The last impression you make during your job interview tends to linger

Nick Kossovan on the job interviewHow you end an interview is more important than how you began and performed throughout the interview, within reason, of course.

Yes, making a great first impression is essential; however, the last impression you make tends to linger.

As your interviewer is wrapping up your interview (e.g., they ask if you have any questions or are glancing at their watch), you want to leave a positive lasting expression. Just shaking your interviewer’s hand and saying, “I look forward to hearing from you,” will not cut it. The last impression you leave with your interviewer will profoundly impact their memory of you as they are more likely to remember the last five minutes of the interview than the first five.

The next time you are interviewing, make it your mission to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer by doing the following:

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Ask insightful questions

As your interviewer is winding down the interview, inevitably, they will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” (If your interviewer does not ask you this question, presume you will not be offered the job.)

Asking good questions does two things:

  1. It gives you a final opportunity to show your interviewer that you prepared for the interview and put thought into your questions. (You are serious about wanting the job.)
  2. It lets you determine if the company and role are the right fit for you.

Always have a couple of questions ready. Never say, “You have answered all of my questions.”

Some questions you could ask:

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in the first six months? The first year?
  • What is the biggest challenge I would face in this role?
  • Please describe your management style. How would you manage me?
  • What will the onboarding and training process look like?
  • Where does [company] see itself in five years?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges facing the company/department?
  • What expectations would I need to meet to be successful in this role?

Thank your interviewer

“Thank you” is essential because we are primates and inherently social creatures. When goods or services are exchanged, and currency is not involved, then our words and expressions become the currency.

Manners are still important today. Saying “Thank you” goes a long way in acknowledging someone providing you with an opportunity, such as interviewing for a job.

Thank yous should be genuine and sincere. While making eye contact, say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I look forward to hearing back from you.”.

Note: Do not overdo the “Thank yous”; you don’t want to appear desperate or insincere. One “Thank you” is all you need to make a good impression.

Re-state why you are the best candidate

At the end of the interview, take the opportunity to quickly summarize your key strengths. Mention how your experience can directly impact the company. Make your summary short and compelling.

“As I mentioned, I implemented and worked with the ZET4500 accounting software system for seven years and was instrumental in transforming how my previous company had increased oversight over their account receivables. I’m confident my accounting skills, passion for numbers and ability to use the ZET4500 proficiently will be a great asset here at Wayne Enterprises.”

Your handshake matters

Pre-coronavirus, a firm handshake at the end of an interview was an indisputable indicator of confidence. When interviewing in person, feel free to initiate the handshake rather than wait for your interviewer to extend their hand. Your handshake, while making eye contact to show confidence, should be reasonably firm. If more than one person was part of your interview, be sure you shake everybody’s hand.

Ask for the job

I like assertive and confident, even borderline brash, candidates. Therefore, I am always impressed when a candidate asks me outright for the job, something I wish happened more often. The next time you have an interview for a job you want, ask for it! (Yes, I have hired on the spot a candidate who asked me for the job.)

“I know this is the company that I want to work for. Is there anything that prevents you from making me an offer today?”

If your interviewer declines to give you an offer (e.g., “I’m scheduled to interview two more candidates this afternoon”), then say, “I understand why you need to consider other candidates. Therefore, I look forward to hearing back from you. When can I expect to hear back from you?”

TIP: Get your interviewer’s business card so you can send a thank you email.

As I noted at the beginning, the last impression you make tends to linger. How you closed the interview will be remembered by your interviewer – did you finish confidently, reaffirm your interest in the job, or appear uninterested? I do not know any hiring manager who would hire a candidate who seems disinterested in the position.

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.

For interview requests, click here.

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