How to conduct a final interview
A successful hiring decision requires a few stages: resume screening, two or more interview rounds and, in some cases, skills-based assessments. Invite qualified candidates to a final interview to identify the best fit for your organization before you make your job offer.
For the final round interview, a shortlist of two or three candidates will usually meet with the CEO. To reach an objective decision, consider getting together a group of interviewers, including the hiring manager, the team leader and the CEO, if they were not involved in previous rounds. When you’re inviting candidates, clarify that this is the final round and let them know who they’ll meet. Prepare final interview questions that can address the last questions anyone from your team may have.
Final interviews help identify long-term partners: people who understand and share your company values. Candidates who have reached this part of hiring process are already qualified for the job. Turn your focus to potential hires who will not only “get the job done,” but will provide fresh ideas, be great team players and eventually contribute to your company success.
After the candidate you chose accepts your job offer, spend some time reaching out to rejected candidate(s) via email or phone.
Sample final interview questions to ask candidates:
- Now that you’ve learned the full scope of this position, what are your salary expectations?
- If hired, how would you want to grow within the company? How do you think you’d do it?
- What are your interests outside of work?
- What would make you quit in your first month here?
- When is the earliest you can begin working for us?
- Do you have any questions for us?
How to assess candidates’ answers in the final round interview
- Even if you have previously discussed potential deal breakers, the final interview is a good chance to review things like salary, how much notice they need to give their current employer and working hours/days.
- Losing a new hire too soon is both time-consuming and costly. Identify and select candidates whose long-term career goals match your company’s objectives.
- Choosing between two to three qualified candidates can be tough. Try to visualize each candidate working at your company. Who would collaborate better with their team? Who would put their best foot forward to reach goals?
- Ask questions that reveal whether candidates understand your company’s needs and objectives. These people are more likely to adapt quicker and perform better in their new position.
- Combine information you gathered from the entire process to reach a hiring decision. For example, if you’re hiring for an entry-level role, you might want to select a candidate who didn’t submit the perfect assignment but shows enthusiasm and is eager to develop.
- They have no questions for you. No matter how clear you are about the role, when a candidate asks additional questions about your company, their team and the next steps of the process, they’re interested in joining your company and want to gather as much information as possible.
- They are unprofessional. You may have broken the ice in previous interview rounds, but this doesn’t mean they should be arrogant or too casual in their final interview, particularly if they’re meeting with the company’s CEO.
- They show inconsistent behavior. If you spot significant differences in a candidate’s behavior from their first to their final interview, that’s a concerning sign that they mightn’t have revealed their true personality.
- They present last-minute limitations/requests. If candidates choose their final interview to share some limitations they never mentioned before (e.g. “I have to leave work every day at 4 p.m., because of X”) or significantly change their salary expectations, these are signs of irresponsibility and red flags for future collaboration.
- They lack enthusiasm. Candidates who are invited for a final interview are aware that the probability they’ll be hired is high. A passive attitude and lack of energy indicate they may have second thoughts about the job or that they’re using your company as a stepping stone to pursue a different career. Try to identify how motivated they are, but don’t be fast to reject candidates who could be shy or simply inexpressive.