Someone asked me a good question, and I thought other readers would benefit from the answer. I invite you to post your own responses & comments as well…
Asking for the next steps is a good idea, though it should be AFTER you’ve asked questions to uncover any problems that might exist with your candidacy. One way to ask is along the lines of:
“I’ve gotten the interview, established good rapport and made it known that I’m interested. How do I close the deal or get the job? Some say simply ask for the job! I usually ask what is the next step before a decision is made. That is when I hear, “We have (X-number) more candidates to interview before we decide.” I then thank them once again for their time and reiterate my interest. What should I be saying?”
“What else can I tell you to convince you I’m the person you would want to hire for this position?”
Their answer, both verbal and non-verbal, will give you important clues, perhaps even downright objections, that you can address right there and in your thank you letter. If they don’t express an objection outright, but the body language or lack of enthusiasm suggest they have them, you could try following up with something like:
“I get the sense that you have some reservation about my candidacy. Can I ask what that might be?”
After you find out the next steps, and the time frame for those steps, you should set your own action step, along the lines of:
“Since you expect to make a decision on second interviews next week, I will give you a call a week from Monday if I haven’t heard from you by then.”
If they say that it’s too soon, then just push the date back, but still leave yourself a specific date you will call them. This gives you the chance to model how you do business – professionally persistent, taking action, doing exactly what you say you are going to do when you say you will.
Finally, go home and within 24 hours write a marketing letter to everyone with whom you met. Notice I didn’t say a thank you letter. Of course, the ‘excuse’ is to thank them for interviewing you, but the purpose is to make your strong pitch for why you are a great candidate for the job, using what you learned during the interview. This is your chance to leave them a reminder of what you would bring to the table, and to show your confidence in presenting it. It’s also a chance to fill in some important quality you neglected to bring to light in the interview, or to try to strengthen an answer that you don’t think you delivered that well during the interview.
For more on “How to Hit a Home Run in Interviews”, check out this article: