How to Nail Your Final Job Interview

Preparation Strategies for Closing the Deal

Businesswoman waiting with legs crossed in lobby
••• Caiaimage/Agnieszka Wozniak / Getty Images

The final job interview is the end of the interview process. It's likely your last point of contact with interviewers before you find out whether or not you will be getting a job offer

This interview is your last chance to make a good impression on a potential employer. You want to show the company that you're the best possible pick, since it's very likely that you're on a shortlist of just a few other top candidates. 

What to Expect During a Final Interview

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 founder/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. 

5 Tips for Acing Your Interview

It can be nerve-wracking to go into a final interview, since you've gotten so far along in the process. Take heart in knowing you must have performed well in the initial phone interview and during in-person interviews to get to this point. 

Here are five tips to keep in mind to help you ace your final interview for a role. 

1. Don't Assume You've Got 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(s) seem more relaxed.

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

2. Come Prepared 

As with your previous interviews, you should be ready to answer common interview questions. And consider having questions at hand to ask the interviewer about the company and the role. 

These should be questions you couldn’t find the answer to on your own via online research. 

Don't ask questions just for the sake of it. 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.

3. Take Advantage to Fix Previous Flubs

If you answered a question poorly during a previous interview, now is an opportunity to rectify that. Look for ways to readdress the question. Remember, interviewers will be assessing your candidacy based on all interviews, not just this final one. 

4. 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. 

You can bring up points from earlier interviewers. This will show that you're a good listener, and you "get" the company's needs and driving concerns. 

For example, say you're asked about your first 30 days on the job. If your first-round interviewer mentioned that the company struggles with the returns process, use that knowledge! In your response to this question in your final interview, mention that you're eager to learn more about returns work and come up with possible strategies to alleviate pain points. 

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

5. Stay Professional 

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 of 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 resume copies and any other required documents. If you have a portfolio of work, remember 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 could make all the difference in their decision. Always bring a pen and paper too, so you can be ready to take notes. 
  • Be prepared with references. If you're asked to supply references on the spot, it's helpful to have a printed list available with contact information. Make sure that everyone on your list of references 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.

What to Do After the 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.