When you finally get to the final interview, you want to do everything in your power to ace it so you’re the one they choose for the job. However, most job seekers don’t know they’re making a huge mistake in final interviews that could cost them the job offer.
In your first round of interviews, you’re usually talking with a recruiter. You’re doing a phone screen and they’re just trying to figure out if you have the skills to move forward. Then you start to go through an interview, maybe two, where you’re meeting with hiring managers and other people who would be your peers, and that’s when they’re whittling down a half-dozen candidates to the final two or three.
Then, it’s the final interview. From coaching my clients, I’ve discovered that those who make it to the final interview and don’t get the job are pulling back in that last interview.
#1 Mistake: Pulling Back
In the final interview, you know it’s crunch time. And these clients of mine are emotionally aware and want to convey humility in the interview process. They don’t want to brag. They don’t want to be a narcissist. They don’t want to be cocky. They don’t want to oversell themselves and look desperate. So in an effort not to overdo it in that final interview, they sort of pull back. They don’t want to oversell themselves or say something that isn’t true.
The problem is, in the first interviews, they had more confidence. They conveyed more confidence. So all of a sudden in the final interview, when you’re trying to be more technically accurate with what you say, you actually start to look like you’re backing off, that you’re not as secure about yourself.
You do have to make sure that you deliver consistency with what you’ve been conveying throughout the entire interview process. Now, how do you do that?
As a career coach, I teach my clients how to answer questions with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I also call it the “Experience + Learn = Grow” model. This is the best way to avoid pulling back in final interviews. It’s also better (and far easier) than the STAR method, which people overuse and recruiters can spot a mile away because it feels canned.
With the “Experience + Learn = Grow” model, your answers sound authentic and you provide enough detail without overdoing it. That shows hiring managers you know what you’re talking about and you will feel comfortable because you are telling them the truth.
This model works, and it’s the final round interview where you want to nail things like your behavioral questions, those open-ended questions where you need this beginning, middle, and end storytelling format so that you give the right amount of detail, and you get the job.
For all of you out there who have ever made it to the final round and thought, “I don’t want to overkill it,” and then you didn’t get the job, it’s probably because you pulled back too much and looked like you weren’t as sure of yourself. You fix it with “Experience + Learn = Grow.” That’s the way to do it.