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Interview Tips

For interview confidence know the interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Use your online Career Tools to practice or rehearse with a friend.

Interview Tips: How to close the interview and get on the shortlist?

The goal of any initial interview is to be included on the shortlist, as recruiting managers usually interview a long list of applicants, with the objective of putting together a shortlist for final interviews.

In previous updates we highlighted that the most important things to do in any job interview are to answer these three key questions:

  1. Can you do what you have said you have done in your CV?
  2. Can you do the job that you are being interviewed for?
  3. Will you fit in well with the team and the company?

In this update we will expand on the final part of the interview - Will you get on the shortlist?

Having successfully completed each of the sessions with good and informative answers, this final part of the interview is where you are given a valuable opportunity to ask some questions. Your questions and how you handle this final stage of the interview can often be a make-or-break situation.

There are a number of considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Always have a list prepared of questions, with some space to fill in the substance of the reply. This is one way of demonstrating your preparation and research. Be mindful that over preparation can sometimes result in overselling.
  2. Keep in mind that this is not Twenty Questions, so limit your questions and prioritise them in case you run out of time. Keep some questions for the final interview. It is more quality than quantity that is important.
  3. Never ask questions about pay or benefits at this stage of the interview. At this stage of the interview you are not negotiating your package, but try and deflect any attempt to narrow your package expectations by focusing on the role and that you are flexible on negotiating an appropriate package.

Here are three simple steps to ensure that you are getting on the shortlist:

  • Use high pay-off questions to demonstrate your competence and fit, by linking your questions to some of the questions and answers covered during the interview. Sometimes it is possible to engage in this during the interview, but be mindful not to interrupt or hijack the interview, by maintaining the flow and limiting your questions.
  • Ensure that the interviewer knows that you are interested in the role and would like to be included in the final shortlist. Sometimes candidates play their cards so close to their chest that the interviewer detects an ambivalence and lack of desire work for the company.
  • Towards the end of the session, ask the interviewer if there are any concerns or gaps that have been identified that may prevent you from being shortlisted. Confident interviewers will be more willing to provide you with feedback. By putting this issue on the table, you are giving yourself another opportunity to dispel any concerns by adding more evidence of your fit and suitability.

With this final update on this topic, we have included some valuable information to assist you in getting an offer of employment, and to close the interview off in a strong and conclusive way.

Travel safely!

Charles van Heerden

Expert
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Charles is an HR careers expert with a strong focus on talent management. He has been an HR Director in three countries, a senior line manager and a consultant. Charles holds a degree in Psychology and has completed advanced studies in HR and change management.

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