Tip 8 – Last Impressions Last – Pt. 2

How Do You Close a Job Interview?
(Part 2 of 3)

Finish Calm and Strong

In Part 1 we detailed closing questions and their role in the interview process. Now we delve into the significance of the closing statement. Part 2 of this three part series will highlight the closing statement, and how it may be paired with your closing questions. Intentionally applying the thoughts shared in these articles will help you close the interview with confidence and leave a lasting impression.

Most often your closing statement will come after you ask your closing questions. Or it may be paired with a closing question about next steps (see example below). You want to wrap-up the interview with a strong statement that impresses the interviewer and leaves no doubt that you would be a quality hire. To do so, consider the following elements:

  • Affirm your interest in the position
  • Reiterate your key strengths and experiences (as appropriate)
  • Remain grounded and courteous

Five Examples of Closing Statements

Here are several illustrations of solid closing statements. Practice these and make them your own, so that you are comfortable. Then choose the one that best fits the conclusion of your interview. Deliver the statement with confidence and sincerity, and you will increase your chance of receiving the job offer.

1. Affirm your interest in the position
Ex. – “I have really appreciated learning more about the particulars of this position. Hearing some of the plans for continuing to grow the CPE program, and expanding the department’s capabilities for further integrating spiritual care into overall care delivery, has definitely heightened my interest in the position and its opportunities.”

2. Restate your key skills and experiences
Ex. – “By the way you’ve described the position, I think it’s a really good match with my skill set and experience. I would enjoy contributing my recently gained know-how for developing and offering virtual CPE – and familiarity with accreditation standards – having just completed leading a notation free, six year accreditation review.”

3. Highlight additional skills and experiences
Ex. – “We’ve discussed many of the related skills and experiences that I would bring to the position, but I would like to add that I have planned and implemented several successful student recruiting strategies that increased both the number and quality of program applicants. I would enjoy contributing my knowledge in the position you’ve described.”

4. Combine the closing question and statement
Ex. – “Thank you for taking time to talk with me today, and for considering me for the Educator opening. What’s the next step in the process?” (Pause, breathe and let the interviewer reply and as appropriate add the next sentence). “If there is any additional information you would like for me to provide, I’m happy to as we go forward.”

5. Finish with courteous confidence
Ex. – “Thank you for taking time to interview me. You have provided me with a clear understanding of the position and the department. I am confident that my experiences and skills would add to the quality of service already being provided. I am excited about the prospect of being offered the position and joining the Spiritual Care team.”

Last Impressions…Last

So if you want to make your last impression last, conclude your job interview with one of the example closing statements above, sincerely and naturally. This will impress the interviewer, improve your job search results, and help you get the position you really want.

Tip 7 – Last Impressions Last – Pt. 1

How Do You Close a Job Interview?
(Part 1 of 3)

Last impressions last!

Like most of us, you might not give the closing much thought during your preparation. You pick out the just right things to wear, you have a few good questions ready to ask, and maybe you even rehearse responses to anticipated questions. But do you assume the interviewer will handle the closing? Your plan is to say thank you and to make a quick exit?

If this is your strategy, you may lose out on whatever would have come next, including the offer. The interviewer will remember how you close your interview at least as much as the first impression, and maybe even more.

We assume you have already asked opportunity-specific questions. Why is it now important to ask closing questions?

Why Prepare Closing Questions

Differentiate yourself from other candidates under consideration

  • Once the interview starts winding down, there’s a sense of relief and desire to escape as quickly as possible.

Reinforce your continued interest in the opportunity.

  • If you don’t ask, the interviewer may assume you lack interest and eliminate you from further consideration.

Lessen the interviewer’s ability to make assumptions.

  • If the interviewer is missing or misunderstanding something about you, they may remain quiet and reach a wrong conclusion about you.

Provide a follow-up strategy.

  • Learn the employer’s preferred timing and best approach for following up.

Give yourself peace of mind.

  • After an interview, self-doubt tends to fill our head with negative thoughts. Knowing what’s next and when it will happen helps to quiet the chatter.

Questions and Phrasing Options

Here are two questions, with some phrasing options, to ask at the end of the interview:

1. Is there anything you’ve heard from other candidates that you are considering that you haven’t heard from me?

  • Have I answered all of your questions?
  • Is there any additional information about my background or qualifications you’d like for me to provide?
  • I would like to clarify any doubts now that may affect my chances of getting this job. Is there any reason why my application may not progress to the next step?

When asking one of the above questions, be sure you ask conveying sincerity and confidence. Make sure the question you choose fits the temperament of the interviewer – not too bold, not too soft, but just right.

If the interview is concluding and you ask only one question, always make it this next one (for all the reasons we’ve discussed).

2. What is the next step in the selection process?

  • I am truly excited about this position. So, what’s next?
  • Will you tell me about next steps in the selection process?
  • What is your timeline for making a decision? With that in mind, when should I plan to follow-up?
  • When may I expect to hear your decision?

Asking these two closing questions will help you make a lasting impression with the interviewer. You will improve your chance of moving to the next step in the selection process—or to receive an offer for the position!

Tip 6 – Are You Talking Too Much?

It may cost you the offer.

You go into the interview confident that you’re well prepared. Ready for anything. But are you? No matter how prepared you are, a potential obstacle still stands between you and the offer – Talking Too Much!

The nerves that arise when interviewing impact us in various ways. For some of us, our mouths become as dry as the desert, or our palms drip perspiration. Others become very shy, speaking in whispered tones and saying little. But, for quite a few of us, our nervous energy has us prattling on and on. Though seemingly not a big deal, this lack of self-control may very well cause you to lose your audience.

Key Point
Learn to find your balance before saying too much, but don’t clam up. Say just enough.

The more you talk, the more likely it is that you will say the wrong thing, or that people will forget what you said. The more someone forgets what you said, the more likely it is that they will remember something other than the main message you wanted to convey. You might even sell yourself out of the job.

Let’s consider a few reasons you might to talk too much, and what you can do to manage this tendency.

1. You think the interviewer wants to know more.
The interviewer asked a question, and you provided an organized and succinct response. Then the interviewer stays silent and just looks at you. You assume this is the interviewer’s way of wanting you to say more. So you do. In this situation, when you’re unsure what the interviewer wants, ask this before you continue: “Did I provide the level of detail you were hoping to get?” Or, “Was that the sort of example you wanted?”

Key Point
After 90 seconds of your continuous talking, the interviewer has probably stopped listening.

2. It’s unclear what the interviewer has asked
Occasionally, you may be unsure what information the interviewer is asking for with a particular question. If this happens, ask for clarification. “Would you please rephrase the question?” Or, “Would you please ask the question another way?” Having a clear understanding of the question lets you give a more relevant response.

Key Point
Pause to regroup, since continuing to talk will only worsen the situation.

3. You lose your train of thought, but keep talking anyway
If you do start rambling, pause for a moment and ask if you can rewind and answer the question again. Consider saying something like this, “I apologize, I was rambling. With your permission, I’d like to hit delete and start over.” Pausing to breathe will help you to regain your focus, hit the reset button, and provide an answer that is on-point. Key Point Pause to regroup, since continuing to talk will only worsen the situation.

Key Point
Re-engage the interviewer and conclude by summarizing the key idea of your answer.

4. A long answer to the question truly is required
What do you do when you are asked a question that does require a longer answer? When this happens, remember that interviewers are human, and on occasion their attention wanders. During your answer, you can lean forward at times, gesture a bit, smile, and use other techniques to hold their attention. Certainly at the end or your answer, you’ll want to draw the interviewer back in. Doing so can be as simple as asking, “Is there anything in my response that you’d like to know more about?”

Key Point
Re-engage the interviewer and conclude by summarizing the key idea of your answer.

Remember, the key is finding that sweet spot before saying too much. Say just enough!

Tip 5 – How to Answer – “Salary Expectations?” – (Part 2)

“How Do You Prep for Starting Salary Negotiation?”

An employer will not be surprised if you want to negotiate. Show them that you are prepared.

1. Research the Market – Consult ACPE’s latest salary survey, and keep the following in mind. First, look at the date of the survey. For every year past that date to the present, add 2.5-3.0% to the wage numbers shown, to better reflect current wages. Second, the survey reflects salaries for people that are serving in the positions, not salaries currently being offered to attract candidates; this difference may result in artificially suppressing current compensation conditions. One way to confirm the numbers is to talk with colleagues who have recently (within the last several months) changed positions or been actively recruiting to fill an opening. Cost of living in a particular area may have a slight influence on the salary offered.

2. Know Your Worth – Be prepared to explain why you believe you deserve a higher starting salary. Be able to directly tie your credentials, skills, and accomplishments to the position being offered. In advance, make note of specific examples that may increase your value to the employer (see “CART Stories” here).

3. Consider Total Compensation – Think through the total package that is being offered and consider having a “Plan B.” Consider what is important to you and what (other than salary) could make the offer more attractive. Some examples: relocation assistance, retirement matching contribution, and paid professional membership dues.

4. Practice Your Pitch – Ask an associate or mentor to practice the conversation you are likely to have with HR or the hiring manager. Have this person coach you on confidently presenting your request. Also practice answers to likely follow-up questions, such as:

  • Our survey data shows that our offer is quite competitive, and yet we are a few thousand dollars apart. Help me understand how you arrived at your number.
  • We are unable to meet your request—is that your bottom line? If not, what is the lowest number you’d accept?
  • For a starting salary, that’s the very best we can offer. Is there anything else we can do that would make you say, “Yes!”? If you have not already done so, you may ask the employer to share what the pay range is for the position, to help make sense of some of your own research.

5. Remember the Other Person – Thank the employer for their time and for considering you. By the time you receive an offer, the hiring manager has probably invested significant time and resources, as you have. Most managers dislike salary discussions, too. They are not “the enemy.” Share why the position attracts and excites you, such as curriculum development or having an opportunity to supervise residents. Maintain a positive and gracious tone throughout the compensation discussion. If you end up declining the offer, it’s important to do so in a professional and personable manner. This is a tightknit community, and you never know where your paths may cross in the future.

6. Know When to Walk Away – After a couple of back and forth volleys, if the organization is unable to meet your salary requirement or request for additional benefits, graciously decline the offer and look for opportunities that better match your compensation expectations. In some cases, the employer will counter-offer with a salary that’s higher than the first offer, but not as high as your request. If the new position shortens your commute, offers a more compatible culture or a more flexible schedule, or some similar benefit, you might find the lower salary offer acceptable. If the offer is still unacceptable, you should pursue other opportunities.

7. Ask to Receive the Final Offer in Writing – Get the offer in writing before giving your final “yes,” for several reasons. First, you gain the opportunity to step back and ponder what you are accepting, before negotiations are closed. Second, you want to have no doubt that the job offer as presented is solid and that there are no misunderstandings regarding the particulars (i.e., starting salary, other compensation and benefits, your start date). You may want to discuss something further, or have questions answered before fully committing. In some cases, you and the employer’s representative will sign the letter.

Things NOT to do when Discussing Compensation

1. Don’t Focus on Personal Reasons –Understand that money is money. There’s nothing emotional about it. Set emotion aside and focus on the market data, your accomplishments, and your contributions.

2. Don’t Initiate the Salary Discussion – Avoid introducing the subject of salary or compensation until after the hiring authority mentions it. Negotiation will be more favorable for you if you wait.

3. Don’t Offer a Specific Number – If pushed, avoid providing a specific salary (e.g. $79,500) and instead offer a range (e.g. 85 – 90K). If you do offer a range, the employer will typically lean toward the lower end, so be sure the lowest number you provide is still an amount that you find acceptable.

4. Don’t Ask for Too Much or Too Little – Don’t ask for a high starting salary if your research shows the position is worth less. By coming in too high, you may price yourself out of any offer. On the flip side, coming in too low may also price you out of receiving an offer, as the employer will assume you are not quite who they thought (and hoped!) you were.

5. Don’t Apologize or Be Negative – Most people “feel bad” about asking for anything. When you apologize for asking, or ask by opening with a statement of regret, you weaken your position and your chances of getting what you want. If the amount being offered seems below market, reply with gratitude and ask if there is room for negotiation. Salary (total compensation) is obviously important. To have any opportunity to improve the employer’s initial offer, you may very well have to ask. Applying the ideas presented in this article will prepare you to discuss salary confidently and graciously—and improve your odds of getting the total compensation you deserve.

Tip 4 – How to Answer – “Salary Expectations?” – (Part 1)

How to talk with your future employer about money. (Part 1)

“What Are Your Salary Expectations?”
When interviewers ask that question, what do they really want to learn? First, they are wondering if they can afford you. Does your expectation match what they are able or willing to pay? Second, they may want to catch a glimpse into your self-worth. Third, the employer wants to know if you have done your research.

When an employer makes a job offer, they usually present you with a starting salary and highlight the benefits being provided. The offer may be verbal or written. You will likely consider “negotiating” for a higher starting salary if you feel the offer fails to line up with your education, abilities, skills, and experience. You may also want to think about some other forms of compensation, such as a sign-on bonus, relocation assistance, or money for travel and training.

Knowing when and how to approach a salary negotiation is a valuable skill that will help ensure you are appropriately compensated for the work you are being hired to do. Like any skill, negotiation takes preparation and practice to do comfortably and with confidence.

TIP: Salary negotiation is a discussion between yourself and a representative of the hiring organization. The objective of the conversation is for both you and the employer to ensure you receive a fair and equitable starting salary. A typical salary negotiation will consist of one or two back-and-forth exchanges.

When is the Right Time to Talk About Salary?

1.  On the Application – Applications may require you to list your salary expectations. One option is to try to skip the question. However, you will probably have to answer. Here are some possible responses: Enter a salary range, based on your research. Write “negotiable” or something similar to show flexibility. If possible, avoid providing a specific number that may limit your options later.

2. After the employer’s representative brings it up – First, you should focus on the job, all that you have to offer, and organization’s culture. They know salary is important to you, but they want to feel that your top priority is the opportunity on the table. If the organization’s representative does not mention the topic, you may ask about compensation toward the end of the interview when you are likely to be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”

3. Once you receive the offer – After you’ve been offered the job, you can use the offer to your advantage. Consider asking for a salary that is five to ten percent above the original offer to see what your prospective employer can offer you in terms of higher pay. This is also the time when you may ask about other forms of compensation.

TIP:  To minimize going back and forth and to minimize potential for misunderstanding, try to negotiate by telephone or in person.


Ready – Begin your salary negotiation with preparation, practice, and self-assurance.

Restrain – Let the employer take the lead in bringing up the subject of salary.

Request – Make the most of your chance to graciously ask for what you’re worth.

Replace – Know what you value and may want to negotiate if the employer cannot offer a higher salary.

Salary is obviously important. To have any opportunity to improve the employer’s initial offer, you will have to ask. Applying the ideas presented in this article will prepare you to discuss salary confidently and graciously—and improve your odds of getting the salary you deserve.

In our next post, we will discuss things to consider and things not to do when talking about starting salary.

In Part 2 , we discuss things to consider and not to do when talking about starting salary.


TIP 1 – For Candidates

Tip 1

Networking/Relationship Building – for uncovering the hidden job market

  • Meet a few well-connected people that you already know who will introduce you to few more well-connected people that you don’t know yet
  • Identify 3 – 4 people who are familiar with your past performance and can speak to your future potential
    1.  Set appointments with these people and ask them to review and provide feedback on your resumé/LinkedIn profile, etc.
    2.  Ask if they would be comfortable referring you to people they know are connected in other organizations
    3.  Ask if they’d be willing to, when the time comes, serve as a reference
    1. If no, find out why, and/or find better first-degree connections
      If yes, get the names of 3 – 4 people and their contact information
    • Research your connection’s connections and ask about specific people
    • Network in reverse – start with an opportunity of interest and find out, using LinkedIn, who you know
    • Gives you a five times better chance of finding a job than if you had just emailed your resumé

Applying directly – for moving to the head of the line and differentiating yourself

    • Use on-line postings as a job lead to connect directly to the hiring manager or someone connected to the hiring manager
    • Gives you a nearly seven times better chance of landing a job than if you simply were depending on your resumé

lnformational Interviews – for gathering information, not applying for a job

    1. How they see chaplaincy in the future
    2. What do you/they look for in an applicant/resumé/interview
    3. Examples of interview questions
    4. Ask permission to leave a resumé


    • Spend no more than 20% of your time applying to on-line postings
    • Get introduced (referral) to an organization wherever possible
    • When responding to an on-line posting, apply directly on the organization’s website