In any job interview it is important to ask for the close, but if you are in sales it is a must. A well-executed close is your chance to leave a strong final impression, so it is imperative to give it some thought ahead of time. There isn’t any all-purpose close though. How you close will depend a lot on where you are in the interview process and with whom you are interviewing.
Closing a First Interview
In most cases, a first interview is focused on explaining the role and making sure you check all the boxes on experience and culture fit. It’s not common for an offer to come after a first interview, as the hiring manager typically hasn’t learned enough about you to make a decision. Straight-up asking for the job at this stage would be tone-deaf, so instead your close is simply securing a second interview. There are a handful of ways to do this, but the most common is asking for the next step. “This role sounds like a good fit, and I’d love to discuss it further with you. What’s the next step in the process?”
Closing an Interview with the Hiring Manager’s Boss
Sometimes you will have an interview with the hiring manager’s boss. There are many things you must prepare differently for this kind of an interview, and your close is no exception. This is an opportunity to show that you understand their roles within the organization and within the interview process. It would be inappropriate to ask the manager’s boss for an offer, since it technically isn’t his decision to make (you better have won them over, though). Instead, you want to ask for a recommendation for your hire. “I think I’m the right person for this job, and I hope I’ve demonstrated that in this interview. Can I have your recommendation to [insert hiring manager’s name here] for this role?”
Asking for the Offer at the Final Interview
There isn’t any single best way to close your final interview, but typically you want a more assertive close than in previous interviews. You can go the most direct route and simply ask for the job; however, that may be something the hiring manager has heard a dozen times and it may come across as stale. My personal favorite is what we refer to as The Summary Close.
A strong summary close begins with thanking the manager for their time; move to reiterate the positive experience you’ve had throughout the interview process, while highlighting your excitement about potentially joining the team. Finally, if you’re confident that this is the role for you, let them know! Intimating that if, in fact, an offer comes your way, you’ll be accepting, is a great way to complete your close and solidify the rapport you’ve worked hard to build. This move isn’t too presumptuous, but shows that you’re assertive and will put yourself out there.
Read the Situation
How do you know what kind of close is best? You have to read the situation. In each step of the job interview process you should be asking questions to identify what the hiring process looks like and what each interviewer’s role is. Beyond that, look for context clues and closing signs from the interviewer to gauge how they feel about you as a candidate and whether they are close to making a decision.
Remember, interviewing is an art, not a science, so there are no hard-and-fast rules. You have to do your preparation, evaluate the situation, and make what you feel is the best decision.
What closing questions have you had success with?