If you’ve made it to the third round of interviews, congratulations! That most likely means you're among the final candidates for the job — a very good sign. By the third round of interviews, you’re being evaluated regarding how you’d fit into the overall company culture, not just the role for which you’re being considered. Basically, they’re weighing whether they want to invest in your hiring, onboarding, and training.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the third round of interviews, including:
What is a third interview?
How to prepare for a third interview
What questions are asked in a third interview?
Why do employers do three (or more) interviews?
While it might seem excessive, companies generally have several rounds of interviews so they can find the best person for the job. After the first interview (in person or over the phone), they’ve determined that you meet the criteria for the position. The second interview goes more in-depth about your qualifications. By the time you get to the third round, the hiring manager is confirming who would fit into the role best, often utilizing input from other departments or senior management.
How many people make it to the third round of interviews?
If you’ve made it to the third round of interviews, you can feel confident you’re in serious contention for the job, as only two to four candidates typically make it to the final round of interviews. These are the candidates that the hiring manager feels have done well in earlier rounds, and at this point, each one generally has equal levels of qualifications and experience.
According to Forbes, an average of 118 people apply for any given job, but only 20 percent of these applicants actually get an interview. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 percent of people who apply for 1-10 jobs will get an interview.
How to prepare for a third interview
If you’ve made it to the third round, you can feel confident that the company knows you’re qualified for the job, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a job offer is "in the bag." You'll still want to prepare for this interview as thoroughly as you did for previous interviews and determine what sets you apart from the other candidates.
1. Review your previous interviews
In the first and second rounds of interviews, you probably learned more about the job and the responsibilities of the position. Take some time to compare that information to your job history and qualifications, and make note of where they align and how your experience would be especially constructive.
2. Expect behavioral and situational interview questions
While you may have answered some of these in your second interview, prepare for them again, and know that they’ll expect you to go more in-depth. At this point, your skills are still being evaluated, and they want to know how you’ve dealt with tough situations in the past.
3. Be prepared to negotiate salary and benefits
Before you go into the interview, make sure you’ve done your research about the value of your skills, based on salary and market trends. If, for some reason, you’re not happy with what they’re offering, don’t bring it up now — that can be addressed if they offer you the job.
4. Ask the right questions
During the third interview, the hiring manager shouldn’t be the only one asking questions. You should have some thoughtful, practical questions ready to go. Some questions you can consider asking are:
Have I answered all your questions?
Do you have any hesitations about my experience or qualifications?
Who would I be reporting to?
How has this position evolved?
What do you like best about working for this company?
Tips for acing the third interview
Making it to the third interview is great, and you do stand a good chance of getting an offer, but it isn't a guarantee. You still need to do everything you can to put your best foot forward, so while you need to be confident, you don't want to appear entitled or arrogant. And even if the interview seems more casual than in previous rounds, remain professional. You want to behave as seriously as you did for the past interviews and continue to put yourself forward as a serious contender for the job.
Know who will be there. It’s fine to do research regarding company culture, and don’t be afraid to call if you can’t find any pertinent information.
Assess company expectations. Get a handle on the expectations for the position, whether it’s achieving a certain sales target, leading a new project, or overseeing customer service issues.
Memorize important information. This could include your current salary, how much notice you’ll have to give your current employer, and the questions you want to ask (don’t use notes).
Reflect on past feedback. Keep in mind responses and issues from previous interviews, and be ready to address them.
Be prepped and organized. If you have to make a presentation, make sure you have all the tools and equipment ahead of time. And rehearse it before the interview!
Typical questions you’ll encounter in a third interview
During the first and second rounds of interviews, the questions probably focused on your background, experience, and education. Third interviews are a little different, because at this point the interviewer is probably more interested in your career goals and objectives, and how you'd fit into the company itself. Interviewers use behavioral questions because it allows them to get a more detailed idea of how you actually work. Remember, "showing" is better than "telling," as it gives a concrete example of how you've dealt with situations in the past.
Questions that evaluate how you’d fit in with the company
How would you describe your personality type?
What’s your ideal work environment?
How would you best describe your leadership style?
What do you like to do for fun?
Behavioral interview questions
How have you dealt with criticism in the past?
Have you ever had a co-worker who was not doing their share of the workload? How did you handle it?
If your manager asked you to do something you felt was unethical, what would you do?
Logistical interview questions
What are your salary requirements?
When can you start?
Are you willing to relocate?
Questions about the position
What are your career goals?
What interested you in this position?
What did you like most about your last job?
What makes you different from the other candidates?
Remember, the job interview process can be stressful, but try not to hyper-focus on it. Continue to apply for other jobs, or even work on your hobbies or go for a walk. Take time to network to help your job prospects should this interview fall through. Although you want to stay positive, prepare for the possibility of disappointment.
And remember, if you don’t get an offer, it may have absolutely nothing to do with you — the company may have instituted a hiring freeze, or some upper-level executive might have decided not to fill the position at this time. The important thing is to not put your life on hold while waiting for an offer. The right position will present itself at the right time. Stay positive.
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The third interview is generally used to see how you would fit into the company culture and confirm the value you would bring to the position.
Only two to four candidates typically make it to the final round of interviews.
Prepare for the third interview as thoroughly as you did for previous interviews, and determine what sets you apart from the other candidates.
Prepare answers to behavioral questions to show how you’ve handled situations in the past.