Your job interview is almost over. You want to stand out, to be memorable to the hiring manager, to close the deal, to get an offer… What should you say?
That’s the topic of the August 4, 2009 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter. (You don’t get it? Then you… don’t get it… So get it. It’s free.)
If you missed the newsletter, I’ll post my suggestion about this baffling challenge. But first I’d like to hear from you: What do you say at the end of your job interviews to cinch the deal?
Make it explicitly clear you want the job. Don’t assume that the hiring manager knows that. You might well be giving off vibes of indifference. Lack of enthusiasm is a killer for me.
“Thanks very much for having me here today, Ms. Adams. I enjoyed talking about Yoyodyne and your IT infrastructure. I’m sure I can help the department move forward, especially on the LDAP server issues we discussed. What are our next steps to move forward?”
Ask for the job at the first interview? No way. Like landing that big new client, the first interview is always a fact finding mission. I am interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing me. Do I want to work for them?
Show enthusiasm and make it clear you are interested in continuing the dialogue. Ask the interviewer, “what is the next step?” Is there any additional information or documentation I can provide them. Finally I ask when we can arrange the next meeting (not interview).
Always follow up every important meeting with a handwritten note. I use high quality note cards with my name printed on them and a business card enclosed.
I tried this once….actually following Nick’s advice of asking the question have I said or expressed to you in anyway information that makes the interviewer believe I am not a perfect fit for the job…..I have said exactly, I am really interested in this position based on our discussions today, and I would love the opportunity to share my skills and talents as the xyz…..I did not get the job…..and was told I was too forward…..go figure…..
No wait, I’ll just be all meek, not have an opinion and become another automaton…..interesting, the company is no longer in existence…..perhaps if they had been a bit more open to edginess, they might have been more successful.
@Andy: You still didn’t say it ;-). “I want this job.” or “I want to work on your team.”
Ya gotta say it. There is no substitute.
@Greg: Did you actually say, “I want to work on your team”? Regardless, when an employer thinks you’re too forward for tackling the subject head-on, there’s a different problem. (Mind you, this does require some tact. But I still contend that “I want to come work for you” is a necessary statement to make.
@Wheezer: Point taken. What I’m talking about (my fault if I wasn’t clear) is the end of the interview process… Let’s put it this way. If you figure you’re 51% of the way there, then say it. That might take several discussions at different times.
Mind you, that does not commit you to accepting an offer. Wanting a job and liking the terms — those are two completely different things.
I always say, “I am very interested in this position.” Is that not good enough? (I say it at the end of the first interview, whether or not they have said there will be a second interview.)
Always let the interviewer know where you stand. If this is the first interview, make a statement such as “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, you’ve probably noticed that I did a lot of research on Sprockets Inc through a variety of sources and combined with what I learned through this interview was very helpful in coming to the conclusion that I believe I have the talents and skills you seem to be looking for and I just want you to know that I’d like to join your team.” Next I’d ask what was the next step in the hiring process.
In other cases I might ask “as far as my qualifications and personal qualities for this position go, do I have the necessary requirements to work on your team?” You have to know where you stand in the mind of the employer.
Interviews should sort of be mini trials Opening statement – Tell me about yourself
Proving the case
Summarizing your case
One HUGE thing for me is the questions asked at the end. Hopefully the candidate has been asking insightful, probing questions throughout the interview. However, when a candidate asks great questions at the end and then uses the following dialogue as a chance to emphasis their value and desire for the job, this can be compelling. Then of course end with saying that you want the job. I think that just saying this is not enough. You need to build up to that apex so that they believe you and see your value.
@Dan: Aw, now you’re opening up a whole can of worms… all the OTHER stuff to say during an interview… ;-)
I like how you put it: map your value onto answers you get to great questions you ask about the work. It’s important to think about this. Most managers suck at interviewing. They use a script, or they wander. It’s up to you to bring them back to “the work” with polite but specific questions. Think about these in advance. Do it right, and you can close the interview with a summary of the “issues the manager brought up” (thanks to your leading questions) and bing, bing, bing how you’re going to deal with them. I call that “doing the job to win the job.”
Here’s a related (little) article:
The last thing to say is “I’m ready, when do I start?” There is some humor to that, but show that you are ready to roll.
But before then, your questions should force them to explain how they measure success, and a clear understanding of their culture. Honest people will not sugar coat it.
@Joe: “force them to explain how they measure success”
BRILLIANT observation. If a company doesn’t know how to measure whether you are successful at your work, WHY would you trust them to pay you adequately? (Why would you even want to work there?)
See also http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/crocs13canalwater.htm
I alsways ask the How Do You Measure Success question in some format during the interview.
– What Is The Biggest Issue That You Need Resolved
– How Will You Tell That I Was The Right Hire After 6 Months On The Job?
At the end, I also like to ask What Concerns You About Hiring Me For This Position. Opens up an opportunity to address any peceived deficiencies.
Hi everybody, I want to share a personal experience during an interview. Before I went to the interview I had a good understanding of the position and what is required to be done. I got the job, and what made me stand out from the crowd was a question I asked: what does it take to be successful in this job?. The recruiter looked at in disbelieve, I actually stand out, and I got the job.
one more question I asked is: when do you want the new hire to start? this gives me a date to stop pursing this opportunity.