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How to Strategically Exit a Job Interview

When the interviewer signals the end of your job interview, make a strategic exit by repeating the qualifications and benefits you bring to the job. Immerse your departure in verbal persuaders and interactive selling. You're a great match for the job, a wonderful fit!

Never leave a job interview without knowing what happens next. Prop open the door (figuratively speaking) for your follow-up.

Your parting sales pitch

Interviewers often forget what they hear during the course of an interview. Start your close by restating your five best skills. Then ask:

Do you see any gaps between my qualifications and the requirements for the job?
Based on what we've discussed today, do you have any concerns about my ability to do well in this job?

You're looking for gaps and hidden objections so that you can make them seem insignificant. But if the gaps aren't wide and the objections not lethal to your candidacy, attempt to overcome stated shortcomings.

After you restate your benefits, you may find the time is ripe to reaffirm your interest in the job. Here's one way:

I hope I've answered your concerns on the X issue. Do you have further questions or issues about my background, qualifications, or anything else at this point? This job and I sound like a terrific match.

If it seems appropriate, try to lead subtly toward an offer.

I hope you agree that this position has my name on it. As I understand, your position requires X, and I can deliver X; your position requires Y, and I can deliver Y; your position requires Z, and I can deliver Z. So there seems to be a good match here! Don't you think so?
I'm really glad I had the chance to talk with you. I know that with what I learned at Violet Tech when I established its Internet Web site, I could set up an excellent Web site for you, too.

Leaving the door open

How can you leave the door open for a follow-up? You seek the interviewer's permission to call back. Use these statements as models to gain the permission:

What is the next step in the hiring process, and when do you expect to make a decision? (You're trying to get a sense of the timetable.)
I'm quite enthusiastic about this position. When and how do we take the next step?
May I feel free to call if I have further questions?
I appreciate the time you spent with me; I know you're going to be really busy recruiting, so when can I call you?
I look forward to that second interview you mentioned — can I call you later to schedule it after my work hours so I don't have to throw off my current employer's schedule?

In the final moments, be certain to express thanks to the interviewer for the time spent with you. Say it with a smile and a firm but gentle handshake: "It looks like a terrific opportunity — I look forward to hearing from you." Don't linger.

As soon as you're alone at a place where you can make notes, write a summary of the meeting. Concentrate especially on material for your follow-up moves.

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