This is the final stage in the job interview process. Congratulations if you have made it this far. Before getting to this stage, you have probably passed through different interview stages, the first usually being a phone call or video conference, followed by one or several in-person interviews and/or group interviews.
This means that you are very close to landing your dream job. Realize that this already is a great validation or your qualifications and suitability for the position. In this stage, two or three candidates are usually remaining, from which the hiring company will hire one.
In this phase, interviewers are more likely to look at eliminating factors than at qualifying factors. This means that even the most suitable candidate for the position can ruin their chances without proper preparation. This means that the final interview is the opportunity for you to sell yourself and prove to the prospective employer that you are fit for the job. Balance your confidence with modesty and tackle all questions with the same standard of professionalism with which you got to this point.
In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to prepare yourself to ace your final job interview.
Before the final job interview
Have a plan and set your career goal
Both points are important. Make sure you go in with a game plan and have a thorough understanding of your career goals and how this job could contribute to achieving just that. Your interviewers will probably ask about your goals. The reason for this is to get a glimpse of your personality, ambition and what working with you will be like.
Make sure that your specific goals and a detailed approach to how you plan to achieve them. This would not only show the interviewer how serious you are about getting the job but also how capable you are of undertaking the job. Setting goals aside from helping you land your dream job would surely help you make advancements in your career.
It’s important that you can give answers to questions such as:
- What do you hope to have accomplished by this time next year?
- What is your ultimate career goal?
- Why do you want to work at this company?
- What is your dream job?
- What motivates you?
Review and analyze your previous interviews.
Before you go into your final interview, think back on the previous rounds you have passed through. Chances are that you would be talking to the same person or persons you have talked to in the past interviews. If this is the case for you, then be prepared because they may want you to talk more or give an explanation that is more detailed on a response you gave in the past. Read the job description again to refresh your memory and to tighten all loose ends.
Seek advice from a mentor or referral
In advance of your final interview, it’s wise to get some information and knowledge from people that possibly know better than you do. A mentor or referral could be this person. A referral is likely to know about the specs of the job and should be in a better position to advise you aright but if not you could always seek advice and suggestions from elsewhere. If you know someone who is working in the same firm, or in another firm but in a similar position that you applied for; try getting ideas from them. The bottom line is no one knows it all and it pays to draw knowledge and ideas from others. Don’t get tired of asking questions until you get what you want.
Think of interview questions you can expect
This step is vital for success. As a strategy, you should always prepare responses to your expected job interview questions. Before going into your interview, you should take an educated guess on which questions you can expect. A good start is to thoroughly research the job description (again). Based on the described job demands, you should be able to formulate how you can contribute to them and why you specifically applied to this job. There are, of course, the general common interview questions that you can expect in every interview, but there are also job-specific questions that you should focus on.
Also, ask yourself questions such as:
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What can you contribute to the open position?
- Who will be interviewing me and what is their background?
There’s a big chance you will be asked why you are interested in this particular position and company. Make sure you have a couple of key points about yourself that you can present to provide information on why you are a great fit. Also, think of yourself in the position of your interviewer. What questions would you likely ask a candidate seeking the same job you are seeking?
This goes for men as well as for women; dress the part and look professional. The way you look is the first good impression to make. Therefore, ensure you get an idea of the company dress code before you interview. Do not overdress for a casual interview and do not underdress for a formal interview either. If the company has a business or business casual dress code, just dress conservatively and make sure you plan the perfect interview outfit.
Remember to take all the documents you might need along with you. Bring several copies of your resume and cover letter; you never know who might join an interview. You always want to have an extra resume in case you’re asked for it. In addition, prepare a reference list and list each reference, including the name, title, organization, phone number, email address, and a short comment on your relationship with the reference.
Get enough rest before your interview
An open door, but make sure you get enough rest before your interview. As you know, when you’re well-rested, you’re more focused and alert. This will, of course, benefit you during your job interview. Being sleep-deprived could increase feelings of anxiety or stress. Both will not help you during the interview and should be avoided.
During the interview process
Do not let your guard down!
You do not have the job yet so stay focused on your goals and avoid getting too comfortable. Just like in earlier interviews, you should approach this one with a similar professionalism that got you this far. This final interview is your last chance to impress your interviewers and to leave a solid impression. It’s good to show confidence in this stage of the interview process but try to strike a balance between that and being modest. You’re already far, which means you probably possess the skills to get the job, but the deal is not closed yet until a contract is signed.
Build on the strengths you have established in the previous interview rounds
Identify your strengths as you have done before and highlight them once again. Emphasize how they can be of use to the organization and the specific department. It’s wise to think back on your earlier interviews and analyze the job description once more before you go into your final interview. Also, if you’re talking to the same person you did in earlier rounds, they may want you to provide more in-depth information on the answers you gave earlier. If you’re talking to different interviewers it’s advisable to update them on what has been discussed in earlier interview rounds.
Show that you want the job
It is very important to demonstrate that you’re really interested through body language, the tone of voice, and your answers to the questions. By now, you need to demonstrate that you understand what it’s like to work in this position and in this company. If this is not fully clear or discussed in earlier interview rounds, make sure you add this to the questions that you want to ask the interviewers.
Be prepared to discuss your job offer and its associated benefits – but only when brought up
There is a possibility that you will get an offer on the spot; make sure you’re prepared for such an event. The hiring company has made an effort through time and money to get you to this point. Now it’s up to you to ask questions about compensation or anything else that you might want to ask. If you do not get an offer on the spot, don’t worry; this does not usually happen. Don’t be discouraged if a follow-up call from a recruiter is needed to confirm that you got the job.
After the interview process
Follow up and write a thank-you note
After your interview, draft a thank-you letter. It might seem a non-significant part of the interview process, but sending a follow-up note can make the difference between getting the job or not. Don’t think that it will save you from a bad interview, but it can definitely help if it’s a neck-and-neck between you and another applicant. A good thank-you letter includes:
- Appreciation for the interviewer’s time and effort. Thank them for it.
- A specific detail from an interview that you discussed to make it more personal and not a ‘standard’ thank you.
- Emphasize your interest in the company and position and that you look forward to learning more.
You can always close your follow up with an invitation for them to contact you if they need any additional information or if they have any more questions. It’s also possible to briefly emphasize again that you’re confident that you are the right fit for the job and why. Explain in a concise manner on why you feel you could perform well in the position.
Do not panic
As stated earlier, if you do not get an immediate offer during the interview or if it takes a few days for the interviewers to come back to you; don’t panic. For instance, larger companies can take a longer time to review all candidates, assess them, and make a final decision. Therefore, do not expect an immediate response and be patient.
What to ask during a final job interview
Once you pass all the interview (and maybe assessment) rounds and reach the final phase, it’s still important to impress your interviewers. Most of the time the final interview round is between two or three remaining candidates. Usually, only one candidate will be hired. This means that you need to bring your A-game to the interview.
Final interviews are usually longer than initial interviews, and most of the time, you’re interviewed by multiple people. Therefore, make sure to inquire upfront about who you will be speaking with so that you can do your research.
So what questions should you ask yourself during a final interview to make you stand out (if not asked already in earlier interviews)? Find some examples below:
- In your opinion, which of my qualifications or experience appeals most to you?
- Is there any doubt about my fit for the job opening that I could try to take away?
As you can see, both questions require the interviewers to provide you with information about you that you can play into.
Final job interview mistakes to avoid
Just like there are positive points to focus on, there are also mistakes to avoid.
Acting like you already got the job
Always dress appropriately for the interview and make sure it’s nothing less than how you showed up to earlier interviews. At this point in the hiring process, you should have a good idea of what’s expected of you and how you need to dress up to meet with the interviewer or team members.
Getting too friendly during the job interview
Being friendly is good, being too friendly is not; keep it professional, because you’re not there yet. Keep the conversation formal. Interact with everybody in the room as if they were your manager. Treat everybody with respect.