Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Close the Interview Deal and Beat the Competition

You’ve tirelessly searched for a job. You’ve made contacts. You’ve sent emails. You’ve gone through the interview experience.

Now you can just sit back and wait for the golden phone call, right? If only it were that easy.

For some job seekers, landing an interview can seem like a one-way ticket to getting hired.  However, this is not always the case. There are probably dozens of people applying for the same job. These candidates could be saying the same exact things you did. They may even have better articulation or know the CEO in some way. In other words, they may be at an advantage. So, how are you going to stand out?

One of the things many job candidates fail to do correctly is taking those next steps after the interview. This means more than waiting for a phone call. It means closing the interview properly so that phone call happens.

Here’s how to tactfully close an interview and beat the competition:

Ask about next steps

When your interview comes to a close, you need to do more than shake the interviewer’s hand and leave. Always ask about the next steps in the interview process. For instance, the organization may require a second interview. They may need samples of your work. They may not anticipate actually filling the position for another month. You don’t want to be waiting for a response. You want to be completely aware of every step you can take to ensure a positive end-result.

How to do this better than the competition: It’s all about taking charge of the situation. If the company suggests sending a list of references, do so. If they want to connect on LinkedIn, don’t wait. If they’d like a second meeting, respond promptly. Always see that your plan extends beyond the first meeting.

Send a thank you note

One of the token ways to reach out after a job interview is to send a thank you note. Some suggest going the traditional route and sending a handwritten note through snail mail, while others recommend email. Some even advise doing both. The method through which you send a thank you note is obviously situational. For example, more formal organizations may appreciate something traditional, while laid-back offices would prefer an email. However, thank you notes are more important than ever because the pool is so saturated with candidates.

How to do this better than the competition: Regardless of your method of choice, remember a few things: Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Additionally, note a few conversation points which particularly spoke to you. For example, if you and the interviewer connected on long-term organizational goals, be sure to mention it in the thank you note. If you both found a portion of the interview amusing -- and the situation is casual enough -- bring it up.  This solidifies any sort of relationship that was made during the interview, which will hopefully translate into a job opportunity in the future.

Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. 

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