Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. The best thing you can do to ease the stress of an interview is to prepare.
While your skill and experience will ultimately help you to stand out in a job interview, the way that you end the interview is what will leave that important lasting positive impression.
This article will address the three key steps you should take as your interview winds down in order to solidify your place as one of the top finalists for the job.
BE PREPARED BY HAVING TARGETED QUESTIONS, SHOWING THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK, BUT AVOID OPENING YOURSELF UP TO CRITICISM.
Toward the interview’s end, you might be asked if you have any questions for those conducting the interview.
It is never good to say “no” and end the interview right there.
When you don’t offer thoughtful questions, it will signal a lack of interest, strategic ability, and experience. Being prepared with a list of follow-up questions can certainly make or break a job interview.
One way to come up with some good questions is to reflect on what it is that you want from your job. If you are crystal-clear on what qualities you seek in an employer, you will be better able to garner the right information you need to leave the interview and make the right choice.
For example, if you’re looking to escape a current job situation where bosses and managers are unhelpful or uncommunicative, as deal-breaker questions, like:
“How would you measure employee success?”
“Three months down the road, how are you going know if you actually hired the right individual for this job?”
“What separates your average team members from the most successful ones?”
If it is a hands-on manager that you are looking for, ask something like:
“Can you describe your onboarding process to me?”
These are the types of questions that will help you decide if they will throw you to the wolves on your very first day.
To ensure that all of your bases are covered in the interview, ask:
“Are there any other questions I could answer that might help you better understand me, my skills, or my experience?”
Sometimes, questions may do more harm than they do good. Never ask a question that opens the door to criticism, such as:
“Do you currently have reservations about hiring me?”
Questions like that invite the interviewers to view you negatively, which is the last thing you want to do in a job interview.
ALWAYS MAKE EYE CONTACT, WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE, AND THANK EVERYONE IN THE ROOM BY THEIR NAME
One of the most basic and most important ways to display your professionalism is to thank everyone involved in the process for their time. However, in order to make a positive lasting impression, make it a point to thank everyone for using their names.
If you want to shine, take it further by acknowledging their title and job function.
For example, consider saying:
“As the vice president of human resources, I recognize how busy you are, and I just want you to know how much I appreciate your time today.”
Leaving the best impression at the end of the interview will go a long way.
It is important to remember the power that your body language has. Make eye contact throughout the interview and while thanking those in the room. Also, give facial cues whenever possible to show the interviewer that you are actively listening.
REMEMBER THE POWER OF SENDING A THANK-YOU FOLLOW-UP NOTE, AND BE SURE TO PERSONALIZE IT SO YOU CAN SOLIDIFY THAT LASTING IMPRESSION.
Check the temperature on thank-you notes. Sending one can often be helpful, but typically it’s case-by-case. Some interviewers might view it as completely unnecessary, while others might expect it. When in doubt, try and determine the expectations regarding the subject.
Don’t hit reply all if you plan to follow up with a thank-you to those involved in the process. Instead, send each person an individual message. No matter how many people were in the room, each represents an opportunity to share impactful and interesting information about yourself after the interview.
You should be taking notes during the job interview. That’s a given. So, jot down key points from each of the people involved in the interview process. You can use these key points to personalize your follow-up thank-you notes and connect them to specific strengths and experiences you might have had.
Also, avoid sending a generic thank-you from a template you found online. Positive lasting interview impressions often lose their luster thanks to a generic follow-up. Instead, get personal, be honest, and treat the follow-up thank-you note as another way to sell yourself, your skills, and your experience.