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A week after your final interview for a new job, the recruiter reaches out to schedule a “wrap-up interview” or even just “a quick chat.” Is it a good sign, or bad?

First, whatever they call it, yes, it is an interview. Put your best foot forward, as you would in any interview.

Second, ask, “What will we be discussing?” If the recruiter is cagey or vague, just smile and be confident, because being scheduled for a wrap-up interview is likely to be a good sign.

The HR Wrap-up Interview

Most often, you’ll meet with a human resources representative. Since they may not have stated what they want to talk about, what should you expect in a wrap-up interview with HR? Here are some likely possibilities.

If you’ve interviewed with others but not with HR yet, this may be pretty much a formality that brings them into the process. I say “pretty much,” because it’s still possible to make a wrong move. But there’s reason for confidence: you’ve gotten this far, so you’re doing well.

There may be a concern they’ve been asked to look into. Let’s say you interviewed with five people. Four of them were impressed, but one had doubts. HR may have been asked to obtain more information, and possibly to serve as a tiebreaker. Think about any possible weaknesses they may have identified, and come prepared with stories that illustrate your ability to learn, adapt and excel.

There may be rejection coming. On the bright side, the fact that they’re using a wrap-up interview instead of an email means you were a very strong candidate and they want to leave the door open for future opportunities. They may want to interview you for another role that’s opening up soon. Bring an open mind!

On the other hand, they may want to negotiate specifics before making a formal offer. As one manager wrote in an online discussion on this topic,

“Creating a written offer can be a lot of work, depending on the approval process, so personally I wouldn’t do it until we have worked verbally through all details and I’m reasonably sure it will be accepted.”

If they’ve said the meeting with be “just 15 minutes,” it’s especially likely be an offer, since most of the possibilities above would take longer.

Whatever comes up, stay calm and go slow. If you’re not sure about any aspect of the offer, express enthusiasm but don’t make any promises. Ask for time to think about it. Negotiation doesn’t have to be completed in one session. If they insist on it, consider that a red flag.

If you’re happy with the terms of the verbal offer, you might say something like, “An offer based on what we’ve discussed would be a good fit. I don’t foresee any roadblocks.”

Even if they hand you a complete, written offer at the wrap-up interview, it’s still too soon to absolutely commit. For one thing, you may be too excited to think strategically. Take time to cool off and reflect, to consider the details and think about negotiating. The best answer at this point is something like:

“This is wonderful. Of course I want to think about the details and discuss it with my spouse. Can we meet soon to discuss the specifics?”

The “Talk with the Hiring Manager” (Another Version of the Wrap-up Interview)

Most of the scenarios above could take place with the manager instead of the recruiter. It’s also possible that the hiring manager has decided you’re the one they want, but they need to clarify certain additional points. For example, maybe there are job duties they’re not sure you’ll like, such as being on call, or tedious administrative aspects of an otherwise higher-level role. They may want to go over these again and make sure you’re really on board.

Think Before You Leap

Whatever comes up, stay calm and avoid making decisions on the spot.

If you’re receiving a verbal offer, express appreciation and enthusiasm, but don’t make any promises until you’ve seen the official, written offer. You need to review all the details about salary, benefits and so on.

Even if they hand you a complete, written offer at the wrap-up interview, it’s still too soon to commit. For one thing, you may be too excited to think strategically. Take time to cool off and reflect, to consider the details and think about negotiating. The best answer at this point is something like:

“This is wonderful. Of course I want to think about the details and discuss it with my spouse. Can we meet soon to discuss the specifics?”

Conclusion

What is a wrap-up interview? Among other things, it’s a time to stay calm and nurture the good rapport you’ve been building. And it’s a time to act in a way that assures the interviewer you’re a great choice, whether only for future opportunities, or for the great new role you’re about to start.