Typically an interview closes at the whim of the interviewer thanking the applicant for coming in and answering a few questions, but a savvy interviewee will take the opportunity to close the interview instead, leaving a positive impression with the interviewer.

There are many ways to close an interview, but the important thing is to not close the interview too early accidentally, watch for clues from your interviewer, both verbally as well as non-verbal. Standing up and walking towards the door is usually a good clue that the interview is over. At that time, it’s advisable to spin up your own close to let the interviewer know where you stand. There’s nothing wrong with leaving a clear impression with your interviewer as long as it you do so positively. Even if there is absolutely no chance that you are interested in the position, you never know where this ‘meeting’ could lead, possibly you may be referred to another division of the company, or for a more senior role, or maybe you struck such a rapport with the interviewer, that he’ll mention you to a personal friend as someone that impressed him in an interview. You should never burn a bridge with an interviewer; you never know when or where your paths may cross again.

If you were absolutely convinced that the position you just interviewed for bears no interest at all for you, simply thank the interviewer for his time and show your appreciation for having them consider you for the position. A firm handshake and a smile are always appropriate regardless if the position is one that you are interested in or not. Don’t make the mistake on the guidance of a third party recruiter to overwhelm the interviewer with your enthusiasm for a position if there is no chance that you would take it. The recruiter is setting you up to try and get an offer so that they could ‘hammer’ you in it to collect a fee. Simply be polite and thank the interviewer for their time. It’s always best to be honest and sincere. Don’t ruin an entire interview by a lousy insincere close.

Alternatively, if you would just die if you don’t get the position, a much stronger close would be appropriate. A favorite of mine is, “Thank you very much [interviewer’s first name] for the time you have taken to interview me for this position, I am very interested in your organization and hope you are considering me as your strongest candidate. I look forward to taking the next step.” Again, a firm handshake and a smile are always appropriate. By using this close, you are not giving away any negotiation strength, but rather gaining power by letting the interviewer know ‘I like you! -Make me an offer!’ but a bit more subtlety.

Regardless of the type of close you wish to give your interviewer, don’t feel like you have to rush out of the office with your hair on fire. If your first contact before the interview was with an administrative assistant, make sure to thank them too on the way out for their hospitality. You might be surprised, but a lot of executives count on their assistants to give them an added opinion, and it’s best to not only try to impress the interviewer but everyone you come in contact with; after all, you may just end up working there someday!

About the author:

Bill Gaul (bgaul@destinygrp.com ) With 15+ years experience of helping veterans transitioning to the civilian workplace, after himself graduating from West Point and serving in the Army as a helicopter pilot, Bill Gaul is an Author, speaker and President/CEO of The Destiny Group, given the Weddles Users Choice Award for 2005 and chosen as one of the TOP 50 Career Websites by CareerXRoads, the only veteran specific job board to win this honor for the past 3 straight years. The Destiny Group operates the career centers for more than 50+ Veteran Service Organizations/Associations and has a reach of nearly 3 million veterans through its network. Bill’s articles are Copyright 1997-2005, The Destiny Group.

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