Final Interview Tips
By definition, a final interview is the last step in the interview process.
This guide builds on the Blue Signal Top 10 In-Person Interview Tips. Follow these 10 Final Interview Tips and it will increase the odds of receiving an offer.
1. Recognize this is the championship game.
A professional candidate should take every step of the interview process seriously, but it is important to realize the final interview is the “championship game.” The final interview is the candidate’s last chance to convince the organization that they are the right person for the job and the last chance to influence the forthcoming offer. All the work and effort so far have led to this moment, so do not treat the final interview’s outcome as a forgone conclusion. Making it to this stage is not a guarantee of receiving the offer.
While confidence is justified and appropriate at this point, candidates should not let their guard down. Final interviews often involve difficult questions that demand more complete answers and detailed examples of past scenarios. Final interviews are designed to set expectations and confirm a cultural fit with the company. Be flexible, results-focused, motivated, even-tempered, and ready to take on a challenge. Come prepared to talk about accomplishments and forward-looking strategy for the job.
2. Why this position?
The typical interview process focuses on qualifications (what the candidate can do for the company), not on what the candidate desires. Once a company has determined a candidate can do the job well, they will switch focus to making sure the candidate wants the job.
Hiring managers often bluntly ask candidates to provide a set of reasons why they should hire them—and why the candidate wants the job. Have a polished answer prepared that highlights professional skills and abilities and how they will directly benefit the company as well as individual career growth.
3. Be prepared to meet senior leadership.
Managers are more comfortable making a hiring decision with their boss’s blessing. In a final interview, expect to meet with the hiring manager as well as other senior-level executives. Meeting with executives can be daunting, but it is also a unique opportunity to get more information about the company’s goals and vision.
At this time, candidates are likely to meet with the hiring manager and high-level executives. Review in-person interview etiquette and common questions. Meeting with executives allows candidates to gather more information about the company’s future and goals to see what impact their role will have on those plans.
A final interview can take a number of forms. It may be similar to an in-person interview, or it may include a panel interview, a meeting with the team, a presentation, a facilities tour, or a lunch with management.
4. Create an action plan.
An action plan in a final interview is a document detailing goals and objectives for the first 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365 days of employment. While the job content is the organization’s responsibility, creating a plan is a powerful exercise to review objectives, verify that they fit the organization’s goals, and demonstrate intelligence, enthusiasm, and leadership.
5. Voice concerns.
Many candidates feel discussing their concerns is not relevant in an interview process. Nothing could be further from the truth! The final interview is the last opportunity to review what challenges to expect in the role—personal and professional—and whether they can be surmounted. No job is perfect, period—and the hiring manager recognizes this. In order to make them as comfortable as possible with an offer, let them know each concern and discuss how to address it together.
A final interview is the ideal time to clear up any lingering doubts that would be a deal-breaker for the position (Blue Signal can field difficult questions on candidates’ behalf). Additionally, interviewers generally expect more targeted, in-depth, and strategic questions from candidates at this stage of the process
6. Clarify expectations and ask questions.
One of the main goals of a final interview is to clarify expectations—and that includes the expectations of candidate, not just the company. The final interview is an ideal time to talk about the future as it relates to the position. Demonstrate interest in a career move (not just a new job) by asking future-oriented questions.
Do not rely on questions from previous interviews. Hiring managers have likely already discussed them with the decision-makers on their team and want to hear something new. Therefore it is a good idea to amend and augment answers given in previous interviews, especially when meeting an interviewer for the second time.
Example questions include:
- Have there been any changes in the responsibilities or scope of the position since we last spoke?
- Where do you see the company in 5 years? (Follow-up: What will drive that change?)
- What do you believe is the largest opportunity for the organization right now?
7. Be prepared for a verbal offer.
By this point, everyone involved should have a firm idea of the salary range and package expectations for the position. Blue Signal handles salary negotiations to ensure a fair offer. All offers should come through Blue Signal, however, some hiring managers present an offer at the final interview.
Upon receiving an offer, respond enthusiastically, no matter what the number is. If it falls short of the range previously discussed with Blue Signal, reach out to the recruiter immediately to discuss.
Otherwise, if the offer meets expectations, state an intention to accept, after reading through the written contract. In most cases, it will be immediately clear if the offer is acceptable due to the number of salary discussions up to this point.
8. Ask about other candidates.
Most candidates are afraid to ask, “How do I compare to the other candidates you are interviewing?” They are either afraid of bad news or think it is inappropriate to be included in the company’s decision-making process.
The benefits of asking for a comparison far outweigh the rewards:
- It shows a desire for the job.
- It is an objective way to find out who is the favored candidate.
- The interviewer will often begin with a description of the candidate’s positive qualities, rehearsing them for arguing later why they should hire you.
- It provides an opportunity to understand and address the company’s concerns.
- It also gives the candidate ammunition later when making a case for the job.
9. Offer references.
The same way no job is perfect, no candidate is perfect either. Expect that the organization will have concerns about each candidate—and understand that this is an opportunity to address them. Evidence defeats doubt. Offering references is therefore a powerful way to overcome concerns: a reference is a third party with no financial interest in the hiring process who is willing to spend time discussing why the company should hire the candidate.
10. Close with a summary.
At the end of the final interview, if it is clear that the job is not a good fit, be polite, be professional, explain why things are not a match, and move on.
But if the job still looks like a great fit after the final interview, say so! Candidates should end the interview with a summary of the company’s needs, and describe why their abilities can solve those needs and what the company can offer them in return. This is an intelligent and professional way to present the case for being hired.
Call Blue Signal immediately after the interview. At this stage, the process often moves quickly.
Follow up with a personalized thank-you note to each interviewer, as in prior interviews. The hiring manager is closing the decision, therefore be prompt.
Reviewing an Offer
Use Blue Signal as a resource, as the recruiters have an established relationship with the hiring manager. Blue Signal’s recruiters can assist in understanding offer packages and other details. Every offer is unique, so good communication is essential.
When reviewing an offer:
- Review the whole package, not just the salary.
- Stay positive during interactions and negotiations with the organization.
- Keep in communication with the Blue Signal recruiter working on the job requirement, because they can work to answer questions or concerns
It is preferable to accept an offer promptly to begin on a positive note. Just as the company has had time to determine which candidate is their top choice, the candidate has had the same amount of time to reach a decision on accepting the position. Second-guessing an offer may make the company second-guess their choice of candidate. Hiring managers pay close attention at this point to their chosen candidate’s decision-making ability and professional etiquette.