How to close a Job Interview, Part 2

Previously, the best advice on how to end an interview was to inquire about the process and next steps. (You can read more on How to close a Job Interview from January.) That advice is still relevant, but this recent article from Brazen Careerist has additional suggestions.

To reiterate, however you choose to close the interview should be within your own comfort level and be reflective of how the interview went. You must be able to read the interviewer and determine from their body language, tone and facial expressions the correct next step.

As the Brazen Careerist author, Sarah Greesonbach, writes as the interview is winding up, “assess how you think you did. If you feel strongly that you’re still the prime candidate, ask any one of the following analytical questions (or more, if appropriate).”

Her suggestions are:

  • “May I have a tour of the office?”
  • “If you were forced to say yes or no to hiring me right now, what would be your biggest hesitation in offering me this position?”
  • “May I ask why you are interested in me for this position?”
  • “What are the most important characteristics you are looking for in the person you plan to hire for this position?”

To those I would add:

  • “Who else would I be working directly with in this position?” Followed by, “May I meet them?”

What would you add?

The current job market

Two recent Harvard Business Review posts cited some interesting statistics from the September U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“As of January 2012, the median time that wage and salary workers in the U.S. had been with their current employers was just 4.6 years,” according to the first HBR post by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott. “Other recent data points are equally disturbing: The staffing company Randstad says that 40% of employees are planning to look for a new job within the next six months. Another survey notes that 69% of employees are already at least passively shopping for new job opportunities via social media today.”

Further, most of those looking fall into entry-level positions. The old saying, people accept a position for the company and leave because of management may ring true. However, the perspective of this follow up HBR post also by David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott focused on how those managers can work to retain employees and convince them to stick with a company or organization for the long-term.

The authors suggest managers can retain employees by following the Five Rs of employee relationships, which is also a good list for a perspective employee to use to judge a perspective company.

Responsibility: How much responsibility will you have? Are you trusted to do your job? Are there ways for you to grow in the position or gain new skills?

Respect and Reward (these go together): How do supervisors in the company show they respect their employees? How are employees recognized or rewarded? How will I know you’re committed to me as an employee?

Revenue-sharing: What’s in it for me if the company does well this year? (Fair warning: it probably isn’t a good idea to ask the question exactly that way in an interview setting.)

Relaxation time: How is time off handled? Is it by department? What about sick time? In all businesses, there are busy times, what if you need time off then?

What else can you use to judge a potential employer?

Follow through

Just as important as showing up to a meeting and remaining present (read: not checking your phone incessantly, having side conversations, etc.) is actually doing what you say you will.

Everyone has experiences where the person or people who agreed to complete a specific task or help with a project, campaign, or committee falls off the face of the earth leaving you hanging. It sucks. Yes, the person might get away with it, but eventually they will be on the hook with a trail of disappointed colleagues and friends in their wake.

If you’re attending a meeting, take notes. Pay close attention to what’s required or asked of you and what you agree to do. Write those things down. Next to the items you volunteered for or were assigned, write down who the contract person is and the deadline.

A quick note about deadlines, they aren’t flexible. Deadlines aren’t created to be mean or make you rush. Deadlines are in place to keep the projects moving at the intended pace.

This article from the University of Wisconsin Academic Leadership Support office outlines ways to increase follow through.

“If people don’t follow-through on action plans, tasks and decisions after the meeting ends, then one needs to question the value of having a meeting in the first place.” To take that statement to the logical next step, if the meeting isn’t valuable, are the people valuable? And if the person isn’t valuable enough to attend the meeting, are they valuable enough to keep on the payroll? Or in the case of volunteer organizations, keep as part of that organization?

The bottom line is, if you don’t think you can deliver, don’t volunteer. If you’re concerned about an assignment, talk about it with your supervisor or the person who assigned you the task, separately, outside of the meeting. But don’t ever, just not do something, especially without communicating why.

Have you ever had someone not follow through on a project or task?