The Final Interview: Why It is Important and Mistakes to Avoid

  | 5 min read
final interview tips

 The first call that invited you to an interview had you so excited, nervous and thankful at the same time. You were glad that your job application stood out and you had a shot to impress the interview panel. You went to your first interview, ready and poised to take the day. And the day you sure did take. Because they called you for a second interview with your potential supervisor, Cate and another with Raymond from operations department, Cate’s boss.

At this rate, you are pretty positive that you have this job. You even have a rapport with the secretary and you like Agnes, the lady who serves you coffee each time.

So, one evening you are seated watching TV and you decide to have a quick glance at your email. And there it is. An email from your HR contact at the company you’re interviewing with. You hope it is an offer, but when you open the email, it is an invitation to a final interview with the company’s CEO.

You then begin wondering; “Haven’t I wowed them enough? They have practically asked me every question in the HR recruitment book. What more can they ask? I even did a practical test and a role play exam. Wasn’t that enough?”

What Does the Final Interview Mean?

the final interview - be ready

The final interview means that you are on the short list of candidates who have performed really well in the interviews. The list could have between two and three, sometimes five candidates. This means at least one other person is giddy with positivity just like you. The other candidates on the final shortlist could be as qualified as you are and with the same level of experience. So, this is not the time to relax and walk in there like you already have the job.

Remember, the interview is not over until you sign the letter of offer. Click To Tweet

Here are tips to give you the edge you need to pass the final interview;

1. Prepare Like it’s Your First

Avoid the overconfidence that might come with the fact that you passed the previous interviews and you are now on your final hurdle. Remember that you haven’t met this final interviewer yet and so he or she hasn’t witnessed your stellar performance in the previous interviews. That person only has feedback from the panel on your skills and experience and they want to ascertain all this. Therefore, prepare like it is your first interview because, to this last person or panel, it is the first.

Still on preparation, be ready with practical steps that will help you ‘hit the ground running’ just in case you are asked,”What are your plans for the next 90 days if you start this job tomorrow.”

2. Don’t Let Your Guard Down

don't let your guard down final interview

The fact that you feel the job is yours doesn’t mean it actually is. You are still interviewing so resist the urge to waltz into the interview room with a self-assured, almost arrogant air. You are still under a microscope, probably one with a sharper focus because they want to choose the best out of the good ones they have lined up. Go through the common interview questions and prepare favourable responses.

3. Keep it Professional Even if it’s a Casual Setting

Some companies may decide to have a more relaxed atmosphere for the final interview. For instance, they may invite you out for lunch or drinks in the evening. Remember this is not just to flatter you as a candidate, but to also see how you carry yourself in a more casual setting. Conduct your due diligence of the person interviewing you. What are their qualifications? Their achievements? It is easy to find such information online these days. Such information will help you connect with this person better.

If you find yourself in a casual environment, remember this is not the time or place to let loose. Keep it all professional and try as much as possible to do everything in moderation – whether its the eating, drinking or interactions with your environment.

4. Be ready to Discuss Salary

While you shouldn’t be the one to bring it up, be ready to answer questions regarding your desired salary and compensation. Have a reasonable range in your head, based on prior research on the industry rates for the position you are interviewing for. Do not assume that just because you have already discussed this issue in your previous interviews the last interviewer might not ask.

5. Reiterate Your Desire to Join the Team

show your desire to join company - last interview

You are still interviewing so emphasize on your desire to get this job and join the team. Do not overlook the need to market yourself at this point. The final interview is usually with an important person in the company and most likely, this person’s opinion of you carries a lot of weight. Let this person or panel know that you are really interested in joining the team and why.

Remain Positive

You are in the last stage, whether you get the job or not, you have given it your best shot and you have reached the very last stage. Remain positive no matter what the outcome may be. If you don’t get the job, keep the lessons. They have made you better for the next job interview. Who knows? The next one might be the one.


Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.