Companies want people who want to join them, so it is always wise to make clear you have interest in the job for which you are applying. Playing hard-to-get might be okay if you are a recruited candidate and pursued by a company, or as a dating strategy, but if you are an applicant seeking further consideration, sleep-walking through the interview, being aloof or feigning disinterested doesn’t quite make sense, does it. And sales people especially take note, if you’re seeking a sales position and you don’t Close them, you're toast, you won’t get called back. A sales manager once told me, with regard to a failed applicant he interviewed for a sales position; he said, “…if he couldn’t close me I can’t depend on him to close a customer.”
Applying this technique you’ve then got to consider when and how to apply it in differing interview formats; how would it differ between more than one person, panel interviews, round-robin interviews, telephone interviews or assessment centers?
One-on-one interview – Close as described.
Panel interview with 2 or more persons – Close the panel collectively.
Round-robin, (consecutive) interview – Close each person, subsequent pair or group you meet.
Telephone interview – In this situation Close with a clear intent of seeking a face-to-face, in-person interview / meeting.
Assessment center – Close each person you meet or station you rotate through by asking, “What is the next step?”
Closing the interview is most effective and powerful in one-on-one and panel interviews. It is still useful in round-robin interviews because, although one interviewer may not take notice, there is a chance it will resonate with someone else and that can only be a good thing. For a telephone interview your goal is always to get a face-to-face interview because meeting in person is always preferred. Lastly, nothing says you’re just a number as when you participate in an assessment center; it’s like speed-dating for job seekers. I mean, really, how can an interviewer really learn anything about you in a few minutes when the clock is ticking and others are standing in line behind you? But at least you can show your intent by asking for and about the next step.
And what else does Closing the interview do for you? You’re taking some small measure of control over your fate in the process of which you are an integral part, so when you depart perhaps you’ll exit with some tangible indication of how it went and what may lie ahead. Or just don’t worry about it and be like most others who said, “um, uh well thank you, I hope I hear from you.” And spend the next days and weeks frustrated, waiting and watching for an email or a phone call.
For more about the rationale behind the method of Closing, in the context of selling and why it absolutely applies to the interview process, please refer to my blog post of 19 November, 2012.
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