While it is true that the first few moments you spend with a person will help you form a lasting impression, those first few seconds are not the only crucial moments. Whether you're a job candidate or an employer conducting interviews, you should stay on your toes throughout the beginning, middle and end of the interview. At the beginning, you'll get to know the other person, and during the middle you'll typically delve into some deeper questions about the candidate's suitability for the job. At the end, it's time to wrap up and cover all the follow-up information both sides may need to know.
If the candidate hasn't had the chance to ask any questions, give her the opportunity to do so, as a way to segue into the closing portion of the interview. If you're the employer, ask an open-ended question such as, "What questions do you have for us?" If you're the job candidate, this is your chance to ask a few key questions that show your commitment and promise. Ask how you could exceed the employer's expectations, or whether there are any reasons the employer wouldn't hire you, suggests "Forbes." Then, do what you can to address any concerns the employer brings up.
Another step to take near the end of the interview is to ask the candidate to hand over her references and other material you may have asked her to bring. If you asked her to bring in a resume or work samples, the prepared candidate will have them ready. An even more-prepared candidate will have several copies of everything. As the employer, let the candidate know that you'll be looking over these materials as part of the hiring process.
The Next Steps
One of the very last steps at the end of the interview is sharing information about what happens next. If the candidate hasn't already asked about it, this is the employer's chance to say how long the consideration process is going to take, when you expect to hold any follow-up interviews and how you'll be contacting the candidate. As a candidate, this is your chance to let the employer know about any vacations you've booked or other circumstances that may make it more difficult to get in touch.
Leave on a Positive Note
During the last few moments, focus on making a positive, lasting impression. At the very end of the interview, thank the candidate for coming in. If you're the candidate, thank the employer for the opportunity to interview. Smile, give the other person a firm handshake, and let her know that you're looking forward to talking again soon. If you're the candidate, don't linger at this point -- the employer has made it clear that the interview is over, and trying to hang around a little longer may make you look unprofessional.
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