Knowing how to end an interview professionally can be challenging for hiring managers. It's easy to find yourself talking in circles with the candidate, which can be both counterproductive and exhausting.
How an interview ends can be just as critical as how it begins and everything in between. The ending is often the takeaway for the candidate about how you operate as a company. For hiring managers, it’s also the opportune time to compile the complete assessment of the applicant.
Fortunately, there are ways you can end the interview cleanly, avoid any awkwardness, and ensure an effective takeaway for the applicant and interviewer alike.
Follow the tips below to end a job interview as the interviewer.
1) Allow the Applicant to Ask Questions
Prospective employees with a genuine interest in the role will undoubtedly have questions—indeed, questions are a sign of a solid recruit.
After going through the preliminary questions for the interview, allow the candidate to ask anything they wish to know about the role, company, etc.
Doing so will help both of you determine whether this partnership is a good fit. Moreover, you can learn a lot about a candidate based on their questions. A candidate who asks detailed questions has surely researched the role and your company.
Furthermore, it may highlight any important points you might have missed during the interview. Questions lead to answers, which typically leads to a good working relationship.
2) Map Out the Next Steps of the Hiring Process
Candidates dread not knowing what’s next. You can help relieve tension on both sides by clearly explaining what they can expect to happen next.
For example, you might tell the candidate that you and your team will evaluate their interview and get back to them in no later than two weeks.
Now is also a good time to double-check that you have the candidate's contact information. You should also let them know your contact details, so they don't accidentally miss your call or email.
Try to avoid answering any “am I hired?” questions, as some candidates will try to gauge the interview results during its conclusion. Instead, remain neutral and formal. If they ask for feedback, feel free to give them general responses.
3) Thank Them for Their Time
No matter how the interview went, you should always thank the candidate for their time and interest in the role. Not only is it a professional thing to do, but it will also allow your company to give a good first impression. The goal is to impress good candidates and want them to join your organization.
Even if they aren't the ideal person for the job, giving a good lasting impression on your company will still go a long way. You might even escort them out of the building or ask someone in your office if you have another interview lined up afterward.
Escorting them out will eliminate the awkwardness of the candidate getting lost or chatting with one of your employees.
4) Review Your Notes
You're probably aware that you should take mental notes during the interview to review them after. Once the applicant has left the room, the end is the time to write down your impressions so that you can return to them later.
Take a little time to think about how the interview went overall. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
- Is this person qualified enough?
- Would they fit into the company culture?
- Are they genuinely interested in the role?
- Is there room for improvement?
- Did their personality raise any red flags?
These questions will help you get a conclusive answer to see whether or not to move forward in the hiring process. Speaking of red flags, here are some common discrepancies you should be on the lookout for:
- Inappropriate behavior towards you or your coworkers
- Not mentally present during the interview
- Not being able to answer basic answers about the skills they listed on their resume
- Asking very personal questions about you or anyone in your office
- Speaking negatively about their previous manager or coworkers
After reviewing your notes, you can decide whether to schedule a second interview or pass.
Why It’s Crucial to End the Interview Correctly
The way you end the interview will dictate the rest of the hiring process. While the information gathering aspect of the interview is crucial, having a good ending will make the rest of the process much smoother.
Think of it as a crescendo in an orchestra. If the whole musical number sounds nice but has a horrible ending, what would your overall opinion be of the conductor?
Remember, the candidate is likely nervous and on edge. The unintended consequence of their nerves could be that you learn less about the candidate than you need to make an informed decision. Ending on a positive note can create a more comfortable interaction with the applicant.
What NOT To Do at the End of an Interview
Now that you have some ideas about closing the interview, here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Give the Candidate a Tour of the Office
The last thing you want to do is give the candidate the impression that they've nailed the interview and will be getting their job offer in the evening. Giving extra attention to the candidate by providing a personal office tour or introducing them to coworkers can be misleading, especially if it's the first interview.
There are exceptions, however. If the candidate requests a brief tour of the office so they can see where they may potentially be spending a good amount of their time, feel free. However, make it short and don't get too personal.
Getting Too Comfortable With the Candidate
You don't have to be robotic, but try not to get too comfortable with the candidate after the interview.
Even if the two of you hit it off and have common personal interests, remember that this is a professional matter. You can be friendly and talk about casual topics to build rapport, but it shouldn't go further.
As mentioned above, thank them for their time and escort them out once you've finished.
Hide Information About the Role/Company
While you don't need to disclose every detail about your company and its founders, refrain from concealing general information a candidate requests.
You need to keep in mind that the job applicant is also interviewing you during this time, and they have the right to know more about the position and your organization.
That said, you aren't required to answer any personal questions about yourself or any employee.
Gossiping or Talking Negatively About the Candidate
Even if the candidate was an absolute nightmare, avoid gossiping about them and giving too much information to your boss, friends, or coworkers.
In the digital age, gossip can spread like wildfire. Not only can this make your company look bad, but it could also hurt your professional reputation.
Let's face it—interviews can be exciting and daunting. However, they are essential for screening and choosing the best candidates to fill a role. Remember, ending the interview properly is just as important as the interview itself. Be professional, take questions, and let the applicant know the next steps.
Looking for resources to help find the perfect person to fill a role at your company? Get in touch with ScoutLogic and learn more about our services for recruiters and HR professionals.