First Impressions Count, but Last Impressions Count More
Most interviewees understand the importance of making a powerful first impression during the interview, because it can set the tone for the interview from there on in. There are countless studies that show that interviewers form their impression of you within the first 30 seconds. And if you make a serious mistake in this opening phase, you may find it hard to change the interviewer’s first impression.
But, you don’t have to be a total hostage to the first impression counts phenomena, as you have a second chance to make a stronger and longer lasting impression at the end of the interview. Yes, it’s no coincidence that lawyers spend an inordinate amount of time crafting a powerful and persuasive closing statement at the end of the trial; they know it will have an extremely influential effect on the jury. Similarly, a study by Luchins showed that the information presented last was more influential than information presented at the beginning (primacy, recency effect) Yes, they revealed that your opening statements are important in the short term but after a period of time what you presented last is most important. This means that although first impressions do count, last impressions are more important in the long term.
And one of the best ways to make a strong, final impression at interview is to deliver a powerful closing statement, designed to highlight your suitability to the role and company and show that you are a great fit. Ideally, your closing statement would be delivered just before you leave, when the interviewer asks if you have anything else to say. This means that you can be sure it will really be the closing statement and will be foremost in the mind of the interviewers.
And having secured the stage for your closing statement, your statements should ideally take the following format:
Initially, start by bullet pointing the main reasons you want the job, and try to show why it’s uniquely appealing to you. For example:
This position is the exact challenge that I have seeking for some time now, because it allows me to combine my supervisory skills, technical skills and personal passion for photography.
And then show them how your skills can address their top priority issues as uncovered during the interview. For example:
You made it clear that your top priorities are to bring a greater customer focus and international focus to the operation, and I am sure that my 8 months working in our international client’s office, helping them to integrate their new product, means I am perfectly poised to bring these qualities to your team.
Make sure to trigger the visualization and decision making processes by saying something like, “What will be the next step in the selection process?” and/or “When would you like the successful candidate to start?”
Now, you don’t want to leave a lasting impression of being a bore; so, be precise and concise and close out your side of the interview by thanking them for taking the time to see you. When prompted, leave the room in a confident and optimistic manner to make the best possible final impression of someone with purpose.