Learn the secrets of interviewing in this 3 part series that takes you from setting your interview goals to closing the deal. An in depth strategy for anyone who is about to begin interviewing for a job or internship.
Closing the Interview
You’ve answered the interviewer’s questions to the best of your ability; asked intelligent, well prepared questions in return. Now what? Let’s go back to the original theme of the interview as a sales meeting. A time-honored strategy in sales, now is the time to “recapitulate the benefit and ask for the order.” How?
- Reiterate what you’ve learned about the position and its requirements.
- Briefly highlight what qualities or skills you have which match these needs.
- Clearly express your interest in the position and enthusiasm about the opportunity.
- Ask what the next steps will be and when you should expect to hear from the company.
After the Interview
Assuming the interview went well and your interest level is high, evaluate how well the same did in much as the interviewer rated you. What did you handle well or could have handled better? What did you learn that would help you next time? Then, ask yourself:
- What makes me a good candidate for the position?
- What information about myself do I need to clarify?
- What potential concerns or objections might the interviewer have about me?
This will help you in the last step of the process – sending a follow-up letter and/or email. Sending a “thank you” will set you apart from other candidates. Use the information from assessing your interview performance to determine what you want to include in the letter. If there was more than one interviewer, address your correspondence to the person in charge of the department, or “decision-maker,” and copy everyone else.
Some Final Thoughts
Learning how to be successful at interviewing is a skill you can acquire with time and practice. Some are better at it than others. What makes the difference is how well you know your “product” (you) and the needs of your target employer market. A good place to start is with the YSN Assessment to get a clear understanding about what “works for you at work” and where the best opportunities exist for your professional success.
For many, interviewing and “selling yourself” seems to conflict with personal beliefs of how a person ought to behave. Bear in mind, the interview is about reporting facts from your past, not boasting. Finally, most interviewers will expect you to be a little nervous. That’s okay. In many cases, the interviewer – especially if the person has limited interviewing experience – is probably nervous, too. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be better at it than the interviewer!
Bob Cohen is an assistant director at the career services office at Harvard University.