First impressions are certainly important in your job interview, but many candidates make no effort to end an interview in a way that will be remembered. They will simply say thank you, shake hands and leave. Many times this is because ending an interview, or any conversation for that matter, can be awkward for all parties.
However, if you handle it properly, the end of the interview is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself one more time in a manner that leaves a positive last impression.
Here’s how to do it.
In most interviews, you’ll be asked at the end if you have any questions you’d like to ask. Many candidates will mutter a bit and say no, probably because they’re happy that the interview is over.
That’s too bad because they just wasted a golden opportunity.
The Single Best Question to Ask at the End of Your Interview
There is one particular question you should ask that in my 30 years as a Hiring Manager I’ve only been asked twice, each time using slightly different wording.
I was once looking for a new job, early in my career, and was using a recruiting agency. One of the recruiters came from the corporate world with extensive experience in several large corporations as a Hiring Manager. He sat me down and told me what he believed was the single best question to ask at the end of an interview, regardless of the nature of the job. This is it:
“I’m convinced that this is the job I want. What more do I need to do to convince you I’m the best person for this position?”
This is a great question. It demonstrates you want the job and believe you are a strong candidate, plus it’s flattering to the Hiring Manager’s ability to sell the job (yes, if I think you are the most qualified and did the best in the interview, I’ll want to sell you the job just as much as you want to sell me).
This question also creates one last opportunity for you to sell yourself and perhaps address any lingering concerns they may have about you. You may also find they have some specific additional questions to ask to be more convinced you’re the best choice.
This is a win-win for everybody. If they have no further questions or suggestions, you’re no worse off than if you simply said no when asked if you have any questions. If they do want some additional input from you, it’s one more chance to sell yourself.
I know from personal experience how well this can work.
The first interview I went on after the recruiter advised me went quite well. It was for a mid-level management position and I made it to the second interview round, which was one-on-one with the Hiring Manager. It too went well, so I decided to ask this exact question at the end.
To my surprise, the Hiring Manager answered, “I’m pretty well convinced already.” The next day I was offered the job.
So, if you feel your interview went well, and the Hiring Manager is on the interview, you should ask this question. Even if the interview didn’t go so well, it’s one last chance to turn things around.
I have one last recommendation for something you should do at the end of every interview, right after you’ve shaken hands with everyone and left the room.
One Last Thing to Do Before Your Leave the Building
Before you leave the building, stop by the office or desk of the person with whom you checked in when you arrived, and also the person who escorted you to the interview (if they are different). Hopefully, you’re able to find them. Your purpose is to simply thank them. That’s it!
Surprisingly, very few applicants perform this simple courtesy. For all you know, that person who you think is the receptionist, or an administrative assistant, might actually be the executive assistant to the Hiring Manager or even the Hiring Manager’s boss. You should always try to leave a good impression with everyone you meet at your interview, not just the people on the interview panel.
This could even result in a positive remark made about you to the Hiring Manager. I’ve even seen this be the tipping point for hiring decisions between two equally qualified and equally well-performing candidates.
I know it sounds trivial. However, human nature being what is (even with Hiring Managers!) you just never know how strongly small acts of courtesy are perceived.