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How to Close the Deal on Your Next Job

“What can I do to earn this job today?”

I have to admit just writing those words gave me cold sweats as I flashed back to my car buying days. I remember the salesman’s words as if they were spoken yesterday: “What can we I do to earn your business today?”

I remember the fluorescent glare of the dealership lights, the greasy-marked white walls and the beaten-down looks that my wife and I exchanged as the salesman proceeded to block us in the sales manager’s office until the dealership’s lights were shutting down and the place closing down. We kept trying to tell him we were just looking, and he kept trying to “earn our business – today.”

The guy knew his stuff. He knew that as soon as we set foot outside of the dealership his chances of closing a deal dropped by 70 percent. Little did he know that we had heard the pitch elsewhere and as soon as the words came out of his mouth he was 100 percent surely not going to make a sale.

There’s a fine line when it comes to confidence and cockiness when it comes to salesmanship or job interviews. Whenever you go on a job interview you’re always walking that line between being perceived as a knowledgeable resource or a boorish know it all.

Recently a blog post headline that read “Don’t make this critical interview mistake,” caught my eye. Basically the author, or in this case the vlog spokeswoman, was pitching the idea that you needed to be a closer when it comes to interviews. She explained that the “closing” concept came from the sales world.

“What can I do to earn your business today?”

Interviews are always tough, even when you know the interviewer or the company you are applying to work at very well. There’s a mating dance you have to go through that involves a delicate balance of should I ask this or when is it okay to say that? It’s tricky, you don’t want to overplay your hand and be that guy, but you want to be firm and confident in your pursuit of the job.

Our trusty vlogger said that an interviewee needs to close by saying “… blah, blah, blah, and I feel confident that my skills will benefit your company, and when can we set up another meeting to discuss this opportunity further?”

Pow – what can I do to earn your job today?

Wow, I’ve never had that kind of confidence. As a person who was formerly involved in hiring, I find that approach over the top. First, you have no idea of the company is even interested in you. Second, this forceful approach puts the interviewer in the awkward position of having to decide on the spot whether or not you’ll even be considered. My guess is that unless it’s a high-powered environment, you probably just lost the job on the spot.

To my thinking, it’s better to let your interview sink in a little bit with both sides of the job-seeking ritual. You need to absorb what you saw that day, and the people making the hiring need time to process your responses during the interview.

Finishing an interview strong is important. So often we just let thing drift off with the obligatory notion that both sides will be in touch. Interviews can drain the energy out of you both physically and mentally, so it’s important for you to have an exit strategy going into every interview.

Hint No.1 is to have three questions scripted and ready. After the back and forth of the interview, the person usually turns to you and says, “Is there anything else you’d like to know?” Generally, you’re so exhausted by then you just want to head for the door, but if you have your three questions scripted out it will make the process easier, and you’ll finish strong without overstepping your bounds as a job-seeker.

  1.  Know enough about the company to ask how this job might fit in with the growth of the business.
  2. Ask the person to envision how the ideal candidate might fit into this role and what success will look like for that person six months down the road.
  3. Finally, ask what the hiring timetable for the job is, where they are in the process and what the best method to follow up on the hiring process is?

These questions will let the person know you’ve done your homework and you care enough about the business without coming off as a car salesman. They will also give you some insights into the difference between the written job description that was advertised and what the person or company is actually expecting of the employee.

Lastly, it communicates that you know the person is extremely busy in his or her work, but you want the job and are a team player that wants the best for the company. Putting them on the spot with a pointed question like “When can I come in again?” generally pushes both sides unnecessarily out of their comfort zones.

Hopefully, this will help you with the job-seeking mating dance as you walk that fine line between confident and cocky.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

About G Peters

Life during the last five years has read a lot like a country song for Greg. Got laid off ­– got hired. Went to work, and then the new job expired. Went back on the street looking for work, but who’s going to hire somebody older than dirt? Worked the graveyard shift for a year or two, hoping against hope to find something new ­– and at long last did, working in communications for a university. Dream job is still blogger-in-residence for YourCompany.Com, but thankful every day to have a workplace to call home. Best advice: never stop believing in yourself. Check out Xogdog's blog at www.xogdog.wordpress.com/.