When it comes to interviews, the impression that you leave with the hiring manager at the end of the interview will have a profound impact on their memory of you.
And, leaving the interview on a good note can boost your chances of getting hired.
I have hired hundreds of people over the course of my career, and here are the top 5 things that winning candidates did to close the interview.
1: They asked an insightful question. For example, “I noticed that your software product competes directly with X. What’s your key differentiator?” Or, “I read that one of the benefits of working for this company is attending paid conferences. Can employees choose the conferences they go to?”
Always have a couple of questions ready to go. I’ve had candidates tell me, “Actually, I think that you have answered all of my questions already.” That’s the wrong thing to say.
2: Thank your interviewer. Believe it or not, I’ve had countless interviews where the candidate never said “thank you”. Never said “I appreciate your time”. You might be surprised at how a simple, genuine, “thank you” can leave the hiring manager with a good impression.
But, don’t just say, “Okay, thanks” either.
Make your thank you genuine and sincere. Say something like, “Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I really appreciate it and I hope to hear from you soon.”
Make eye contact with everyone in the room as you say your thanks.
3: Re-state why you are the best candidate. Take the opportunity at the end of the interview to quickly summarize your key strengths. Mention how your experience can directly impact their organization. Don’t ramble. Instead, make your summary short and sweet.
Try something like, “As I mentioned before, I’ve worked for XX years on exactly this system and completely transformed the way my previous company did business, and I’m confident those skills can work great here.”
4: Your ‘handshake’, even if it’s virtual, matters. Pre-coronavirus, a firm handshake at the end of the interview was an indisputable indicator of confidence. If you’re interviewing in person, don’t be afraid to initiate the handshake either rather than waiting for the hiring manager to extend his or her hand. Your handshake should be reasonably firm. Make eye contact during the shake. And if there was more than one person interviewing you, shake everybody’s hand, not just the manager.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get. And, I could always instantly tell someone who took the time to practice their handshake. Believe it or not, it makes a difference.
5: Ask about on-the-job training opportunities. I rarely got this question, but when I did, I instantly knew that this person was different – in a good way. Ask the hiring manager about things like attending professional conferences or training seminars, or even web-based classes to improve your skills (ie: Skillport, Lynda, etc). Even if there aren’t many opportunities available, simply asking about them could impress the hiring manager.