You’ve rehearsed your answers for the tough job interview questions, but are you ready to end the interview? While it’s true that first impressions are important, many people forget that last impressions tend to linger. Ending a job interview is nearly as important as starting one.

This was backed up by Brian Sekandi, a partner at Gilmore Partners, a Toronto executive placement firm. He told me that one of the important things in an interview is how you end it. “Just as importantly is how you end the interview, so just shaking their hand and saying ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ is not really the best last impression you want to make,” he says.

Human Resources expert Sarah Paul agrees that your attitude at the end of an interview can help or hurt your chances. She says, “Show confidence by giving a firm handshake and making strong eye contact.”

Her other suggestions include:

Avoid looking needy – make the interviewer feel like you have other options on the table.

Asking if it would be appropriate for you to follow up in a week regarding the status of the recruitment also demonstrates assertiveness and shows you are not afraid to take control of your career.

You can also suggest that the interviewer please contact you should they have any further questions/clarifications. This shows you are collaborative and want them to have as much information about you as possible.

If you think you did a terrible interview, don’t show it. Good interviewers can read body language.

Keep your head up, have a strong handshake and maintain eye contact.

Make sure you get a business card so you can email a thank you note.

Marci Schnapp-Rafael, president of TeamQuest Systems Inc. also suggested the following actions to ensure you leave a positive lasting impression:

  • Leave behind examples of your work and positive evidence of what you have testified to during the interview
  • Stop talking and exit gracefully

She cautioned that sometimes job candidates unconsciously sabotage their job chances at the interview. Some of the actions she has seen include:

  • Leaving behind garbage like an empty Starbucks cup or water bottle. She adds, “Not that you should bring your own into the interview in the first place.”
  • Taking a call on your cell phone as you are walking out the door.
  • Continuing to talk or ask questions even after the interview has ended
  • Slamming the door, stomping feet or showing any signs of being emotionally upset.

The end of the interview is the final chance you have to make a good impression, and as Paul says, “Even if you don’t think it went well, confidence goes a long way and is sometimes more important than how you answered that dreadful ‘give me an example of a weakness’ question.”


See also:

How to shine during a telephone interview

Interview tips from the Toronto Academy of Acting

The 5 most common interview questions (and how to answer them like a boss)


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