Knowing what to say at the end of an interview isn’t always easy, especially if the interview wasn’t the best and you don’t plan to move forward with that candidate. I suggest following three simple steps to wrap things up and graciously communicate clearly what’s next.
Step 1: Let the candidate ask questions.
This is a really good opportunity for you to learn more about the candidate. They’ve just spent time answering your questions – now, inquire if they have any to ask of you. This could shed some light on what’s important to them in a new job that they may not have revealed through your questions. It could also help show their preparation for the interview itself, and overall interest in the position.
Step 2: Explain what comes next.
There are three scenarios here. Either the candidate is moving forward, is not moving forward, or you have other candidates to interview and just aren’t sure yet. Here are some ways to handle each:
Process continues: If you want to move forward with a candidate, outline the next steps. That might include taking a personality assessment, or other test, sending in references to call, and setting up another interview. Let them know how you will be in touch (personally, someone else at the company, or through a recruiter), and a timeline in which they can expect to hear from you. This keeps them engaged in the process, and shows you know what you’re doing when it comes to adding talent to your team!
Process ends here: If you don’t intend to move forward with the candidate, thank them for their time and simply let them know you (or the recruiter with whom you’re working) will be in touch. This is not the time to make promises for second interviews, or say anything that may lead them to think they are still in the running for the position. You don’t need to let them down right then and say they’re not a right fit; but don’t over promise either. After the interview, it will just take a few moments to reach out to that candidate and, again, thank them for their time and let them know the company is moving forward with their search with other candidates.
More candidates to interview: You can let the candidate know you have other candidates to interview! Simply thank them for their time, and let them know you will be in touch after the rest of the interviews are complete. Again, give them a timeline for when they will hear more. If you have interviews through the rest of the week, let them know to expect a call or follow-up sometime the following week.
Step 3: Be sincere, but formal at the end.
This is the easiest step! You’ve set all the expectations already. Now, thank them again for their time, reinforce your commitment to follow up one way or another, stand up and shake their hand, and walk them out of the office to the lobby or exit.
Dear Kristy is a bimonthly column that’s all about answering questions from our recruiting clients! Kristy Sifford, founder of Wylander, and her team bring more than four decades of recruiting experience to the table! Kristy is constantly getting unique hiring and HR-related questions from her clients, and is here to answer them! Have a question for Kristy? Shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!