Yesterday, we tweeted that you should watch the #debates from a hiring perspective. @dbenk replied: “Well, yeah, that’s what we’re doing, right?”
Totally right. Americans are in the process of hiring the next president. And instead of being the job hunter, we get to play the role of the hiring manager. But I had an epiphany during last night’s debate: in America, presidential candidates definitely have it easier than job candidates.
A Must-Have You Probably Don’t Have
In a debate, the candidates get to stop answering questions and then turn to the audience and offer their closing remarks. They’re saying, in essence: “Here’s why you should hire me.” In the real world of getting hired, most candidates never do this. And that’s a mistake that I’d like to correct.
Guns, having a strong close may seem like an afterthought in a very demanding job search process, but I assure you that it can be a subliminal decider between whether you make it to the next round or not.
In an age where constant emails, back to back meetings, and having neither the time nor the bandwidth to eat lunch away from your desk is the norm, having a strong closing statement helps your signal cut through the static. It also helps a hiring manager not only like you, but remember you. That’s what you want in the early rounds. After all, in a given interview round, you may be one of five or more super-smart people that got interviewed that day alone. If you’re the one candidate who ended with a strong close, your chances of being the one they remember increase exponentially. Clients often gush about candidates who closed well, saying that they found the person confident, with a clear understanding of how to translate their skills and experience in a way that applied to the needs of the job.
Wrap It Up
I’m not going to lie to you about this: getting good at closing takes practice. Sure, it can feel awkward and even cheesy at first, all the more so because there’s no moderator to prompt you. That’s why you have to work at it. But once you’ve introduced it into your interviewing approach, it will become a core tenet of your interviewing strategy for life. When done well, a strong close is truly a twist on the old “elevator pitch;” it’s just as concise but way more relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.
During the close, it’s your job to highlight:
- That you’re interested.
- That you could rock it.
- That you have unique skills and attributes that set you apart from your competition.
If you can wrap this all up and fire it through the lens of the job in question, you’ll have upped your chances by 1000%.
Think back to every interview you’ve ever had. Chances are that you’ve walked out of at least half thinking, “I could have nailed that if only they’d asked me about X.” Next time, don’t wait to be asked. Offer what they missed in your closing remarks. Make them modular. Be able to take stuff out and slot things in depending on how the interview goes. If you’re an A+ student, you’ll write it all down before you go into an actual job interview and test it on a friend or in front of a mirror.
Don’t Make It Awkward
We all know that most interviews end awkwardly. The interviewer usually runs out of either time or questions and you part ways with a sweaty handshake that neither party is particularly looking forward to. But a good closing can help take the ick out of the situation.
Your chance comes when the interviewer says, “Did you have any questions for me?” Instead of saying, “No, I think you covered everything,” be bold and ask one great question that you haven’t already covered or couldn’t figure out in your pre-interview research. When the interviewer — who’s no doubt impressed by your inquisitive nature — says, “Is there anything else?” Say, “No, but I really would like to thank you for your time and end by saying [insert your close here].” In doing so, you get to offer a final “why me” and wrap your conversation nicely and tightly. Even the hiring manager will appreciate the lack of awkwardness.
Like last night’s debate, interviewing for a job is all about annihilating your competition. If you’re not sizing up your competition and thinking about how you can come off as more prepared, more experienced, and more engaged than them, you’re already behind.