Many job candidates prepare well for the interview, connect well with the hiring manager, and then stumble at the end of the interview session because they’re not comfortable asking for the next step. It feels awkward, or too bold, or even weak (as in, “if they want to hire me, they’ll have to ask me—I’m not begging for the job”). That’s not the way to look at it. Hiring managers will tell you that candidates who don’t ask something about what the next steps are usually feel that the candidate is really not all that interested, after all. You have to ask for the job.
The job interview is a sales process. In this transaction, you are the product and the hiring manager is the buyer who needs a solution for his problem. You’d never pitch a product to someone and then fail to ask for the sale (and if you would, you’re probably not a very good sales person).
And it’s really not that hard. At this point in your interview, as you’re thanking them for the opportunity and telling them how much you’ve enjoyed speaking with them, all you have to say is something like,
“Based on our conversation, I think this is a fantastic fit. Do you agree?”
“Can you see me being successful in this organization?”
“Have I convinced you that I’m the right candidate for the job?”
“Is there any reason you wouldn’t move forward with me?”
“Can I count on moving to the next step in the interview process?”
These are all closing lines. And some of them might sound cheesy to you, and you can change them to whatever is more appropriate for you, but the thing to remember is that even the cheesy ones work. What they do is find out what’s going on. Have you convinced them to move you to the next step or not? Because if you haven’t, you need to deal with it right there, before you lose your chance. If you have, you can stop right there and wait for the next step.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t that a bit pushy?” It seems like a “sales-y” thing to do. It even seems scary, because you’re essentially saying, “Do you like me? Do you want to go to the prom? Would you think about dating? How about getting married?” It feels personal, especially if they say no. And guess what? It IS personal. But it’s personal whether you ask it or not, or whether you get a no or a yes. You need this job or you wouldn’t be in there. You deserve this job, and you’re perfect for it. And if you don’t ask, you miss the opportunity to deal with whatever objection they have…and maybe it’s a stupid, insignificant one. Maybe they just think you live too far away and don’t realize you’d like to move—or are moving anyway. Maybe they just think you don’t have “X” experience—but you know that your “Y” experience transfers. The important thing is that now you know exactly what’s going on in the process, and exactly what they think of you.
And, it demonstrates tremendous confidence, strength of character, pride, commitment, and just generally that you’re not messing around here. It can be scary, but every time one of my candidates or clients tries it, they are rewarded, and I know you will be, too.
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