Interviews are a dreaded, yet necessary, part of the job application process. As an interviewee, trying to sell yourself in a conversation with a total stranger is awkward enough. Surprisingly, though, interviewers also have their awkward moments. Unfortunately, that awkward moment for both parties is at the end of the interview.
The interviewee, ever hopeful, wants to hear something encouraging. The interviewer, ever practical, doesn’t want to give false hope when there are many more candidates to interview for the position. What usually results is a disappointing end to the interview, by all accounts. Rather than leaving things on such a bad note, here are some best practices for ending an interview for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
As an Interviewer:
As the interviewer, it’s your job to make sure your organization is represented in the best possible light. Do you over-promise and under-deliver? Do you give hope to candidates who aren’t even in the running? Alternatively, perhaps you’re not encouraging at all to interviewees, leaving your top candidates in the dark about where they stand.
It’s important to find a balance between the two. If you’ve eliminated a candidate from the running after an interview, send a follow up letter to let him or her know so they can move on. For those that have done well, let them know that you’ve enjoyed talking with them and give a time frame for making a decision or conducting a second round of interviews.
As an Interviewee
Interviewees often sail right through the interview doing fine until they reach that unavoidable question: “So, do you have any questions for us.” If you answer “No,” you’re probably not going to get the job. Prepare thoughtful questions ahead of time. Ask what qualities the ideal candidate for the job would possess. Inquire about their retention rates, the company culture, the development of the new YSI meter, or just clarify details that may have been fuzzy on earlier in the interview.
This is not, however, the time to inquire about benefits or salary if they weren’t listed in the job posting. If you’re invited back for a second interview or are made an offer, that’s when you talk about salary or benefits.
So that you’re not left wondering, ask if they follow up with everyone regardless of whether they hired them and, if so, when they expect a decision to be made. Sometimes the process takes longer than anticipated, but this can at least give you a ballpark figure to work with so you can know whether it’s time to keep looking.
Follow these tips and make sure your interview ends as it should – on a positive, professional note.
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