Closing the Interview / Closing Techniques

John has just spent one and half hours in a very thorough and interesting interview with the XYZ Company.  He feels that the employer is interested in him based upon his perception of “chemistry” between John and the interviewer.  John knows that he has answered all of the employer’s questions to the best of his abilities.  John also feels that the employer is knowledgeable of John’s capabilities and prior accomplishments and how they will add to his success at the XZY Company.  The employer closes the interview by stating to John, “John, we have some other candidates to interview in the next two weeks.  I will be back in touch with you.  Thank You for your time today.”

How do you read this closing?  Some will say that the interview went well. Some would say that there was no commitment on behalf of the interviewer so there was low interest in John.  Others would say that this is the normal process that John must go through and he must wait out the employer seeing the other candidates.  Some would say that the interviewer was testing to see if John would make an attempt to close the interview.

Perhaps John could have taken the interview to one more level through an effective summary and closing statement? What do you think? Could you have done it differently and more successfully?

That brings up the question, “What is a successful interview?”

Some candidates will feel that a successful interview is something of an exchange of information and fact finding.  They are not yet committed to the company so they see the interview as successful if they can learn more about the company.  If they are offered a chance to advance, then they see that as a bonus.

Others will see the whole interviewing process as very stressful and they just want to survive the interview.  Their mind is not fully focused on closing the interview.

Your answer however should be:

Passing the interview and getting to the next step and/or gaining a job offer.

The job interview can be broken down into steps much like a sales presentation:

  1. The introduction / Areas of Commonality
  2. The Interview Questions/ Needs Assessment
  3. The Analysis / Further probing and clarification of features & benefits
  4. The Summary and The Close

Many candidates as well as sales professionals are excellent in the presentation of Steps A, B, and C but fail at D.  Why is it human nature to balk at closing the deal?  An interview is just like a sales presentation and YOU are the product that you are selling.  If you have done a good job at A, B and C, then you have every right to ask for the sale/ the next interview/ or the job.  The employer EXPECTS you to do this.  Some employers expect this closing in a variety of ways depending upon their own personality. Some will expect the closing to be very aggressive such as, “I am ready to go to work for you. When can I start?”

Others will expect a more subdued closing such as, “I am very interested in this opportunity.  Have I done well enough to advance to the next step?”

Sometimes you have to “mirror-up” or “mirror-down” to the personality type of the interviewer to determine which closing is best for the situation.  If you have been exposed to or trained on DISC profiling, get out your notes and brush up on them prior to your interview so that you can best recognize the behavior trait of the hiring manager. In that way you will best be able to mirror-up to them.

Some possible closing techniques to consider based upon your personality as well as the situation:

  • “I  have done my homework on ABC Company prior to this interview. I like everything that I have heard from you today as well.  I am ready to go to work as soon as you need me. When can I go to work?”
  • “Mr. / Ms. Employer, you and I seem to have the same philosophy, the same work ethic and the same ideas about the kind of company that we want to work for.  I am very interested in coming to work for you and ABC Company. May I come to work for you?”
  • “Mr. / Ms. Employer, from what you have heard and seen from me today, is there any reason that I cannot advance to the next step in this interview process?”  “What will be my next step?”
  • “Mr. / Ms. Employer, can we go ahead now and coordinate our calendars for the next interview?”
  • Mr. / Ms. Employer, have I done well enough to advance to the next level of your interview process? What can I expect and when will that be?”
  • “You have represented your company very well and have answered all of my  questions.  I would like this position! Are you in a position to make me an offer?”
  • Mr. / Ms. Employer, I appreciate that you have other candidates to interview, but I also know that when you have found the right candidate, you will know it.  I feel that I am the right candidate for this job opportunity for these 5 reasons.” [briefly summarize your 5 reasons]  “Do you  agree with me?”
  • “Mr. / Ms. Employer, I appreciate that you want to speak to all qualified candidates that you can before making a decision. However, taking two more weeks to interview possibly qualified candidates could cause you to lose out on your best candidate right now.  I am your best candidate for these 3 reasons. (briefly summarize your 3 reasons]  I am ready to go to work in 2 weeks. May I have this opportunity?”

Closing requires a skill that you can develop through practice. Just like sales people will almost always encounter objections that they must handle successfully, interviewers will always have a closing to their interview. So doesn’t it make perfect sense to practice and prepare for the inevitable.  Best wishes and happy closing your deal!

Roger Manning      

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