The real risk? The last five minutes of an interview

You have spent a good hour putting in tons of effort to look interested, dynamic, perceptive, curious, and—five minutes to the end—you lose your balance and wipe out. One last question knocks you off your feet, you let out a thank you that sounds fake, an innappropriate gesture right as you’re leaving.

Here is some advice to keep the latter in the world of fiction and to stay in control until the end, even afterwards.

When the last question needs to be… yours.

As the interview is coming to a halt, the recruiter asks you one last question, the killing blow: “Do you have any questions?” You know the recruiter wants to throw you off guard and will pay careful attention to your reaction than to your question.

However, be ready to hear the question and prepare some counter-questions for when the time comes. Avoid asking about salary, benefits, and when you will get a call back. Prioritize company questions: What characterizes the company culture? What possibilities are there for career advancement? What are the challenges faced by your service? Is it possible to contact you if I have any other questions?

Know when to conclude and let it go

Some of you might be tempted to relax, to loosen up, to clam up or act casual near the end of the interview. Don’t let down your guard, stay on your toes up to the last couple of minutes. Once everything is on the table, don’t hesistate to end the interview by proposing to summarize what you learned about the position. This attitude lets you show off your structured and dynamic side—a dynamism that tapers off with every passing minute.

Finally, remember to thank your recruiter with a few positive words (I hope we have the opportunity to work together) instead of less desirable turns of phrases (I hope you will choose me) or the cliché expression (It was a pleasure to meet you).

Post-interview assessment

The interview has ended, you collect your things, bid the recruiter farewell, and shake her hand. Then, all of a sudden, you hear: “I’ll walk you to the elevator.” Um, this interview is taking an informal turn and still needs some assurance. Don’t let the silence take over, instead let the recruiter discover another aspect of your personality by addressing a lighter subject in your immediate environment: the modernity of the building, a poster, a map  indicating company subsidiaries, and anything else you can find. Once you reach the elevator, give the interviewer a firm handshake, a sincere look, and you’ve won!… or almost.

Keep in mind, even if the recruiter isn’t next to you, his colleagues still are. Once you’re in the elevator, lobby, or parking lot, curb the temptation of calling up your friend to discuss your interview in a critical, sarcastic, or innapropriate tone. Remember, the walls have ears.

To sum it up, nothing is better than refencing those two famous researchers who, in the sixties, discovered that the first impression (the primacy effect) is just as important as the last (the recency effect).

Now, you’re informed on the importance of putting the finishing touches on your interview and let me assure you that you will always keep this conclusion in mind!

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