How to Ask For the Job As Your Interview Ends

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"Close the deal." So a recruiter representing a financial information firm tersely advised me, without further elaboration, right before my second interview with his client.

How?, I wanted to ask. Lacking any sales training, I associated the word, "close," with two notorious phrases delivered by Alec Baldwin in a viral YouTube video from the film Glengarry Glen Ross - "Coffee is for closers," and "Always be closing."

I knew that recruiter meant I should straight-out ask for the job before leaving the meeting. But just how does one go about closing an interview by asking for the job?

A recent post by Karen Burns, the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, suggests 10 possible ways. Since they all say more or less the same thing, the key is to practice various alternatives (which needn't be drawn from Burns' list) until you find a formulation you're comfortable with.

No matter how you choose to "close" an interview, you'll likely be more convincing if you remember these three points. First, as a job-seeker you are not "begging for a handout"; you are offering skills and commitment that an employer can benefit from. Second, many hiring managers like hearing an interviewee say she wants the job. "It shows eagerness, honesty, and enthusiasm. And it's flattering," Burns observes. And third, "The better you get to know your interviewer, the easier it'll be to find the right words to 'ask for the job.'"

One caveat: Burns' concluding paragraph appears to recommend that if offered a job you're sure you want, you should "accept right on the spot." If that is indeed what she's advising (her wording is somewhat ambiguous), then her view falls far outside the mainstream. Every career expert I've heard says a job-seeker should never accept an offer as soon as it arrives. When you get an offer, always be positive and express gratitude, even enthusiasm ... but always ask for 24 hours to think it over before accepting. And always ask for it in writing. Not for legal purposes - a written offer of employment generally can be rescinded as easily as a verbal one - but for clarity while you review it and thereafter.

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