Knowing how to end an interview is a valuable skill that can greatly improve your chance of getting hired. Many applicants consider the interview finished when they stop getting asked questions, missing out on a tremendous opportunity to walk out on a high note.
This guide will teach you how to close an interview simply and effectively.
1. Recap What Makes You the Right Fit for the Position
You’ll have many opportunities to discuss your skills and qualifications throughout your interview. Interviews can last up to an hour for certain positions (sometimes even more). Hiring managers and interviewers will learn much about who you are and what you have to bring to the table.
That said, details can easily get lost in the mix.
Once you start getting into more complex, open-ended questions, the discussion moves away from your direct qualifications and more about what type of employee you will be. Those questions play a significant part in the hiring decision, but it’s always a good idea to close an interview by reminding them about your core qualifications. In other words, circle back on what makes you the perfect fit for this job.
You’re one of many people vying for the same job, so it’s wise to highlight your best qualities before you wrap everything up. End on a high note and tell them exactly why you are interested in the job and how you match what they are looking for.
This recap doesn’t have to be long-winded. You’ve already discussed your qualifications in detail by the end of your interview. Think of it as your “in conclusion” statement.
Remind them of your skills, past experiences, qualifications, and whatever makes you different. Creating a short list of selling points that tie directly to the job is a great way to approach this. Use the job description as your guide to connect these dots and leave a positive final impression.
2. Clear Up Any Mistakes or Confusion
Here’s another fantastic way to close an interview.
Many job-seekers breathe a sigh of relief as the interview nears its end. By that point, most people are ready to get out of the room and hope for the best. While those feelings are understandable, there’s a little more you can do to ensure you’ve left the best impression possible.
Use the end of your interview as an opportunity to clear up any confusion on your end or theirs. Perhaps the interviewer brought up some details about the job you needed help understanding. Now is your chance to ask those all-important questions and get the clarification you need.
Sidenote: This is why one of the things you should bring to an interview is a notepad to jot down notes.
Asking specific questions about the job or company can work in your favor. It shows that you’re genuinely interested and invested in this job opportunity.
On the other hand, you can ask questions that give the interviewer a chance to get the clarification they need. For example, you can ask something like:
“Would you like me to clear up anything about my background or qualifications?”
It can feel daunting to close a job interview with a bold question like that, but it could mean the difference between the hiring manager extending an offer and going with another candidate. It’s an effective question that encourages interviewers to be more open about their thought processes. They can bring up some aspects of your resume or details they learned during your discussion.
They can bring up any concerns about your candidacy or aspects of your qualifications that need clarity. Normally, those concerns would continue to simmer long after your interview. But when you clear up any mistakes or confusion, you can address their worries and leave them more confident about what you can bring to the company.
3. Show That You’re Excited About the Position
It’s always good to seize opportunities to reiterate your interest and passion for the position. This includes the closing statement you use in your interview.
Companies don’t want to hire individuals that are simply using jobs to get a paycheck or as a temporary stepping stone. They want employees who genuinely care about the job and want to make a difference at the organization. Ask any interviewer or hiring manager, and they’ll tell you that they pay attention to those subtle signs that show you care about the job.
Something as simple as saying that you’re eager for this opportunity and that it sounds like the perfect job for your skills can make a difference.
Tread lightly, and don’t overdo it. You don’t want it to seem like you’re trying to suck up to the decision-makers. Instead, focus on what attracts you to this job and why you’re excited to be a part of the company.
4. Give Them an Opportunity to Ask You Anything Else
No interview is complete without opening the discussion up to further questions. Many interviewers have a list of questions they want to hit, but there’s always room for more! There might be some things they want to learn more about, and this will give them a chance to bring those up.
An easy way to approach this is to ask the interviewer if there’s anything they didn’t get a chance to cover. That’s an open invitation to ask additional questions, get clarifications about certain aspects of your qualifications, and more.
Giving the interviewer the opportunity to ask more shows that you have nothing to hide and are eager to provide them with all the information they need to make the right decision. It’s also great for showing your commitment and passion for the position.
So remember, don’t get too eager to end the interview! These extra few minutes of discussion can ease any worries they have and move you to the top of the list.
5. Find Out What’s Next in the Hiring Process
When closing an interview, it’s always a good idea to inquire about the next steps in the hiring process. Depending on the job and situation, you could have additional interviews to come! Many organizations put candidates through several rounds of interviews as they narrow down their choices.
These additional interviews could be with the same person, or they might be with other decision-makers and department leads. Therefore, it’s important to understand what’s coming and leave an impact on every person you speak with during this process.
Ask about the timeline and when you can expect to hear back about decisions. Interviewers are usually forthright with the hiring process. They understand that you’re likely searching for jobs with other companies, and the information they provide can help dictate how you proceed with your job search.
Knowing when you might get a call about job offers is critical. It gives you a better understanding of what to expect, and when you should follow up.
6. Make Sure You’re Able to Contact Them
Remember to get the necessary contact information at the end of an interview. Even if you already have an email or phone number, take a second to confirm it with the interviewer.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, you want the correct email and phone number for future contact. Know who you should reach out to if you have questions or when you need updates about the hiring process. Generally, hiring managers try to stick to timelines and follow up when they say they will.
However, things can change quickly, and delays can extend the timeline beyond the standard two weeks. When that happens, you’ll need to know who to reach out to for clarification about the next steps.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to get the email of the person you speak with during your interview. In some companies, this may not be possible because they want to funnel all contact and correspondence through a single point of contact, such as the recruiter. It’s always worth asking.
Ask for the email of the interviewer. Doing so will allow you to send thank-you messages and show appreciation for their time. You’ll also want to contact that person directly if you have additional questions or need to follow up with new documentation.
Plus, it’s always good to have those contacts for networking purposes.
If you had a great conversation with the interviewer, keeping in touch can pay off, even if you ultimately don’t get the job. You might not be chosen for this particular position, but one that perfectly matches your qualifications could come up later. Exchanging contact information and making interviewers part of your network can lead to more significant opportunities in the future.
7. Thank Them for Their Time
Never close your interviewer without thanking everyone involved for their time. Hiring new employees is a time-intensive process, and going through the interview phase is a big deal. Just as you have spent time researching and preparing for the interview, the company is also investing time and resources into learning more about who you are and what you can bring to the organization.
The same goes for the individuals you meet.
Be polite and genuine in your show of appreciation. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture. But it’s always wise to close an interview with a touch of professional etiquette.
Shake everyone’s hands and thank them for taking time out of their day to meet with you. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way. It’s courteous and shows that you appreciate the opportunity.
Be kind, courteous, and appreciative, and you’ll leave a warm impression that people remember.
8. Send Your Thank-You Email
The way you end an interview shouldn’t stop when you walk out the door.
One of the best ways to make a great impression is to send a thank-you email. Some studies show that only one in four job-seekers send thank-you emails after an interview. You can set yourself apart by being that one person!
Countless hiring managers speak highly of the practice of sending thank-you emails. It leaves a substantial impact and can sway decisions in your favor.
First, everyone likes to feel appreciated. A brief message of gratitude once again puts your professionalism on full display. It also highlights your passion for this opportunity and reiterates your seriousness about landing this job.
Secondly, your thank-you email will keep your meeting fresh in the interviewer’s mind. In addition to the message of appreciation, you can provide a quick wrap-up of the interview and reiterate your qualifications.
Include a quick snippet of your skills and strengths while discussing your excitement for the opportunity. You can also provide any additional information that you didn’t talk about in the interview.
This part may feel redundant, but it serves a greater purpose. A simple “Thank you” isn’t enough to jog an interviewer’s memory. Bringing up specific details about your conversation will help them remember you from all the other candidates interviewed as they make those tough decisions.
Send your thank-you emails within 24 hours after your interview. You only have a small window to ensure that this follow-up message has its intended impact.
Now that you know how to end an interview, you should run through this scenario before your next chat with a hiring manager.
As you can see, the process for closing an interview isn’t complicated. All it takes is a little preparation!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.