How to Close the Sale at the End of the Interview

The Pride of Ownership Technique

Not sure how you are doing in the interview? Want to greatly increase your odds of an offer? You can do both with the Pride of Ownership Technique. To use this simple technique during the course of the interview, simply start giving your replies and asking your questions in terms of ownership—as if you are already part of the company. One way is to formulate the last part of your response to a "Teamwork" question with, "What kind of departmental structure will I be working in with your company?" Note the important difference. You are not asking, "What kind of departmental structure does your company have?" This is detached. You need to attach yourself to—take pride of ownership in—the employer.

Why? Two reasons. First and foremost, it establishes the link between you and the company. This is critical in helping the interviewer visualize you actually working for the company—the offer will never come if they cannot get past this step. Second, it provides you with instant feedback as to how you are doing within the interview. If the interviewer balks at your question or reshapes it by unlinking—especially by adding the "if" word in restating your question or reframing into the third person—you have a pretty good indication that you have not fully sold them on you. But if they accept your language and begin talking about you as if you are a part of the company, you are probably in a good position to close the sale.

The Competitive Posture Technique

It's important to maintain a competitive posture in the interview. The employer should be aware that they are not your only suitor. There is a delicate balance to maintain in letting the employer know that you really want to work for them while also making them aware that you have other options. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is by comparing it to dating. Sure, you love him/her and only him/her, but if things don't work out, there are plenty of other hims/hers ready to ask you out. Right? There is always another potential suitor waiting in the wings if this doesn't work out. You get the general idea.

This posturing is very simple to incorporate into your interview language. Frame it in the form of a simple 1-2-3 engage / disengage / re-engage statement. Example:

  1. "After what I've heard from everyone here at the company, I'm more convinced than ever that I would be an excellent contributor to your team. Just say the word and I'm ready to come to work for you."
  2. "Of course, I do still have several other interviews currently pending."
  3. "But at this point in time, yours is the company where I would most like to work."

If you feel comfortable with closing the sale, you can add the "Are you ready to make an offer?" question to the last statement above. The point is that you have put a limited time offer on your enthusiasm—if they want you, all of you, they better move quickly and decisively.

The Lockdown Technique

If you are truly interested in the job, one thing you should do at the end of the interview is recap: (1) why you feel you are the best candidate for the job (give two or three of your strongest attributes and/or qualifications), and (2) restate your interest in the position by asking for the job. Do not expect the employer to make the first move. Let them know of your interest and desire to work for them.

It is interesting to note that fewer than 1 percent of all college students actually ask for the job. It's almost as if they assume their interest in the job to be a given. But it's not. So those who take this extra step will put themselves far beyond the rest of the competition. It makes the interviewer's job that much easier to know that you want the job—that you really want the job—and will greatly increase the odds of an offer either on the spot (it does happen) or in the very near future.

Remember that you cannot close the sale except with the person who can actually make the purchase. So if you are interviewing with Human Resources, close by asking to move forward to the next step in the process, which will likely require meeting with the Hiring Manager. When you interview with the Hiring Manager, you should now be ready to close on generating an offer.

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