Closing the interview

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Q:  I have interviewed for several roles recently.  It seems every company has a different interview process.  Some have phone interviews.  Some require candidates to complete an application online.  Some want to interview candidates several times.  Some require pre-employment testing.  Some check references and some don’t.  When I am in the final steps though, I then have no idea on how to end it, other than a meek “thank you” note.  What else can a candidate do?

  1. A company is buying services when they hire an employee. What problem do you solve for the company?  Do you reduce expenses?  Do you drive revenue?  Do you mitigate risk?  Do you improve customer relationships?  If you think about your candidacy, and potential employment, in these terms, closing the deal is a bit easier to understand.

When you approach the final stages of the selection process, there are a few actions you can take which may help your candidacy.  Some suggestions:

  1. In the final interview, many candidates do not ask about next steps in the process. They leave the face-to-face interview and have no idea what to expect next. It is reasonable to ask, “Can you explain the next steps in the selection process?” This is important as the hiring professional will likely give you information on the timing, next steps and maybe even the number of candidates.  Reiterate your interest in the role.  “This last interview has made me even more enthusiastic about this role and I would very much like to be the person hired for the role.  Is there anything else you need from me before you make your final decision?”  Make sure you have business cards from each and every interviewer before you leave.
  2. Email a thank-you note which thanks the interviewer(s) but also describes the value you can provide to the company. Can you increase sales? Can you design a better product?  Can you bring partners to the table?  Explain it!  Make sure that your note is flawless with no typos or grammatical errors.
  3. Have professional references typed up and ready to go. If you are asked for professional references, this is a positive sign. You should be able to provide them on a moment’s note.  Yes, you should still contact your references and prep them before your reference receives a call from this company.  At least three professional references should be shared, although four or five is ideal.  Again, your references should be error-free.
  4. Be gracious even if you don’t receive an offer. I have worked with candidates who did not receive offers. It is not common, but our client will contact us, at a later date, and ask about a candidate they turned down at an earlier time.  Sometimes timing is everything.

Finally, it is a small world.  You never know who you will be working with in the future.  Take the high road and be known for your professionalism.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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