How To Professionally End An Interview As The Interviewer

The interview process is important to get right, for both the person being interviewed and the interviewer.

For the interviewer, this is the process that will ultimately determine who will be joining your company. It can either make for great improvements in your workflow or for more stress for everyone in the office.

While every part of the interview is important, knowing how to close an interview professionally can make a huge difference as to whether a candidate accepts a job offer. Keeping a calm, neutral, and polite face during this final section can ensure that your candidates are getting fair representation and closure. 

Here’s how to professionally end an interview as the interviewer.

If you wish to pick up some tips on how to start the interview, here you can find our guide on how to greet the candidate. 

Why the end of the interview matters

The end of the interview is essentially your segue into the next part of the hiring process.

It’s also the point during which your interviewee is going to be paying the closest attention to your words and actions, as they are anxious to know their status.

Giving a calm, professional, and neutral impression is a good way to help the interviewee relax and avoid giving them either false hope or a false sense of failure. To end an interview successfully, you should

  • Allow the candidate time to ask questions
  • Address the next steps in the interview process
  • Thank the candidate and escort them out
  • Compile your notes for the decision-making process

Doing this will help both of you feel more confident in continuing the search for the correct candidate for the position. It can also help you avoid messy, awkward closings.

A job applicant nervously awaits the outcome of an interview.

Allow the candidate time to ask questions

One of the most common pieces of advice given to potential interviewees is to have a list of specific, thoughtful questions prepared for the end of the interview.

So, as the interviewer, it benefits you to allow them to ask their questions.

Allowing your candidate to ask questions lets you gauge the level of interest they have in the position.

Even if the questions are somewhat generic, having any at all proves that they’ve done research into interviewing successfully, meaning they care about the position.

You may also get specific questions about your company and the role they’re interviewing for, which shows even higher dedication.

It also means that you can address any topics that weren’t covered in the main interview, such as role-specific benefits, performance evaluation, and company culture.

You may not have thought of a specific detail as important, but your interviewee might have concerns they would like to address as early as possible.

This lets both of you know exactly where you stand in terms of compatibility.

Finally, allowing questions lets you eliminate certain kinds of people from the interview process.

You might eliminate a candidate who asks about certain policies with an angle toward bending or breaking them or come to find that the client has realized something about the position that simply doesn’t suit their situation.

This can be a great way to amicably end the interview process without awkwardness.

Address the post-interview details

Let your candidate know when they should expect a response from you, and how that response will be delivered.

You can and should provide them with the contact information they’ll need to be on the lookout for – some people will not answer unknown numbers or emails for safety reasons.

You should also reaffirm that the contact information you have for them is correct.

At this point in the process, it isn’t a good idea to offer them a tour or introductions to other team members, as this may offer the false impression that they have already been accepted.

For this same reason, you should avoid letting your enthusiasm for the candidate be too obvious or answering questions that are specifically looking for an “am I hired” response.

Try to stay neutral and professional.

Offer general feedback if the candidate requests it, but remind them that it is too early in the process for you to have made any definitive decisions on hiring.

A new employee looks overwhelmed whilst being given a tour of a vast white office.

Thank the candidate and escort them out

It’s important to thank the candidate for their time.

This ends the interview on a positive note and leaves them with a good impression of the company.

Remember, a good candidate is also interviewing you – you want them to like the company they may potentially work for.

Even if they aren’t going to be hired, having a good interview experience can make for good word-of-mouth marketing for your company. 

Walk your candidate to the exit, either an elevator or the front doors, depending on the situation, if possible.

You can either do this yourself or, if you have another interview immediately, ask a co-worker to do so.

This prevents the awkward situation of them becoming lost in larger office spaces, or stopping and chatting with your co-workers, which is at best distracting and at worst annoying.

Compile your notes for the decision-making process

Once the candidate has left the interview space, take the time to sit and compose your thoughts.

How did it go?

Did they have the right qualifications?

How did their personality mesh with yours?

Are they a good fit culturally?

Write down detailed notes – it may even be a good idea to keep a running checklist to use for all candidates.

Having this information will make sorting candidates for the next part of the process significantly easier.

It can also help remind you of anything that stands out in the interview as an immediate red or green flag.

Some red flags you might look for are

  • Behaving poorly on the way into the interview (i.e., mistreating coworkers or arriving late)
  • Paying little attention during the interview itself (i.e., messing with a phone or huffing and checking the time)
  • Proving unknowledgeable about certain key qualifications on their resume (they may have lied or exaggerated)
  • Getting too personal or inappropriate during the interview (i.e., asking questions about you that have nothing to do with the work, asking for personal contact information, using excess profanity, making inappropriate comments)

Sort your candidates into categories such as “Second Interview,” “Potential Hire,” and “Not Hiring.”

Be sure to put all of your notes and other candidate files away before the next interviewee comes into the space.

Closing notes

Finding the right candidate for an opening can be stressful for everyone involved. But it doesn’t have to be so intimidating for the interviewer.

Remember, you’re the one in charge of the situation.

While this places responsibility on you, it also means that you control the outcome and can get exactly what you’re looking for.

As long as you can gauge their interest and fit, you don’t get too excited or give off the wrong impression, and you keep detailed notes, you can make sure that the right candidate has a solid, positive impression of your company before they even get an offer.

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