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Make your Last Impression Count!

Make your Last Impression Count!


Everyone knows that first impressions count. There have been countless articles on how to ‘Dress to impress’, and how to make sure the first five minutes of your interview are geared towards creating the perfect ‘First Impression’.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Everyone knows that first impressions count. There have been countless articles on how to ‘Dress to impress’, and how to make sure the first five minutes of your interview are geared towards creating the perfect ‘First Impression’. But what about last impressions? Is saying goodbye less important that saying hello?

When the interview is over, and you jump up from you chair declaring that you’re ‘Glad that’s over, as I’m desperate to head off down the pub to catch the game’, or ‘I’m happy the interview is finished as I’ve had loads of interviews this week, and I’ve got to be up for another big assessment tomorrow’.

Does this somehow, pass the interviewer by? Does it pale into insignificance because you have your best suit on, flashed your pearly whites when you entered the room, and crushed the interviewers hand with your ‘Cast-iron’ handshake?

I don’t think so.

Despite views to the contrary, closing the interview is just as important as the interview itself, this is the last impression the interviewer will have of you, and so it needs to be a good one! Here are a few tips as to how you should close an interview. Starting with how to close an interview to a job you are interested in…

If you want the position…

After the interview has finished, if you like what you have heard about the company, and are still interested in the position, then thank the interviewer for their time, and ask them what the ‘next stage’ is. If they are confident about you and have the authority, they may well invite you back for another interview there and then. If it is your second or final interview, or they do not have the authority to make the decision there and then they will use the ‘I’ll be in touch line’.

If they do this, DO NOT LEAVE THE INTERVIEW ROOM! Ask them this;

‘How well do you think I match up to the position?’

This is a forward and ‘pushy’ question, but it will give you a very good idea of whether you are likely to hear from them again or not. The question forces them to reveal exactly what they think of you, and depending on what they say, you can either put the position behind you and move on to the next suitable position, or start considering whether you really want this position if you think you may be successful.

If they reply that they ‘Still have other candidates to see’ and you are desperate to know if you’re in with a chance, then push them one more time by asking this;

‘Do you have any reservations about my ability to fulfil the role?’

This is a very direct question, which will nearly always be met with a direct answer – be prepared for an ‘honest’ response, and get ready to calmly overcome their objections by stressing ways around the issues they are concerned about.

Great, but what if I’m not sure whether I still want the position?

If you are having second thoughts about the position…

Quite often a candidate will attend an interview bursting with enthusiasm for the role, and high hopes for what it will entail. Unfortunately, many candidates find themselves doubting whether they want the role at all after their first interview. Maybe the salary was lower than expected, the role was less ‘exciting’ than was expected, maybe the offices were grotty and difficult to get to, or the interviewer was plain rude and/or unprofessional. All these issues can really disrupt your plans for the position you had sought after.

If you do find yourself having second thoughts it is likely other candidates will be thinking the same thing. If the company is finding it hard to recruit employees they can be quite pushy in getting a candidate into the position – they recruit quickly, and usually before the candidates have had a chance to properly think the offer through.

As a result, you will tend to find that the interviews that you have second thoughts about will be the interviews where the interviewer will be keen to appoint you into the position. If, halfway through an interview you think the position may not be for you – don’t panic! Handle the interview as normal, ask the relevant questions, and find out if the interviewer is keen on you.

If this is the case, you may be in a better placed position to negotiate certain aspects of the job role that you are uncomfortable with.

If you are invited back to a second interview, or offered a position, the company will usually ask you if you are interested. Now is your chance to explain that you are interested in the role, but you are concerned at; the low salary, unsociable hours, lack of training ect. Once you have explained this, wait for the recruiters response. If they are genuinely interested in hiring you for you, and not because you are the first person that has said ‘yes’ then they will try and find a way of compromising on the issues that concern you. If they laugh or ‘mock’ you for raising your concerns, and make no effort to compromise or discuss them further, make your excuses and leave!

It is worth mentioning, that the only things you can change about the role are the material factors; salary, commission, hours, training, benefits ect, saying you don’t like your future boss, or you can’t hack the travel to the office will end your chances of any role with the company because they cannot be changed, so think very carefully about whether you can actually change the things you are unhappy about or not before entering negotiations!

Closing the Interview – Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Do – Exit the room in the same manner you entered it – Shake the interviewers hand, smile, and politely thank them for their time.

  1. Do – Remain professional and composed until you have left the building – Don’t display excitement or disappointment, remain calm and polite.

  1. Don’t – Indulge in post-interview small talk if you can help it. If you have conducted a good interview, the interviewer will be trying to catch you ‘Off Guard’ to see if you really are as good as you seem. If an interviewer starts making conversation with you, politely thank them for their time, make your excuses and leave.

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