The Final Interview

Posted May 6, 2011 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

You’ve had the phone interview, followed by the in-person interview, and perhaps even a second interview. What comes next? An offer? Sometimes. But in some cases, with some companies, there’s a final step you have to get through – the final interview. Usually this interview happens with a member of senior leadership, in some cases, members of the C-Suite. It’s the final “once over” before you’re offered a job. It’s customary, especially in smaller corporations or nonprofit organizations where the CEO or President is extremely involved in the organization’s day-to-day functions.

Though it’s the final once over, this can also be the most intimidating of the interviews. You’re no longer talking to someone who will be your boss, who will hopefully be your cheerleader. You’re talking to the person who is ultimately responsible for the reputation of the company. So here’s a few tips to get you through:

  • Never let ’em see you sweat. Working with anyone in the C-suite, there is a level of respect you need to show. But it’s also important not to be intimidated. A CEO wants someone who can be a player on the team, not someone he or she will have to worry is too scared to pipe up in a meeting. So keep your cool, breathe in and out, and don’t let ’em stress you out.
  • Keep your answers straightforward and to-the-point. In the first or second interview, you might give answers with more examples in them, giving your immediate supervisor information about how you might deal with situations at this company. The C-suite is more about fit than experience. Answer questions pointedly and with straightforward answers without fancy examples or anecdotes. Show the CEO you can be a good fit for the team.
  • Ask business questions. When the time comes with the “what questions do you have for me” portion of the interview, skip the traditional interview questions. Don’t ask the C-Suite about culture or qualities you’ll need to succeed there. Ask business questions. Research and ask the about the company’s new initiatives, most important struggles they’re facing in the next year, opportunities for growth, etc. Show your business savvy character and let them know you can understand the principles you’ll need to understand the company’s structure and revenue streams.

It’s all about fit when it comes to the final interview. Go in there, be yourself, ask interesting business questions, and you’ll be fine.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."