Everyone knows how important it is to make a great first impression, in all walks of life, both inside and outside of work. From a firm handshake, to strong eye contact, to a wide smile and impeccable punctuality, these things all pay an important part in that oh-so-important first impression, especially in a job interview scenario.
Most candidates are fully aware of the power of proper preparation and in ensuring they make a strong first impression in a job interview. However, many underestimate the importance of ending their interviews on a positive note, and thus leaving a lasting, memorable impression of themselves, and why they are the right person for the job. Finishing your interview in this way can be the key to your success. Here are some tips for making a great last impression:
Don’t leave all your questions until the end
If something seems relevant and important during an interview, and you’d like to find out more, then ask about it there and then. You can also try summarising or paraphrasing something your interviewer has said, and repeat it back to them in question form. Again, this shows you are paying attention. These tactics will give the interview a more natural flow, and will avoid it feeling like an interrogation. Obviously do so when the time is right, and be sure not the interrupt the interviewer mid-flow.
Let your interviewer know that you are interested in the position
Don’t underestimate the power of telling people face-to-face that you enjoyed the interview and that you are interested by the challenge of the role. So, before you leave the interview, thank the interviewer for their time, and let them know that you are interested in the role.
Take charge of what happens next
If you reach the end of the interview and have no more questions to ask, clarify what you have understood to be the next steps, and take note of these actions yourself. By taking control of this, you are not only showing that you are an organised and assertive individual, but you are also sparing yourself the anguish of not knowing when you are supposed to get in touch.
Stay focused until well after the interview
Even if the interview went well, don’t lower your guard or act overly familiar. You should still stay professional in your responses even when your interviewer is making small talk in the elevator. In the days following your interview, don’t connect with the interview on LinkedIn, as this can come across as presumptuous. Remember to also keep any email or telephone correspondence as polite and professional as before the interview.
Be organised and alert
At this stage, if you have followed my advice then chances are you have made a great last impression so far. Don’t ruin it by being unreachable once the interviewer or recruiter tries to get in contact once the interview is over. Keep your phone near you and on loud (but don’t keep checking it in front of your current manager!) Check your emails for good news, and respond quickly.
I’m also willing to bet that if you are actively job searching, you will have a few opportunities in the pipeline. When you speak to the interviewer, don’t mistake this organisation, role or even the interviewer themselves, for another one. Trust me, as a recruiter – there’s nothing more off-putting! Keep a list of the companies, hiring managers and job titles which you have or plan to interview with, and double check this list before picking up the phone or replying to that email.
Take the time to reflect
Finally, take time to sit down after the interview and prepare your thoughts and feedback whilst they are fresh in your mind. This will help to make up your mind about the opportunity. Having clear notes from a first meeting is a great way of ensuring that you go into a second interview with the best possible preparation.
Knowing that you are going to finish every interview in a way that inspires respect and confidence can be a great way of building confidence. Get this part right and your calm and assertive self will naturally take charge at other moments. Don’t forget, last impressions count too.