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Setting Yourself Apart from the Competition in the Final Round Interview

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Posted On Jun 11, 2024 

You made it to the final round of the interview process for a new tech position—nice! It’s no small feat. Give yourself permission to celebrate the accomplishment. But, as we all know, the hard part isn’t over yet.

You may be wondering what to expect in the final interview. By now, you may have gone through one, two, or as many as five interviews. What else can there be to talk about? It’s natural to feel confused and even a little nervous. But as Mark Twain once said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” So save your worry for after the interview and instead, start preparing.

During the final round of interviews, the competition is stiff, but candidates generally have similar levels of competence. This phase of the selection process usually focuses on identifying who will be the right fit for the team. At this point, interviewers are seeking individuals who not only possess the skills required for the job but also have the vision, ambition, and qualities necessary to drive the team and the organization toward success. With the right tools, that candidate could be you.

5 Tips to Ace a Final Round Interview for a Tech Job


1. Go ahead and ask!


Ask the interviewers what you can expect from the final round interview.

Many companies like to take a different approach to this stage of the hiring process. While some might use it to gauge how good of a fit you are culturally, others may save the toughest challenges for the final round. Therefore, it’s okay to simply ask them what you can expect and how to prepare yourself best. They will not view this as a weakness—instead, it will actually count towards your organization and preparedness as a candidate.

It’s in their best interest to help you perform at your highest ability (especially if you work with a recruiter whose performance is measured by hires). If they give you a vague answer, and you’re still unsure, just ask how your time will be spent. Will you be performing a technical challenge or meeting with a team of people? Do your research on the individuals who will be facilitating the final round so you might find commonalities to bring up during the conversation.

2. Time to level up


Many overzealous candidates walk into the final interview thinking they have it in the bag. Well, overconfidence can negatively impact the outcome of the final round, simply because you may not take the time to prepare. In reality, this should be the moment you’re leveling up the most. Your fellow candidates are probably just as qualified as you, and the final decision may hinge on subtle distinctions within the group. While it’s important to have confidence in reaching this stage, it's equally important to maintain a sense of humility, recognizing that you are competing against highly qualified people.

Don’t shy away from reiterating your key accomplishments—even if they’re on your CV or you’ve mentioned them already. Don’t stop building yourself up just because you’ve made it this far. Besides, you may have new interviewers, or they’ve forgotten in a sea of accomplished candidates.

Take the opportunity to explain what went wrong and the measures you took to rectify the situation or learn from it. Expressing areas where you have room for improvement is also a great way to connect with the hiring team. Remember, nobody is perfect, but those who can identify their weaknesses alongside their strengths show a lot of character by acknowledging their faults and a genuine desire to grow and learn.

3. Build rapport


While the final round may assess your skills over your character, it's important to remember that the interviewers will still evaluate the time spent conversing as an indicator of your personality fit with the team or company. Let your true personality shine! Don't hesitate to be completely yourself and even share some moments of laughter with the interviewers. After all, these people could become a big part of your daily life.

Remember—communication extends well beyond the words you say. Make sure your body language, eye contact (even through the screen), facial expressions, etc. are all personable, open, and professional. While in the interview, it can be hard to tell that you’re fidgeting or looking around, so go ahead and record yourself a few times for practice.

4. It’s your chance to smooth earlier mistakes or recap your strengths


Coming back for an interview, whether the second or the fifth, gives you an excellent opportunity to make up for previous oversights and reiterate your strong suits. The final interview is not to make apologies—it’s to note where previous answers could have been stronger and find ways to weave those into the conversation.

This is also your chance to ask any questions you forgot about. It’s important to ask questions, as it shows a genuine interest in the company and comes off as a strong suit. Take some time before the final interview to think back on some areas you wanted to improve or the experiences you previously left out. Make a small list and keep it in mind.

5. Stay enthusiastic - it’s exciting!


For hiring managers, the final round is a way to distinguish the candidates who really want to be there, from the ones who are looking for options. If this position or company is one that you truly feel ignited by, let them know!

You don’t need to be forthright if that makes you nervous, but show that you're excited about this opportunity through your tone of voice, body language, and discourse. Ultimately, all the final candidates have stellar backgrounds and impressive skills, but an authentic excitement to add to their company is invaluable.

The final round is also for you


Remember that interviews are also for you. You get to interview them and evaluate whether this is truly a team or an organization that fits with you. If you caught any red flags in previous meetings, use this opportunity to bring them up and inquire more about their potential weaknesses.

Connect with an LHH recruiter to start your career journey today!