How to Handle a Final Job Interview

Preparation Strategies for Closing the Deal

Businesswoman waiting with legs crossed in lobby
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The final job interview is the last step in the interview process and the last one you'll have before finding out whether or not you will be getting a job offer.

Before the final interview, you may have had an initial phone interview and one or more in-person interviews. Your final job interview is your last chance to make a strong impression on the employer before she chooses between you and, typically, a small pool of other top candidates.

Final Job Interview Process

Depending on the level of the position, your final interview might be conducted by a member (or members) of the company's senior leadership, or, if it's a small company, by the CEO.

Occasionally the interview will be conducted by the same person who conducted your other interviews. In the final interview, you will likely meet a number of people in the office including prospective co-workers, and you may even have multiple interviews with these employees.

Final Interview Preparation Tips

Don't assume you have the job. While you should be proud that you've made it this far in the interview process, a common mistake interviewees make with a final interview is assuming it's a done deal and that this meeting is a formality. You still need to present yourself as the top person for the job without seeming arrogant. Don't get overly comfortable or let your guard down, especially if the environment and the interviewer seem more relaxed.

Treat this interview with the same seriousness and professionalism as you did for the previous meetings and continue to sell yourself as the right choice for the job.

Review previous interviews. Think about what you've already discussed and have those details at your fingertips. The interviewer may bring up topics from your prior conversations and if you can respond effectively, it demonstrates your attention to detail and allows you the chance to elaborate or amend anything you said before.

However, if you have any concerns about moving forward with the position, this is not the time to voice them.

Continue to follow the same guidelines that you adhered to throughout the interview process:

  • Dress appropriately. If you’re in a creative industry and workers at your prospective employer tend to dress more casually, you can skip the suit, but under no circumstances should you wear jeans, ripped clothing, or anything that feels appropriate at the beach or the gym.
  • Review information about the company. Remind yourself about the company’s goals and achievements, and the problems they’re trying to solve, e.g. build the brand, break into a new market segment, etc.
  • Bring extra resumes and other required documents. If you have a portfolio of work, don’t forget to bring it, even if previous interviewers have already seen a sample of your work. You never know when you’ll get a chance to draw their attention to a successful project that will make all the difference in their decision.
  • Bring a list of references. Make sure that everyone on it is prepared for their call and will say something positive about your work.
  • Keep your enthusiasm and energy level high. Don’t rely on your previous performance to carry you through.
  • Follow up with a thank-you letter. A well-crafted thank-you note can emphasize your aptitude for the role and remind the hiring manager of your unique skills and accomplishments. It might also address any lingering concerns they have about fit.
  • Ask additional questions about the company and position. These should be questions you couldn’t find the answer to on your own via online research. For example, now is not the time to ask the hiring manager basic questions about the company’s long-term goals – you should already have asked that question during an earlier stage of the interview process. However, if the subject came up during an earlier interview, and you need to clarify a point, this is a good opportunity.

After the Final Job Interview
Don't expect to hear back right away and don't panic if you're not contacted immediately after the interview.

It takes time for companies to make final decisions, to put together a job offer package for the winning candidate, and to let the other applicants know that they weren't selected.

If a week or so has gone by and you still haven't heard, it's appropriate to follow up with your contact at the company.

More About Interviews: How to Ace a Job Interview