You’ve taken many steps to get to the final interview, including research, interview question prep, and even choosing just the right attire. You might think that the moment you step out of the interviewer’s office, the hiring decision is out of your hands. There are still a few things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. "It ain't over 'til it's over," so you should continue to market yourself professionally and effectively to increase your chances of getting the job offer.
We’ll discuss what you can do to improve your chances of getting the job after your final interview, including:
Does a final interview mean you got the job?
How many candidates make it to the final rounds of interviewing?
How many interviews does it take before getting a job?
What’s next after a final interview?
What are steps you can take to improve your chances of getting the job after the final interview?
I had a final interview — does that mean I got the job?
While getting to the final round does mean you are one of a few candidates still being considered, it’s not a shoo-in. Each company’s hiring process is different, but companies generally look at two to five candidates for the final round of interviews. If you’re one of four candidates, for example, that gives you a 25 percent chance of getting the job.
How many interviews does it take to get a job?
Job applicants sometimes don’t know if they’re in a final interview or not. A second interview signals more interest, and a third tends to be an increasingly positive situation that may lead to a job offer. It can be costly to make a bad hiring decision, so many companies are becoming more cautious by exceeding three rounds of interviews. A hiring manager may initially interview six to ten candidates in the first round and conduct anywhere from two to four rounds of interviews before making a job offer, assuming the right person has been found.
The global staffing firm Robert Half performed a survey that said 62 percent of U.S. professionals lost interest in a job if they didn’t get a response from a potential employer within two weeks after an interview, and this number increases by 15 percent after three weeks.
So, what happens after a final interview?
Hiring managers will spend a lot of time going over applications and interview notes before making someone an offer, so you might have to wait anywhere from a few days to several weeks while this happens. A candidate might be offered a job within one or two days if there is a strong need to fill the position. It also can take several weeks to fill a job if there are other higher-priority positions to fill.
While you’re waiting, take the opportunity to send one follow-up email or call the interviewer within 24 hours. This shows that you are interested in and enthusiastic about the position and highlights why you’re the best candidate for the job.
What not to do after your final interview
Remember that filling a position takes time, and sometimes hiring managers underestimate the amount of time they’ll need. That said, don’t halt your job search while you’re waiting. Until you have an offer, you don’t have a job.
There are a few things that could be going on behind the scenes that delay a job offer:
Someone involved in the hiring process is out of the office
More interviews are being conducted
Background and reference checks haven’t been completed
The company has had a shakeup that has delayed the hiring process
An offer has been made to one candidate, and the hiring manager is awaiting a reply before extending an offer to you
Avoid making negative comments about a company or interviewer online. You might feel the need to vent, but resist the temptation. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences, and you might just talk yourself out of a job.
How to improve your chances of getting an offer after the final interview
The important thing to remember is that the interview doesn’t end after you stop answering questions. You still need to take a proactive stance to remain competitive until an offer has been made. Taking positive steps will not only give you peace of mind that you're doing everything you can, but it will also provide ample opportunities for the hiring manager to understand why you’re the right person for the position. So what can you do?
Stay professional at all times
Interviews don't happen in a vacuum. Maintain a positive, professional countenance with everyone you encounter before, during, and after your interview. Don’t be brusque or dismissive of any support staff you interact with, and be sure to thank them on your way out. It's important to leave a good impression, and allow everyone to think, "Hey, that's someone I'd like to work with." It's not unheard of for a manager to ask a receptionist for feedback on the impression of a candidate. Make it a good one.
Always say "Thank you"
The most important thing you can do after a final interview is to thank the hiring team for their time. Personalize your message by mentioning something positive that you remember from the interview. Consider delivering a handwritten note if your final interview was in person; otherwise, stick to email.
You’ll also want to send any supporting material that was requested during the interview, such as samples from your portfolio, which can help reinforce your candidacy.
Let the interviewer know if you’re in demand
If you have had multiple job interviews, let all of them politely know if you receive an offer. This might give another company the chance to make you an offer or improve their planned offer if they know you’re looking at other options.
Offer to stay in touch
No matter the outcome of the interview, offer to remain connected. When writing your final thank you note, include an offer to keep you in mind for other opportunities or keep your application active in their files. This will highlight your enthusiasm about the position and maintain a positive impression of you as a candidate and as a person.
At the corporate level, the average number of applications for each open position is 250, but only four to six people are asked for an interview. The average number of interviews it takes before receiving a job offer can be as many as 10-20, and every application you submit has an 8.3% chance of getting you an interview.
Ask what’s next
While you’re still in the final interview, ask the hiring manager what you can expect during the hiring process. This is obviously useful information for you, but it's one more way to let the interviewer know you’re really interested in and excited about the opportunity and want to see the process move forward. You can also offer to provide additional materials or information — and make sure you get it to them promptly!
Don’t dwell on mistakes
It’s in our nature to focus on the negative, even when it comes to final interviews.You might have the urge to call the interviewer to redo or add to your answers, but that isn’t a good idea because it might make you appear desperate.
However, there’s one possible exception to this rule, and that is if your additional information can add value to you as a candidate, and demonstrate how you can fulfill a need the company might have. But tread lightly. Don’t make it sound that you’re disparaging the company, or that the interviewer didn’t bother to ask you about it. Keep it brief, positive, and professional. Consider saying something along the lines of “I enjoyed speaking with you and discussing my qualifications, and here’s something else that I thought of since then that might be helpful…”
The bottom line is that waiting for an offer can be stressful, even under the best of circumstances. John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of “Get Ahead in Your New Job,” suggests spending time with people who “elevate your self-image.” Network with colleagues, and ask them for advice about the interview process. This will help you learn how to interact on a professional level without the risk that you’ll “sound needy or over-communicate,” he says. In the meantime, consider checking out our job tracker or interview prep service to give you the “leg up” you might need.
A final interview doesn’t mean you got the job; it means you are one of a short list of candidates still being considered.
A hiring manager will initially interview six to ten candidates in the first round and will conduct anywhere from two to four rounds of interviews before offering a job.
Things you can do to increase your chances of getting the job after a final interview include staying professional, sending a thank-you note, letting an employer know if you have another offer, and asking to stay in touch.