Managing Director of Enterprise Sales Personnel, Paul Thomson, shares his advice on how to ace that final interview.
You’ve sent off your application, you’ve been shortlisted, and you’ve progressed past the first (and perhaps even second and third) interview. But it’s the next step – the final interview – that will determine whether or not you land the job.
Whether you’re applying to become an account manager, a sales director, or a senior director[PM1] , final interviews are daunting: the competition is strong, the scrutiny is severe, and you may feel as though you could die of nervousness.
The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to stay calm, get prepared, and ensure that you perform as well as possible on the day.
In this article, we list our top tips for how to ace your final interview.
1. Know Who Will Be Present and What They Expect from You
You don’t want to get caught out, so look again at the job specification and any other details you have about your interview, and try to determine what the company is looking for – for example, a culture match, certain personality traits, or specific abilities and qualifications. Think about how you meet these criteria, as well as how to link them into your general “pitch”.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t call the hiring manager and ask what to expect if you’re finding this information hard to come by. Furthermore, a good recruiter will be able to supplement this information for you, so think about reaching out to them, too.
2. Understand What the Company Wants to Achieve by Filling the Role
It’s easy to get caught up in how great the job will be for you. But companies don’t make hires just for the fun of it. Hiring is part of a bigger business development [PM2] strategy – they want someone to come in and achieve something very specific, be that making x amount of sales, maintaining client accounts, or project management[PM3] [PM4] [PM5] .
Whatever the primary objective the company has for hiring, it’s important that you understand and convey the traits that they’re looking for. Using information gained in earlier interviews plan a strategy for achieving success in the role and link it to information shared by the employers. You can find out more about interview preparation in our other blogs.
3. Memorise Key Information
In an interview situation, it’s not rare for people to go blank – even when asked about information they should know through-and-through. To make sure that you avoid any potential embarrassment, memorise your current salary and benefits package, your notice period, and the questions you want to ask.
Concerning questions, it’s important that you plan a handful (just in case they inadvertently answer some in the course of the interview) and try to phrase them in a way that demonstrates your suitability for the role. For example, “Please describe what experience would be most useful in this role.”
4. Recap Previous Feedback and Build Self-Awareness
All of those interviews you’ve had in the past shouldn’t go to waste – even if you didn’t get the job. Think about any constructive criticisms or minor reservations expressed following previous interviews and plan how to avoid them or counter them if they come up again. Ideally, you should be prepared for any challenges you face during the interview rather than having to think on the spot.
Also, consider asking the hiring manage for feedback given to other applicants in historical interviews that you could use to assist you. For example, this information may make it clear that a key final stage interviewer places a lot of importance on how well applicants know the competition or how up-to-date you are on industry news.
5. Plan Your Presentation
Many final interviews require candidates to make a presentation. If this is the case, you need to know in no uncertain terms what you are expected to deliver. If you’re unsure about what is expected of you, contact the hiring manager and ask them directly (rather than asking HR or your recruiter).
A good recruiter will send you examples of good presentations made by successful candidates, and these can act as an excellent starting point. If they don’t, make sure to ask!
Ask a friend to check over your presentation and whether it matches the brief, and practice and rehearse it until you’re confident in the content, your delivery, and that it will fit within the time allocated.
Bonus tip: it’s a good idea to insert the company logo and colours in your presentation.
Good luck to all of you preparing for final interviews! We hope you found this article helpful.