It was one of the most bizarre situations that I've encountered in my career.
After receiving positive feedback from an initial phone interview, one of my candidates was scheduled for back-to-back in-person interviews with a trio of senior executives at the headquarters of a global financial services technology provider. The candidate didn't make it past the first interview. The interviewer wrapped things up after a 15-minute discussion with the candidate and left, presumably to see if the next interviewer was ready.
That's when the unexpected happened -- the client's recruitment coordinator entered the conference room where the candidate was situated and said that the other two interviewers were unavailable, and that they'd get back to him with next steps.
There were no "next steps."
What could the candidate have done differently before the first interviewer left the room? For that matter, what about individuals who believe their interviews went well and are waiting to be called back?
Here's a game plan to obtain real-time, accurate feedback during interviews for those with the courage to go for it. The three things you should do in each and every interview are:
Probe for perceived gaps
Ask your interviewers whether they have any concerns about your ability to be successful in the particular role for which you're interviewing. If no major concerns are raised, you should state your interest in the opportunity (if it's true) on the basis of what you've heard so far. Mention that you're curious as to whether they'll be recommending that you move forward in the process. If they say yes, ask about the timeframe for next steps and what will be expected of you. Say this:
"I realize the issue at the moment isn't whether you're prepared to make me an offer right now. We both know that, between now and the time you receive a formal acceptance and start date from your candidate of choice, you're going to do what you believe is in the best interests of your organization. That's not the issue. The issue is how close I've come in terms of addressing my relevancy for this position. Do you perceive my candidacy to be a strong fit for this particular position at your firm at this time, or would something need to change? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being that you're absolutely delighted with the prospect of working together, and 1 being that you're shocked that I've come this far in the process, where do I fall on your scale?"
Will there be next steps?
If the interviewer places you high on the scale, ask: "Will you be recommending that we move forward in the process?"
What is the timeframe?
If the answer to the previous question is yes: "Great. What's the next step, and what's your timeframe?"
If you wrap up your interviews with these specifics, you've interviewed successfully regardless of the final outcome.Alan Geller is the Managing Director of AG Barrington, a specialized financial technology recruitment and placement firm. View Full Bio