How To Prepare For Your Final Interview

by Chris Kolmar
Get The Job, Guides, Interview - 2 weeks ago

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You’ve submitted your job application, resume, and cover letter, and you’ve gone through a phone interview and met with HR.

Now, you’re being called in for a final interview.

You may be wondering what they could possibly still want to know about you, and why this is different from your other two interviews.

In this article, you’ll learn the purpose of these interviews and how to prepare for them.

What Is a Final Interview?

A final interview may be your second or third interview with the company, and it’s the one where hiring committees determine which candidate is right for the job.

While your first few interviews were probably individual meetings, a final interview is often a day full of meetings with people who are either the ones making the hiring decision or who will have a large part in it. These are usually the leaders of the company and the people who work closely with the position you’re applying for.

If you make it this far, this means that you’re probably one of only two or three candidates they’re still considering, so you should feel proud.

This also means that you’re going to be critiqued very closely, so it’s important to not let your guard down just yet and still take the time to prepare for this interview.

How To Prepare for a Final Interview

Just as you would with any interview, make sure you’ve researched the company and gone over some practice questions beforehand. To best prepare for a final interview, though, you’ll also want to take these steps:

  1. Don’t be overly confident. Even though you are one of the finalists for the position, you don’t have it yet. You should still adhere to the regular principles of a successful interview:

    • Dress appropriately

    • Bring copies of your resume, portfolio, and list of references

    • Show up on time, which means arriving ten minutes early

    • Get a good night’s sleep the night before

  2. Look over past interviews. Since this is your second or third meeting with the company, chances are many of the questions will be focused on revisiting topics from your earlier interviews.

    Look over your notes to remind yourself about what you talked about in your last meeting so that you’re ready to continue the conversation.

    Consider answers you gave that you want to make sure you reframe or expound upon, and come up with a few more anecdotes that further highlight your experience so that you have something new to share.

  3. Come prepared with a list of questions. This interview is also an opportunity for you to find out what you need to know about the company so that you can make your decision about accepting a potential job offer.

    Prepare a list of questions to ask, but also make sure you’re thinking of them as you go through the interview. Think through what you would want to know during your first week or two working at the company and ask those now.

Common Interview Questions To Expect

While you can never know exactly what your interviewers are going to ask, there are ways to practice for your interview.

Be prepared to answer technical questions about your field. If you’re a business analyst, for example, you might be asked questions like these.

Here are some of the most popular questions you’ll encounter no matter what industry you’re in. Practice your answers to these so that when they or similar questions come up, you’ll be ready.

  1. Now that you’ve learned the full scope of this position, what are your salary expectations?

    Always base your answer to this question on research you’ve done about typical salaries within this industry and geographic location or on your own knowledge of industry standards.

    Example Answer

    “My salary expectation is between $35,000 and $45,000, which is the average salary for someone in this industry with my experience in this area. I’m willing to negotiate, though.”

  2. If hired, how would you want to grow within the company? How would you accomplish this?

    Your interviewer wants to know that they’re hiring a self-motivated employee who will continue to grow and improve. They also want to see that you’ve researched the company, so make sure you show that you know how it’s structured.

    Example Answer

    “I would work to be as effective and efficient as possible in my role and seek out professional development opportunities and chances to work with other departments to expand my experience.

    “Eventually, I would love to be able to put my skills to work with more responsibility by applying for a leadership position that would be a good fit for my abilities and then working my way up to become a Vice President.”

  3. What are your hobbies and interests?

    Your interviewer wants to make sure you’re a well-rounded person who will fit well with the organization. Be honest about what you like to do, but also try to think of ways to relate them to the position you’re applying for.

    Example Answer

    “I love to travel. It helps me expand my point of view, teaches me how to solve problems on the fly, and gives me practice staying calm under pressure. Plus, I get to meet new people from all over the world.”

  4. Tell me about a conflict you’ve encountered and how you handled it.

    Your interviewer wants an example of your interpersonal skills in action. Be detailed in your answer and be sure to include the result of your efforts.

    Example Answer

    “In my previous position, I was in charge of coordinating an interdepartmental project.

    “After I sent out the first informational email to the team, I found out that one more person had been added to the project. Because of this, I hadn’t included him in the email, and he quickly realized it in the first meeting.

    “The person was offended and confronted me about it. I asked if we could talk privately, where I apologized, explained that it hadn’t been intentional, and assured him that he’d be on all future emails.

    “Thankfully, he accepted my apology and there were no more issues between us.”

  5. When could you start?

    This question is pretty straightforward, so answer honestly. If you’re willing to be flexible, be sure to say so.

    Example Answer

    “I would need to give two weeks’ notice as soon as I accepted the position, and then I could start as soon as that time has passed. Beyond that, I am flexible.”

  6. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a lot of stress at work.

    This is another question that requires a story. Be detailed and show the steps you take to reduce stress.

    Example Answer

    “During my time in my most recent position, I had three major projects that all happened to be due during the same week. I had to be very careful about prioritizing my tasks, blocking out time to work on them, and intentionally relaxing at home in the evenings so I’d be ready to go in the morning.

    “It took a lot of hard work, but I was able to complete everything successfully.”

  7. If you were in charge of a team, how would you go about motivating them?

    Whether you’re applying for a leadership position or not, your interviewer wants to see that you have these skills in case you are eventually put in that position.

    Example Answer

    “I believe that one of the best ways to lead is by example, so I would work to set a positive tone and show that I’m invested in the project by completing my tasks well.

    “I would work to build relationships with the team and find ways to make it an enjoyable experience by putting incentives in place and giving recognition for a job well done.”

  8. What type of work environment do you prefer?

    A major part of the final interview is to determine if you’ll be a good fit for the company beyond your skill set. Be honest, and show that you understand the environment in the company you’re applying to.

    Example Answer

    “I enjoy collaborating with others, so I tend to work best in environments that foster that, just like your open office setup does.”

  9. What motivates you?

    This is another question that interviewers ask to make sure you’ll be a good fit for their company. Talk about what made you apply for this position and what motivated you in past jobs. Be specific, and tell a story if you can.

    Example Answer

    “I enjoy solving problems and coming up with creative solutions. When I worked as a social media manager, I loved looking at which web pages we needed to draw more people to and then coming up with a social media strategy to do that.

    “I successfully increased the average daily traffic on three of our main web pages through these campaigns, and I got excited when I saw the opportunity to do even more of these projects with this marketing position.”

  10. How do you prioritize your tasks?

    Your answer to this question will reveal a little more about how you handle your workload and responsibilities. Be as specific as possible in your answer to paint a picture for the interviewer.

    Example Answer

    “At the beginning of each week, I set aside 15 minutes to organize my to-do list. I sort tasks into three priority levels and then put the ones with due dates on my calendar.

    I then schedule times when I’m going to complete my most important tasks throughout the week and work the lower priority ones around those. That way, if something goes wrong, I can bump those back and still have time to complete my top priorities.”

  11. How do you like to be managed?

    Another part of making sure you’re a good fit for the company’s culture is making sure you’d work well with your potential manager’s style. Stay positive and honest, and provide examples when possible.

    Example Answer

    “I thrive when I’m given a goal to reach or project to complete but then have the freedom to figure out the steps I need to take to get there.

    “For example, I had one boss who would work with me to set goals and then let me figure out how to reach them.

    “She’d check in with me along the way to see if I needed anything and how I was progressing, but other than that, it was up to me to complete them.”

  12. What should I know that isn’t on your resume?

    This is your chance to talk about a qualification, personality trait, or anecdote that further reveals why you’re the best person for the job. You can also talk about any goals you have that are similar to the company’s.

    Example Answer

    “One thing that isn’t on my resume is my passion for helping people reach their goals. Being able to teach at a community college would combine my knowledge of teaching English as a second language and my passion for helping people get on a path to fulfilling their dreams.”

  13. How would your current colleagues describe you?

    When you answer this question, make sure you’re truthful but positive. Especially during a final interview, try to think of things that haven’t been brought up yet.

    Example Answer

    “My colleagues would describe me as efficient, hard-working, and creative.”

  14. Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

    Your interviewers know that everyone makes mistakes, so they want to see how you respond when you do. Just remember to end with what you learned and how you prevented it from happening again.

    Example Answer

    “I once miscalculated a part of our final budget report, which resulted in an incorrect report going before the board. As soon as I realized the mistake, I told my supervisor, who was able to contact the board members and correct the report.

    From then on, I’ve always made sure to check my work three times or have someone else look at it as well before I turn it in.”

  15. Why did you leave your last job?

    This is one of the few interview questions where you shouldn’t launch into a detailed anecdote to illustrate your point. Be honest, optimistic, and brief, and try to form your answers so that it points back to why this position would be a good fit.

    Example Answer

    After working at my last company for seven years, I’m ready for a new challenge, and there weren’t any opportunities to do that there. I saw that this position would be a great fit for my skills and give me a chance to use them in a new way.”

  16. What are you passionate about?

    Interviewers ask this question in order to get to know you better, so there is no one right answer. As always, though, relate it to the position you’re applying for if you can.

    Example Answer

    “I’m passionate about connecting with people and building relationships with them. I love creating partnerships where we make each other better. This is one of the reasons why I got into public relations in the first place.”

  17. How do you define success?

    Your potential employer wants to see that you know how to set and reach goals and will work hard to make the company successful. Showcase this in your answer by sharing what you actively do to make sure you’re successful.

    Example Answer

    “I define success as completing my responsibilities in such a way that they help both my team and the company as a whole succeed. To do this, I make sure I’m not only doing my everyday tasks to the best of my ability, but that I’m also searching out ways to grow and support others on my team.”

  18. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    This question helps your interviewer see what your long-term goals are and if you’re thinking you’ll be at the company for the long haul. Be honest about your hopes and ambitions and how they relate to this job.

    Example Answer

    “In five years I see myself in a management role where I can use my experience in sales to lead a branch of my own.”

  19. Why should we hire you?

    This is a great opportunity to share again what sets you apart from the one or two other candidates they’re considering. You don’t even need to know who they are to be able to share the unique traits and experiences you bring to the table.

    Example Answer

    “You should hire me because I’m a self-starter who has experience in both design and management. These skills would be a great fit for this leadership role, because I have both the technical knowledge and people skills needed to lead this department effectively.”

  20. Do you have any questions for us?

    Example Answer

    This question usually comes at the end of the interview, and the answer should always be, “yes,” followed by questions that you’ve prepared. This shows that you’re invested in this position and have been paying attention, and it could just push you to the top of the candidate list.

    Read on to find some examples of questions to ask.

What To Ask in a Final Interview

  1. What does a typical day look like for someone in this position?

  2. Who will I be working under?

  3. What is the average turnover rate at the company? How long was my predecessor in this position?

  4. What are some of the biggest challenges the person in this position would face?

  5. What is your favorite part about working for the company?

  6. Are there any hesitations you have about hiring me that I can address?

  7. What about my qualifications appeal to you the most?

  8. Is there any other information or work samples I can provide for you?

  9. What are the next steps in the interview process?

What Not To Ask in a Final Interview

While asking questions in a final interview is always a good idea, there are some you don’t want to ask at least until you get a job offer, and some not even then.

  1. What will my salary and benefits look like?

  2. Who is your competition?

  3. How often do you review your employees?

  4. Will I be able to have a flexible work schedule?

  5. How many vacation days will I get?

  6. Would you like to see my references?

  7. How quickly could I get promoted?

  8. Will I get my own office?

  9. Do you have rules about personal social media profiles?

What To Ask When You Get a Job Offer

Once you get a job offer, the ball is in your court. The company has decided that you’re the best candidate, and now it’s up to you to decide if you truly want to be a part of their organization.

Here are some questions to ask to help you make a well-informed decision:

  • Are there any changes to the company’s leadership and structure coming soon?

  • What does training and onboarding look like?

  • What is your family leave policy?

  • Can I get this offer in writing?

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