Interview Tips

This post is sponsored by FGS Recruitment, a boutique recruitment agency within Digital Media, Learning & Development and Business Information.

How many times have you left an interview wondering where you stand with the hiring manager or what the next steps were? If the answer is ‘many’ then you probably haven’t been asking one very clear question.

Think of this scenario; you’ve spent a good amount of time preparing for the interview, researching the company, working out the best route to get you there, ensuring you arrive on time and answering the questions put to you in the interview to your best potential, and then at the end of the interview you are asked if you have any questions and you say… NO! No matter how impressive your CV is and how well you have done in the interview, saying no to this question could automatically put you out of the running.

First vs. final impressions

You’ve heard of making a good first impression, well it’s also important to make a good final impression too. Closing an interview is arguably the most important stage, especially for a sales role. After all, would you get to the end of a sales pitch and not ask for the business? So whilst you’re preparing for your interview and the questions to ask during an interview, also think about how you are going to close your interview and the questions to ask. We give some of our tips below…

Summarise your interest

Towards the end of the interview you may ask questions such as “What is the key to success in this role?”, “How would you describe the workplace culture here?” or “What are you looking for in the ideal candidate”. These are great questions but they are NOT closing questions so at the end of the interview, don’t be shy about expressing your enthusiasm for the role and use this to lead into the close. For example, start by saying, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I am convinced that this position would be a great match for my skills and I am interested in moving forward in the process”.

Follow up with a closing question

Examples of these would be, “Based on my previous experience and the skills we have discussed during this interview, how well do I fit the profile of the type of candidate you are looking for?” or “What type of concerns do you have about me that would prevent you from moving me forward in this process?”. This is a soft but very effective close and does not make it possible for the interviewer to give a simple yes / no answer.

Go hard or go home

Another type of close would be to follow up your interest in the position with “Do you have any reservations about me?”. This is one for the brave and is essentially a closed question with a yes / no answer which we would not usually recommend unless this is followed up with a very hard close. For example, if the interviewer answers no, depending on what stage of the interview process you were at, a hard close would be “Great, can we go ahead and schedule a time for the next stage” or “Great, when can I start?”. Of course if the interviewer answers yes, then this gives you the opportunity to ask about those concerns and address each one individually with the aim to put any worries to bed.

Dare to be different

A very strong (and brave close) that candidate of ours recently gave after being asked the standard “Do you have any questions for me or about the role?” by a HR Manager at their interview was “Yes, I have lots but not many that can be answered quickly. Shall we book in a 2nd meeting now?”. This obviously only works if you can back this up with having done your research about the role and company and feel confident that you have questions that only your new potential Boss could answer.

By closing your interview as above, you will leave the interview knowing exactly where you stand and you will also show the interviewer that you are interested in the position. A solid close as you round up the interview along with full preparation and a great first impression will result in you making the most of your interview opportunity and hopefully get you hired.

About the author: Billy smith is Managing Director at FGS Recruitment. Check out their website for more job-seeking advice.

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