There are lots of resources on the web about how to put together a good resume, find job openings, get through online application software and get in the door as an applicant. No doubt these are important things for any potential job seeker.
However, there is another element of the process that doesn’t seem to get as much attention — how to close for the job. Before you jump to any conclusions, this isn’t about turning you into a salesperson. So, don’t let the “close” term intimidate you. Instead, it’s just a natural conclusion to the process to that point. I’m a big believer that these last two steps to closing for the job you want can and will differentiate you from other candidates.
So, below are two key tips to incorporating the close into your job search…
Summarize everything that’s happened & discover concerns
You’ve done all the hard work of getting a foot in the door, performing well in prior interviews, providing references, etc. Now that the final interview is finishing up, seize the opportunity when the interviewer asks if you have any final questions. Certainly, be prepared to ask about the things that may not have been answered to that point. Once those are resolved, now is the chance to find out more. First off, be prepared (briefly) to summarize your unique qualifications for the job and why you feel you’ll be a good fit for the organization. This should be no longer than 20-30 seconds.
Once you’ve finished this statement, ask the following (in your own words):
Are there any aspects of my background or my fit for this position that create any concern for you?
This may seem uncomfortable at first, but putting this on the table will help you discover very quickly if there is anything that might potentially hurt your chances with the person conducting this final interview. Knowing it now at least allows you to address it.
Ask for the job
This is the “close” referenced earlier, and it doesn’t have to be any type of gimmick or salesy pitch. As I said before, it should just be a natural next step from what has happened to this point. You’ve made the final interview, you’ve answered all questions, you’ve summarized why you feel you’ll be a good fit for the role, and you’ve asked if there are any final issues that might keep you from moving forward. Assuming the interviewer indicates there are no real concerns from his/her standpoint, now is the chance to take the mystery out of the process. At this point (again, in your own words), state the following:
Based on my qualifications and what we’ve covered to this point, I’m very interested in filling this position for the company. What are the next steps we need to take from here?
Anyone who has ever made the final interview stage, only to have the position go to someone else unexpectedly, knows how frustrating this can be. Following these steps will help you avoid this scenario. Regardless of how the sequence plays out, you’ll know where you stand as you walk out of the interview.
Again, don’t make the mistake of assuming interviewers will share their true feelings about your chances of landing their job. There’s nothing for them to gain by proactively offering their thoughts in this type of situation. Instead, stretch outside your comfort zone and make sure you get the information you want.
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Image credit: self-made motivational poster and job interview attire by Dani Lurie (contact)