By Rayni Joan

How many times have you left a job interview and wondered how well or how poorly you did? What did the interviewer think of you? Unless you get a call-back, you may never find out! As a sales professional for many years, I developed a tactic for making specific closing remarks that put an end to any doubts I might have about these matters. Here's how I do it.

When it's apparent that the interview is just about over - perhaps the interviewer has just thanked you for coming in - sit calmly, take a deep breath, and, in the parlance of sales, "go for the close"- which, in this case, is the interviewer's opinion of you so far. This is the time to ask a question you phrase something like these:

  • Thanks so much for this opportunity. Based on what you've just found out about me, do you think I'm a good match for this job?

  • I've enjoyed this interview very much. You've made me more interested than ever in working for your organization. Based on this meeting, what's your take on how I might fit in?

Be prepared for any kind of answer. Many interviewers will tell you they're favorably impressed with you, but the process has just begun and they'll be interviewing many more candidates before making a decision. Some may be frank and tell you they like you personally but because of this or that consideration, they don't think you're a good match. Others may be brutally honest and dismiss you coolly.

You can take it from there. If you get a negative response, at least you know this isn't going to be a likely opportunity for you. If you get a positive response, you might ask what the timetable is for their decision making and what the next step is, if they decide you're going to be moved up to the "short list" of candidates. If they like you but think you aren't a good match for the particular position, you can ask whether they think there's any other opportunity in their organization.

This is an unusual and rarely discussed tactic, but it's so helpful that I advise you not to be shy about seeking the true opinion of the interviewer. The important point is that you believe in yourself no matter what, and that you aren't walking out of the interview in the dark about what just happened. You've given it your best shot, and now you're closing to learn the other person's opinion.

Good luck and remember to "go for the close."