Job interviewing often feels like a marathon. You need to go demonstrate the same level of enthusiasm, commitment, and expertise across several interview rounds. A final interview is what stands between you and the finishing line — the coveted job offer.
What To Expect In A Third Interview Round?
Usually, you can expect several people present at the final interview — the HR person, your direct manager, and the company CEO (or another senior staff member). Though other combinations are possible of course. At this point, most have already reached some conclusions about you. Now they want to determine your cultural fit and/or compare you against another front-runner. So be ready to razzle-dazzle the panel with your personality and professionalism.
Is A Final Interview Just A Formality?
No, in most cases, a final interview isn’t a formality, but rather the last “filter” most employers use to decide on the top contender. Most of the time, at least two candidates make it to the final interview round. Also, many employers keep more people on the bench in case the final candidate bombs the interview (in some way) or decides to accept a competing offer. Hence, you should treat the final interview as an opportunity to make and strong impression about yourself and seal the deal.
12 Final Interview Questions And Answers
The final round of interview questions differ substantially from the general interview questions, asked during earlier rounds. At this point, the committee will likely focus on your cultural fit, career aspirations, and transition to the company.
You can expect several behavioral interview questions, plus a couple of others aimed at assessing your personality and future performance.
To help you out, we’ve made a list of the most-asked third-round interview questions with sample answers to them.
1. What Would Be Your First Steps In This New Role?
At the final interview, the employer is seriously considering hiring you. So obviously, they want to understand what things you see as a priority and where you plan to channel your efforts. Your response will obviously depend on your seniority level and the exact role.
Here’s a sample answer that a project manager might give:
“When entering a new project I usually do two things: collect and analyze the available information privately. Then connect with all project stakeholders and team members to understand the current project stage, immediate priorities, and blockers. Usually, I need about two weeks to get a good sense of the work done, planned, and anticipated — and put down the new supervisory plans”.
2. How Do You Usually Build Relationships With A New Team?
It’s not enough to say that you are a “team player” and call it a day. By asking this question, the interviewer prompts you to talk more about your interpersonal skills and perhaps exemplify them with a quick story or two.
“On my first day, I try to come and personally introduce myself to everyone (if we are working on-site) or send a quick video memo via Slack. Then I like casually catching up with team members for lunch — or setting up remote co-working sessions on Zoom, where we work on the same task in parallel for a stretch of time. Then discuss the results.”
3. Have You Previously Experienced Issues With Coworkers? How Did You Deal With Them?
People’s relationships can be intricate, especially at the beginning. Some light workplace conflicts and misunderstandings are inevitable. But the interviewer wants to understand if you can curb any issues early on, plus assess your overall conflict management skills.
“Two years ago, I had a somewhat tense relationship with a new team member. Prior to joining that company, she held a more senior role — but she took a demotion for personal reasons and was not managed by a more junior person (me). So initially there was a bit of a “generational gap” between us. But progressively, I helped her understand that I immensely value her expertise, have no intention to micro-manage her, or otherwise undermine her authority within the group”.
4. How Could We Help You Better Settle In Your New Role?
By posting this question, the interviewer tries to gauge your self-awareness levels. Do you have the emotional intelligence skills to properly articulate your needs? Your answer has to show that indeed you do!
“That’s very kind of you to ask! I’d appreciate it if you could initially help me set up introductions with the senior project stakeholders (as I understand they are quite busy). Also, as I know from the earlier interview rounds — your onboarding program is pretty extensive and covers all bases. Perhaps, the only other thing I could suggest is co-creating a 30 60 90 plan for me. What would you say?”
5. After Learning Everything About The Position, What Makes You Certain That You Want This Job?
This is an iteration of a more standard “why do you want to work here?” interview question you might have replied to at an earlier stage. The interviewer wants to ensure that you understand both the gains and the challenges of this role — and are on board with those.
Learn how to nail the answer to “Why do you want to work here” interview question:
That’s hardly surprising given that the average turnover rate in 2021 was a whopping 57.3%. So many employers want to minimize the risks of churn, especially during the first year.
Here’s an example of a reassuring answer:
“For one, it was really great to meet the team and my direct supervisor. Everyone was very friendly and professional — and I liked Michael’s leadership philosophy a lot. Plus, I’m very excited about collaborating with Jane, as I’ve seen her design work for the Marks & Spencer campaign.
I also understand that the work environment is fast-paced, meaning one needs to stay adaptable. As a former freelancer, I understand the importance of flexibility and good time management skills — and I excel at both”.
6. How Much Time Do You Need For Transitioning?
This question is usually a good sign that a job offer may follow up. Be honest about the time you need. If a standard two-week notice is too short for you (for personal or professional reasons), admit that you’ll need more time to join the team.
You can structure your reply like this:
“To be completely transparent, I’ll need a month to join your team. I’m due to wrap up a major project at my current employer. The last thing I’d want is to announce my departure at this final leg and risk sabotaging the success (and satisfaction for pushing through this) of the entire team.”
7. How Would You Improve Our Product or Service?
This is a tough interview question some employers like to throw in to test your problem-solving skills on the spot. It’s also a quick and effective way to test the candidate’s understanding of the company’s offerings and their dedication to doing preliminary company research.
A good answer will point out a specific area of improvement and explain the rationale behind this choice. For example:
“I’ve only got a demo access to your project management app, so I’ll speak to what I’ve seen in the freemium edition. What I missed is the ability to create a personal library of pre-made task templates, which I could then replicate in a click. This could come in handy for users doing a lot of standardized flows e.g., creating the same task steps for onboarding new employees or processing invoices. This feature is also present with your competitor, hence I think it’s a good one to have.”
8. We Strive to Build an Inclusive Work Environment. What is Your Experience with D&I?
Employers today demonstrate an increased commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I). That is ensuring that people of different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, and treated equally and with respect.
In practice, this often means having specific policies around:
- Inclusive language
- Equal access to opportunities
- Prohibition of discrimination
- Base pay equity
In your answer, you must provide concrete examples of how you personally understand and adhere to D&I practices:
“As a customer success specialist, I never try to make any assumptions, based on unconscious biases around the client’s gender, age, or cultural background. When appropriate, I always ask if I am using the person’s preferred pronoun (especially in over-the-phone conversations). In my free time, I also volunteer at the Black Youth Organization in my neighborhood, doing college & career advisory for kids.
9. What is The Best Way To Manage You?
This final interview question will likely come up from your direct supervisor. Most genuinely want to understand what management and leadership approaches you value and best respond to.
Give them a quick, but detailed lowdown, which reflects both your personal preferences and the corporate workplace practices:
“In general, I prefer a participative management style, where every team member gets their say and can contribute to the joint project. I’m a solid team player and always ready to not just cheer the successes of others, but also help them secure these. That said, I’m an extroverted introvert, meaning I also need my “quiet” time to do independent deep work. Async coms is what I prefer, but I’m also excited to have regular face time with people when I work onsite.”
10. How Do You Approach Development in Your Career?
Treat this question as an opportunity to talk about all the upskilling and learning you’ve done over the years. Show that you’re interested in growing professionally and upskilling to be an even more in-demand professional.
“In my current role, I have a $500/year self-learning allowance from the employer. This year, I’ve used it towards attending an in-person workshop, hosted by Gap, on store layout planning best practices and a ticket to “the Future of Retail” conference. Apart from this, I also completed two internal courses on data-driven product merchandising.”
11. Are You Interviewing For Other Positions?
By asking this question, the employer tries to understand how much time they have to extend an offer — and how willing you’d be to accept this. Answer this question candidly with a “yes” or “no”. Lying about interviewing for other positions can work against you, especially if you work in an industry where everyone knows one another.
“Though [Company Name] is my prime choice for [your reason], I am indeed keeping my options open. So yes, I have interviewed with several other companies and am currently waiting for an offer from one of them.”
12. What Are Your Salary Expectations For This Role?
A common way to round up the final interview is the “money talk”. At this point, the employer really wants to understand if they can afford you and pitch you their best offer. You are not pressed to give a firm number. The best option is to name an acceptable range. This puts the ball in the employer’s court and allows further negotiations.
“Given my expertise, the role requirements, and average market compensation, I’d say an acceptable salary range for me would be $65K-$80 annually, depending on the other benefits and perks offered.”
Read more about salary negotiations during a job interview.
What Questions to Ask in a Final Interview?
Remember: an interview is a two-way conversation. You should always end it with some follow-up questions to the employer. In your final round, it makes sense to ask the following questions:
List of Questions to Ask in a Third Interview
- What is your average timeline for decision-making?
- How soon do you expect me to get started?
- What is your onboarding process like?
- Who will I work with the most closely?
- Does the person I will report directly to have a particular leadership style?
- Which projects would you like me to focus on first if hired?
- What are the key performance expectations for this position in the first 3/6 months?
- Do you have any concerns over my qualifications or employment history?
- Where do you see the company in the next three years?
- How does your company promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace?
- What might be my biggest challenges in this position?
- What made earlier employees successful in this role?
- How would you measure and recognize my performance in this role?
- How do you help employees professionally develop in this position?
- Do you need any other information from me before making an offer?
- How much time do you typically require to make the final decision?
Discover more questions to ask after an interview.
How to Follow Up After The Final Interview
Following up after every interview round is essential and even more important when you’re about to cross the finish line.
Most employers will tell you when you can expect a decision (or even an offer) after the same interview. This is something you can also ask about in your follow-up email.
As a rule of thumb, you should write a short thank-you note after the meeting. Express gratitude for their time, state your enthusiasm, and ask about the next steps.
The first follow-up email after the third interview can go like this:
Thanks for a dynamic conversation this afternoon. It was great to meet my potential manager and I particularly enjoyed learning about [a particular topic you’ve discussed].
Look forward to receiving the updates on your decision.
Plan to send a second follow-up email, when you haven’t received any news by the said date. Ghosting is quite uncommon at the last stages of interviewing. But HRs are busy people, so it always helps to get your message on top of their inbox.
The second follow-up email after the third interview:
I wanted to follow up on my final interview on 2023 for [position]. I was wondering if you had any news to share.
Since our last conversation, I have received a job offer from another company. Although [Company Name] remains my first choice because of [specific reason], I am pressed to provide a reply as well.
Look forward to hearing from you,
By mentioning a second offer in your follow-up email, you’re creating a sense of urgency. If the company is serious about hiring you, the HR will do their best to speed up the admin processes of getting you an offer in the best case. In the worst case, you’ll learn about their decision faster and move on to the alternative option.
How to Prepare for a Final Interview
Think of the final interview as the last sprint before the finish line. Your goal is to dash through it with grace, confidence, and professionalism.
To excel in the third interview round, follow these four steps.
1. Reflect on Previous Interviews
Take a quiet moment to understand how the two previous interview rounds have gone. Your goal is to create a shortlist of things that went well and areas where you could do better.
To make this process more effective, complete a quick self-evaluation questionnaire:
- How well did I introduce myself?
- Did my elevator pitch lend well? Are there any other details I should have provided?
- Was my outfit appropriate?
- Did I come overdressed or under-dressed? Pro tip: Business casual is the way to go in most cases.
- How was my timing?
- Do I need to arrive a bit earlier next time to give myself extra time to calm the nerves?
- How was my body language?
- Did I give a good handshake?
- Was my posture fine?
- Was I smiling too much or too little?
- Did I maintain good eye contact?
- Was my stance confident or did I fidget a bit?
- Did I speak calmly and clearly?
- How well did I handle the interview questions?
- Did I use the STAR method to provide detailed responses?
- Which questions made me nervous or stumped?
- Which questions got a very positive reaction from the interviewer?
- Did I highlight all of my skills, strengths, and accomplishments?
- What other questions should I ask during the final round?
- Make a personal list.
Be honest in your replies (there’s no one judging you this time). The goal of this self-evaluation exercise is to become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Then work on amplifying the former and ameliorating the latter during the final interview.
2. Brainstorm New Examples and Case Studies
During the third interview, you may see some familiar faces in the room (like the first and/or second interviewers). These people already heard your go-to stories about your accomplishments, work approaches, leadership principles, and so on. The last thing you’d want is to rehash the same stories in front of them.
Prepare a couple of new cases to demonstrate your achievements and illustrate your most marketable skills. Identify the most relevant examples based on the original job posting.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a marketing manager role, come up with new stories about:
- Most successful campaigns
- Growth tactics you’ve recently tried
- Failed experiments and lessons learned
- Tools and technologies you’ve recently picked
- Audits and strategy changes you’ve proposed
Your goal is to have a compelling personal story hidden down your sleeve for every final interview question.
3. Learn More About the Company’s Culture
At the final stage, most employers are primarily judging candidates by their “cultural fit” aka their alignment with the values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by their peers and the company in general.
The goal is to present your personality in a way that most appeals to the employer. And to do that, you need to do some reading on the company’s
- Mission and values
- Corporate & social responsibility
- Operating goals & commitments
- Diversity and inclusion (DI) principles
You can get most of this information online, by browsing the About + Career sections of the company’s website. For more details, head to the investor portal (for publicly traded companies) to grab a copy of their latest Earning Calls transcripts or Earnings reports. Some companies also publish interview series with current employees. Peruse those for extra deets!
4. Practice Sample Third Interview Questions
Ultimately, great performance at the final interview round boils down to practice.
You’ve already got a big list of sample final interview questions to peruse as a reference. Create bullet-point-styled replies for each of the above.
Next, ask a good friend or your partner to do a “mock interview” with you. Ask them to provide a candid opinion on your non-verbal communication, confidence levels, and the overall impression you’re projecting.
Your goal is to appear as confident and professional as ever!
FAQs About Final Interview Round
Below are answers to several more common questions people have about final interviews.
How Many Candidates Make It To The Final Interview?
On average, between two to four candidates get called to the final interview. Although the exact number may vary, based on the role and the type of company. Small to mid-market businesses may call just one candidate to the final interview round, whereas larger enterprises may host panels with four to five shortlisted applicants. Overall, there’s no hard rule on how many people make it to the final interviewing round.
What Are The Chances Of Getting A Job After The Final Interview?
Statistically speaking, 51% of job-seekers receive a job offer after three interviews. This means you have quite a high chance of getting hired after your final interview. Your employer will likely be selecting between you and one other (two at max) candidate. That being said: final interviews can go wrong too (especially if you’ve swept some facts under the rug during the previous rounds). So you should come well-prepared!
What Are Some Good Signs You Got The Job?
Each hiring conversation is highly circumstantial. Some employers don’t give away their decisions that are easy for personal or compliance reasons. Yet, there are several subtle, strong signs that you might be getting the job:
- You’ve discussed your salary and/or relocation possibility (compensation)
- The interviewer complimented your skills, competency, and achievements
- You were asked to share your opinions on the company’s projects
- The interviewer inquired when you could get started
- You were offered to meet the team and supervisors
- Your interview went longer than planned
How Long After A Final Interview Should You Hear Back?
The answer timeline will depend on the company size and hiring process. Many smaller employers, especially startups, make an offer within 24-48 hours after the final interview. Larger enterprises and multinational companies may need 2 weeks or more to get back to you with the hiring decision. Read a deeper take on how long it takes to hear back from a job application.
How Long After the Final Interview Until an Offer?
Most employers will first inform you about the interview outcome aka whether they want to hire you or decide to go with another candidate. This process can take anywhere from 24 hours to one week. Afterward, you should expect to receive a formal job offer and an employment contract for signing within 3 to 7 business days on average.