Preparing for a Final Round Interview

by Heidi Cardenas

    If you’ve been invited to a final interview, you are a top candidate and should prepare carefully. You need to do some “homework” about the company, prepare and practice what you’ll say and plan to sell yourself even more than you’ve done in previous interviews.

    The final interviews of top candidates are often with people other than the person who conducted initial interviews. If you haven’t been told who will do your final interview, ask who will be interviewing you. If it is someone you haven’t met yet, thoroughly research the title and position in the company and look for information that you may be able to use to build rapport with and impress your interviewer.

    When preparing for a final interview, think about solutions to problems you learned about in earlier interviews. Focus on what you can do for the company with concrete examples of what you’ve done recently in similar situations. For example, if you learned that the sales team has been underperforming and sales are down, prepare some possible solutions to discuss and mention how you’ve increased sales in other positions.

    Prepare a few questions for the final interview that are designed to reveal any questions or concerns the employer may have so you can address them. For example, ask questions like “Have I said or demonstrated anything today that leaves you with questions about my suitability for the job?” or “At this point, what would keep you from offering me the job?” The response to these kinds of questions will give you insight into what to focus on in your closing statement.

    You may feel that because you have been invited to final round interviews, you must discuss salary if the employer brings it up. Don’t be fooled into revealing previous salaries, what your salary range is, what your bottom line salary is or any salary information. Salary discussion and negotiation should be done only after you have received a written job offer. If asked what your salary range is, respond with some variation of “I’m more interested in the best fit in a job than salary” or “I’m open to a fair market salary for my experience and qualifications.”

    Ask for the job at the end of every interview, and especially in final interviews. Practice asking for the job in an enthusiastic and persuasive way, restating what you’ve learned about what the company needs and how you can meet those needs once hired. “Thank you for your confidence in me. I hope I have convinced you that I am the best person for this position. I want to work for Acme Widget Manufacturing as a sales manager, and will work hard to train sales representatives, increase sales above industry averages and improve professionalism in the sales team. If hired, I will work to exceed all your expectations and help you grow your business.”

    References

    • Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0; Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry
    • Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market; Michael B. Junge
    • When Can You Start? Paul Freiberger
    • How to Interview Like a Pro; Mary Greenwood

    About the Author

    Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images