Mastering the Final Interview (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated June 8, 2022 | Published January 3, 2020
Updated June 8, 2022
Published January 3, 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Most hiring processes include multiple interview rounds in which you meet with several employees. A final interview is one of your last chances to make a positive impression on a hiring manager or supervisor, and excellent responses to their questions could increase your chances of receiving a job offer.
In this article, we review some of the common questions you could expect during a final interview and we offer sample answers and tips.
Related: Final Job Interview: Top 9 Tips + Examples
Follow these 9 best tips to help you ace your final interview. We created this video to help you demonstrate why you should get the job over other candidates.
What are final interview questions?
During the final interview, you will probably meet a member or members of senior management, such as the CEO in smaller companies or the HR manager. It is important to build a rapport with them during the interview to show you are a good fit for the company. Remember, getting the job will not only be based on your skills and experience but also on your ability to develop long-term professional relationships.
In your previous interviews, you probably answered questions related to your skills and qualifications, meaning you probably won’t reencounter them in your final interview. During this interview, the HR manager or CEO may want to gauge whether you will fit in with the company’s culture and have the proper emotional intelligence for the role. For this reason, you can expect behavioral questions during the final interview.
These kinds of questions can be challenging, especially if the question involves handling conflict or stress in your past work experience. It is important to emphasize the positive outcomes of potentially negative situations. The best approach when answering these types of questions is to use the STAR method, which stands for:
Situation: Start your answer by describing the situation and providing the context. For example, you were managing a large project.
Task: Explain what your responsibility was in the given situation. For example, a team member was not executing their work satisfactorily.
Action: Describe what action you took to address the matter. For example, you had a meeting with the team member to find out what the issue was.
Result: Describe the outcome of the situation and highlight the positive results. For instance, after the meeting, the team member’s attitude and productivity improved.
Examples of final interview questions and answers
To assist you in your preparations for your final interview, here are a few examples of the types of questions you might expect during the interview and how to answer them effectively:
What salary are you hoping to earn?
Can you describe a conflict you experienced in your previous position?
Have you experienced times in your career when you were under a lot of pressure and had to deal with stress? If so, how did you cope?
1. What salary are you hoping to earn?
If the company has not asked you what your salary expectations are by now, they will probably do so during the final interview. They need this information to gauge whether your salary expectations fall within their budget. If you do not know what salary you should be asking for, you should research other salaries for similar positions in your location. Consider your experience, education and skills as they relate to the position as well.
When answering this question, it is advisable to suggest a range instead of a single amount. As the company may very well opt for the lowest number, your minimum number should still be an amount you’re comfortable with. It is also a good idea to indicate that you are open to negotiations to prevent a situation where you are possibly eliminated because your salary expectations are too high for their budget.
Example: “I would be happy with a salary that falls between $64,000 and $70,000 annually. I think this is a fair number, given my research on what other companies are paying for this position, the amount of experience I have in the field and the contributions I know I can make to this company. However, I am willing to negotiate.”
2. Can you describe a conflict you experienced in your previous position?
This is a behavioral question that interviewers like to ask in final interviews, as it provides them with an idea of how well you handle conflict and whether you function well in a team. This is important, as work involves constant interaction with others. Your ability to build and maintain good relationships in the workspace is just as important as your skills and experience.
As this is a behavioral question, remember to focus on the steps you took to resolve the issue and the positive outcomes that resulted from your actions. Using the STAR method will also provide you with guidance on how to frame your answer.
Example: “In my previous position, I was assigned a senior staff member as a mentor. However, instead of training and teaching me, he seemed no to have time for me. I decided to give the situation six months to see if things would not improve. When it didn’t, I asked for a meeting with him and explained in a polite and unemotional way that I felt I wasn’t learning anything. He said he understood my position and that he would involve me more in future tasks.
This, however, did not materialize. I gave it another few weeks and then called a meeting with my direct manager and the person in question, as I believe in transparency and open discussion. After the meeting, my manager assigned me a new mentor who taught me a lot during my five-year tenure with the company.”
3. Have you experienced times in your career where you were under a lot of pressure and had to deal with stress? If so, how did you cope?
This is another behavioral question that interviewers like to ask, as they want to gauge your emotional intelligence. If you are applying for a job that involves a lot of pressure, an HR manager wants to know that you will be able to cope in stressful situations.
When answering this question, you should highlight the fact that you tend to take precautionary measures to prevent stress, such as using a rigid schedule, and that you also maintain a healthy lifestyle to counter stressors. However, you should also show how you manage stress if it does occur at work.
Example: “I am generally a very organized and disciplined person. For instance, I create daily, weekly and monthly schedules and follow them to the hour. I also make sure that I exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet, as I think a healthy lifestyle is effective in countering stress.
However, I know stressful situations can frequently occur at work. In my previous job, my project manager tended to trust and rely on me a lot. As I saw this as a compliment, I did not want to decline any tasks she gave me. After several months of this, I realized I wasn’t coping well with the pressure and my performance was declining.
I called a meeting with her and explained how I felt. She was very understanding and said she thought I was coping as I continued to agree to the extra work she was giving me. This experience taught me the value of honest and open communication in the workplace.”
Related: Top 6 Common Interview Questions and Answers
Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, breaks down the intentions behind employer's questions and shares strategies for crafting strong responses.
Tips for the final interview
Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for a final interview and get the most out of the experience:
Anticipate different kinds of questions
Final interview questions may focus on behavioral and relationship-type questions, so you should prepare for these. These kinds of questions can be more difficult than interview questions that focus on work experience, technical skills and qualifications. You could prepare for these types of questions by asking a trusted friend to practice a few mock behavioral questions with you.
Prepare questions about the company
The final interview presents you with an opportunity to ask any questions about the company that you need clarity on. You might want to perform some research on the company to give you ideas for questions. For instance, you could ask what training and career development opportunities are available for somebody in your position, what the expectations are concerning overtime or how your performance would be measured.
Observe the company’s culture
You will most likely meet potential colleagues and members of management during your final interview. This is an important opportunity to observe behavior and the office environment in order to learn clues about the company's culture. For example, if you notice that employees of all levels are comfortable in conversation with each other, you can deduce that the company culture probably encourages teamwork and collaboration.
Related: Interview Question: Why Should We Hire You?
In this video, Holl, a career coach at Indeed, explains how to best answer the tricky interview question, “Why should we hire you?”
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