Congratulations! You've made it to the final round of the interviewing process. This is a huge step forward. While it doesn't necessarily mean that you've got the job in the bag already, it does mean that the company is very seriously considering you. After all, why else would they carve out the time to talk with you again?
Making it to the final interview is huge. That alone is a major accomplishment. But it's safe to assume that you probably want the job, not just that last interview. You didn't come this far only to come this far, right?
The final interview can be intimidating since this is the last shot you have to really sell yourself. It also may involve talking to more (and typically more important) people within the company. But don't worry! We're here to help with common final interview questions and answers — plus tips to help you keep your head up high.
15 final interview questions (and sample answers)
Here are 15 final interview questions you should know, plus answers to help you craft your own.
1. What is your current salary?
Your prospective employer may ask what your current salary is in order to figure out how much they should pay you or gauge what you may be expecting in terms of a salary. That said, in some states, it's actually illegal for employer to ask about your previous salary. You do not have to answer this question.
For example, you might say: "I don't feel comfortable answering this question at this time. I don't think that my current salary is relevant at the moment, but we can discuss it after you share the salary range for this job."
2. What are your salary expectations?
The hiring manager may ask you for your salary expectations to get a sense of whether or not your expectations fall into the salary range that they had in mind. Again, you don't have to answer this question if you don't feel comfortable. You may ask them what they had in mind instead, by flipping the question.
For example, you might say: "I'm open to discussing what you had in mind for this position."
3. What other positions are you interviewing for?
The person interviewing you for this position may want to know what your other prospects are in case you're looking elsewhere. They may be asking so they know what their competition is — or to gauge whether or not they think you'll take the job if they were to offer it to you.
For example, you might say: "I'm interviewing for a few other similar roles, but I am prioritizing this company. I really value XYZ about the culture here, and I am confident I'd be a good fit."
4. How do you handle stress?
Not everyone handles stress well. The prospective employer wants to make sure that you can work well under pressure. A good way to answer this question is by sharing a concrete example of how you've handled stress in the past.
For example, you might say: "I appreciate a challenge and thrive under pressure. In my last role, I was tasked with completing X with Y roadblocks. Nonetheless, I was able to manage Z."
5. Are you willing/able to work remotely?
Nowadays, given the COVID-19 crisis, more and more people are working remotely or from home. Your potential future employer will want to know that, if necessary, you'll be able to do it, as well.
For example, you might say: "I am flexible. I value face-to-face time with my colleagues and clients, but I am adaptable and work well both in collaborative environments and independently from home."
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The employer may ask you this because they want to know what kind of ambition you have. They may also want to just be sure that your future goals align with those of the company.
For example, you might say: "In five years, I see myself advancing into X role or a related position with the company. I am inspired by Y, and it seems like this company offers some great resources, like Z, to support that kind of growth."
7. Are you more of an independent worker or a team collaborator?
Again, your interviewer is going to want to know whether or not you're a solo-worker or a team person. They'll want to make sure that you can work well in both types of situations.
For example, you might say: "I prefer to work independently, as I tend to be the most productive when I can buckle down with my head down. But I love collaborating with my colleagues, and I value that time engaging with my team and participating in group discussions, as well."
8. What is your ideal work environment?
Maybe the interviewer already decided that you have the skills to do the job well, but now they want to know whether or not you're a good culture fit. The best way to answer this if you want the job is to describe a work environment that aligns with that of the company for which you are interviewing.
For example, you might say: "I really like working in an open floor plan, where I can easily connect with my team and share ideas in a collaborative space."
9. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss or a higher up.
The hiring manager may ask this question because they want to know how you would handle conflict in case you disagree with them or another authority figure should they hire you. Your best bet is to describe a small incident and talk about how you handled it maturely and learned from the situation. You want to make yourself look good here, after all! Not difficult. (You also don't want to badmouth anyone!)
For example, you might say: "A former boss and I disagreed on how to move ahead with X. Ultimately, we talked it through, kept open minds, and decided to compromise on Y. It was a great decision because, together, we were able to secure Z results. It turned out that putting our minds together worked out well for us."
10. Tell me about a time you messed up at work, and how you learned from it.
Again, the hiring manager is going to want to know that, when mistakes inevitably happen, you can and will handle them maturely and with professionalism. You will want to make sure that whatever story you decide to share wasn't a huge deal. After all, you don't want to make it seem like you are irresponsible, but you do want to make it seem like you are mature enough to admit your faults and learn and grow from your mistakes.
For example, you might say: "I was supposed to meet X deadline but ran into difficulties with Y. Ultimately, the project yielded great results, but I learned Z about making sure to use my time more wisely and delegating accordingly to maximize my team's strengths and minimize issues in the future."
11. Tell me about a time you worked with someone who was difficult.
And again, the hiring manager is going to want to know that you are someone who can work well with all different types of people.
For example, you might say: "I have had colleagues in the past whose work styles clashed with mine, but I always appreciate diversity and different perspectives. I keep an open mind and welcome fresh ideas. I consider myself adaptive, flexible, and open."
12. What is your biggest strength?
It may not be easy to boast about yourself, but this is your chance to share your biggest asset.
For example, you might say: "My biggest strength is my ability to problem solve creatively. I am always thinking outside of the box, and thrive in the face of a challenge. I consider myself a very innovative trail blazer in this regard."
13. What is your biggest weakness?
Talking about your biggest weakness may be even harder than talking about your biggest strength. After all, who wants to make themselves look bad? But your prospective employer is probably looking to see how humble and self-aware you are and how you can grow.
For example, you might say: "My biggest weakness is probably that I say yes to everything. I am an eager person who loves to learn and dip my toes in different waters, but I am learning to set boundaries to better manage my time. I know that it's best to do some things very well than everything mediocre. And I aim to make the most of whatever it is that I'm doing. I want to be fully present and be able to give 100% of my attention, always."
14. Why do you want to work for this company?
The employer may ask you this as an ending question to make sure that you're still interested in the company! You should answer enthusiastically with something you love about the company.
For example, you might say: "I would be thrilled to work at this company because I'm an avid consumer of your products, strongly believe in your mission, and am continuously inspired by your leaders."
15. Why do you want this job?
The employer may ask you this question for the same reason that they'll ask you why you want to work for their company. They want to make sure that you are still interested in the job. Again, passion is key.
For example, you might say: "I would be thrilled to fulfill this role because it is a perfect fit for me, as my personal vision aligns well. I am confident that my skills would prove meritorious, and am eager to continue to grow in this role."
Tips for the final interview
Feeling nervous about your big day coming up? Here are some tips to keep in mind going into the final round of the interviewing process. (And just remember: Confidence is always key!)
1. Remember that interviews are two-way streets.
At the end of the day, interviews are always just conversations. Even if you are at the final stage of the interview, it can still be boiled down to a simple conversation. Try not to sweat it too much. You have to make a decision on them just as much as they have to make a decision on you. So be sure to ask everything you want to know before you lose the opportunity to do so. And keep calm!
2. Don't get too cocky too soon.
Maybe you feel like you have it in the bag since you have made it to the last round of interviews and are in the final stage. But just because you have made it this far does not mean that you have definitely gotten the job. You still need to treat this final interview like you have treated all of the other rounds of interviews. Do your research, act with professionalism, be respectful, ask questions, and go into this final interview with the same enthusiasm as you went into the first one.
3. Do your homework.
The final round of the interview process usually involves talking to people who are higher up in the company. That's because these people don't waste their time talking to every single candidate that has come through the door; they only carve out the time to sit down with the people who have made it this far. So do your research on who is going to be interviewing you this time around. Make sure you know who they are, what they do, how you'd be working with them, and other details that can make or break this final round.
If you're offered a job at the end of the final interview, now is the time to negotiate if you want to negotiate. Now is the time to ask for more money, more time off, more flexibility, more benefits, or whatever it is that you want and/or need from this role before you ultimately make a final decision on whether or not to take it. The job is yours if you want it, so now you have to let the company know whether or not you want it as offered.
5. Send a follow-up note.
As always, send a note to thank the hiring manager for their time (as well as anyone else who interviewed you during that process). You always want to leave it off on a positive with a letter that expresses your interest and reinforces your passion for the company, the job, the field, etc. Just make sure that you send it sooner rather than later — you know, before the company makes a final decision!
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.