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How to Close a Job Interview on the Right Note

With only a few minutes to go in an interview with a potential employee, you can bring the session to a graceful close by following these steps:

  1. Offer the candidate a broad-brushstroke summary of the interview.

    Sum up what the candidate has said about her fit for the position, reasons for wanting the job, and so on. This summary demonstrates that you were a sincere listener and that you care about the candidate as a person. That leaves a good impression. It also gives the candidate an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.

  2. Let the candidate ask questions.

  3. Let the candidate know what comes next.

    Advise the candidate how and when you’re going to contact him and whether any further steps need to be taken — for example, forms or tests. This practice not only is a common courtesy but also creates a good impression.

    Also, let him know you’ll be in touch regardless of the hiring decision. Not all companies say, “Thanks, but no thanks” to rejected applicants, but it’s a sign of respect and consideration.

  4. End the interview on a formal but sincere note.

    Thank the candidate for her time and repeat your commitment to follow up. Either stand or shake hands again. This action formally ends the session and provides a signal for the candidate to leave. Walk the applicant out of the office to the elevator lobby or front door.

One last suggestion: As soon as possible after the candidate’s departure, take a moment to collect your thoughts and write down your impressions and a summary of your notes. You don’t need to make any definitive decisions at this point, but recording your impressions while they’re still fresh in your mind will help you immeasurably if the final choice boils down to several candidates, all of whose qualifications are comparable.

Along these lines, collect all feedback from other interviewers who met with the candidate the same day that they met with him. This allows you to gather feedback while it’s still fresh and when it’s most relevant.

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