it as the applicant only applying for the job for their own gain. While this may be the case(!), an employer will only offer you a job if they believe you are wanting to assist in the development of their business. Let them bring up the subject.
Closing an interview well is the secret weapon of a successful interview. Whenever you leave an interview, there are 3 things to ensure you have done:
1. Know the next step of the interview process.
2. Defend your weaknesses and reiterate your strengths.
3. End positively.
1. Next Step:
- Regarding the next step of the interview process, ask who will be involved and when it is expected to be.
- This shows you are forward thinking and wanting to be involved further down the process.
- Understand that interviewers may not know the answer to this but don’t worry, it’s the asking of the questions that’s important!
2. Weaknesses and Strengths:
- Ask two questions in this order:
i. What are your thoughts and concerns about me and my weaknesses for this role?
ii. How do my strengths for this role compare to what you are looking for?
- Asking for the interviewer’s thoughts on your weaknesses means you get to find out how they are thinking about you for this job. You are then able to (politely) defend these perceived weaknesses selling your skills/ experiences where appropriate – hopefully leaving the interviewer thinking you have no weaknesses for their job.
- Asking second about your strengths ensures you are getting the client to reiterate to themselves how relevant you are for the position – thus ending the interview with the employer having very positive thoughts of you.
3. The End:
- At the end of the interview, if you are interested in the job, tell the interviewer.
- Be confident and professional in manner whilst shaking their hand and thanking them for their time.
- ‘Paul/ Paula, thank you for your time today as I found the interview very useful and I would be keen to progress further in the process. From your comments, I feel I have some good experiences and skills that I could bring into this role and really make a positive difference. Thank you again’.
Remember, you won’t be offered every job for which you interview but remain positive and try to learn from each interview experience.
The right job will be out there and practice makes perfect!