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What Does a Third Interview Mean (and What to Expect)?

Updated on July 1, 2018
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What Does a Third Interview Usually Mean?

First off, give yourself a good old pat on the back. You've done well.

Certainly, take it as a good sign.

Basically, when trying to interpret what a third interview usually means - definitely count it as a good thing - you're one step further in the job interview process.

That said, you haven't quite landed the job or position you are going for quite yet.

You're simply through to the next round of interviews (although that said, in many cases it is likely the final one).

First, you were offered the first interview whether it be in person or a phone interview (then got called without issue). Remember some applicants will have been discounted at this stage.

Then at the job interview, you will have done well enough to make it on to the second round of interviews. You then went on to impress enough in the second job interview to warrant this third.

So great work, however, there is still work to be had.

Where the Third Interview Stands in the Application Process?

Now, what is quite common is the following:

i) You will usually have a phone interview (or a short face to face) that will act as one screening process, that's not too time-consuming for both yourself and the recruiter and will establish the basic fundamentals.

ii) The second interview is often a face to face one to extract more details about yourself, technical prowess in the job and see if you are capable of conducting the job, whether you are a good company culture fit and so on. If you have impressed on that, you will be put through to a third interview, where you have been shortlisted.

iii) The third interview (and usually the final) is where you are competing against the very best candidates for the job, so you have to bring your A-Game - plus you might be interviewing in front of some of the senior staff such as a VP, senior HR staff or even with a CEO. Bear in mind though, it could very well be one in a series of more to come, they just want to try and find out more details about your skill set.

It's quite important to figure this one out as what you can expect from it will be slightly different although you will have to put your best version to regardless.

How many candidates are left?

They have been weeding on applicants right from the start.

Some won't have even been invited to the phone interview, more will have been dismissed after that before being offered the second interview. Then, of course, some will have been dismissed after that.

If you've made it through all that and this is the final third interview - it's probably fair of you to expect that you are one of a handful (especially relative to the number of other applicants that probably applied for the job).

Remember though, the competition you have here is much fiercer.


What to Expect from Your Third Interview?

Like we said above, it's probably going to involve more senior staff and is probably going to last longer and perhaps feel a little more heated. Keep your cool though, they clearly like you as a candidate so just keep doing what you have done (otherwise you would have never made it this far in the first place).

The style of questions might be a little different in the third interview, either that or they get more in depth. Your ability should really have already been screened from the first and second on what skills you can offer, the experience you've had, what are your capabilities, education, impressive accomplishments and so on. The third interview can tend to be more about you - the individual.

Your character, what motivates you, what drives you forward, what are you hoping to achieve - and ultimately will you work well together - not just from the point of the view for the business, but yourself too. They are more about uncovering you, yourself as a professional.

From the companies perspective, they know although a candidate who is more than capable of carrying out a good job, if they aren't a good 'fit' with the company ethos, it can be disastrous and expensive. They want to see that you basically, get on well with others, can collaborate, you are positive, what type of working environment you are better suited to.

They might even put you in certain scenarios, say you found your manager doing something they shouldn't be - how would you approach it - if a client is giving you grief about a task, what would you do and so on. Do as much research as you can (ideally from individuals who already work there, hopefully, they can vouch for you too) what the company is actually about.

Third Round Interview Questions to Ask

Like you will have seen, the questions get a bit more thorough. So likewise expect to ask more detailed ones of your own. Initially, you were just getting a feel for what the company was like, where they stood in the industry and now you've got more detailed and feel like you are getting a better grounding. Feel free to ask 'behavioral' type questions back.

For instance, what aspects do you look for in your best-performing employees? How was the position before me handled, would you like me to carry on in a similar manner or is there a pressing issue that needs to be addressed? The more detailed you can get with the question, the better, you want to be trying to get into the minds of the hiring manager and asking them the very question that they have a problem with and are looking for a solution for - where they are hoping you can deliver them.

Closing the 3rd Interview

What might occur, especially since you are the in the latter stages of the interview process is one last "pitch yourself" style question. It might go along the lines of "ultimately, why are you the right person for the job?" and it's your job to really sell yourself to them, mention your technical skill set, you can draw upon experience but make sure you sell 'you' as a character too, that you are passionate about the job, you feel the company is a great fit for you and likewise.

Like always, and you probably have previously done after the first and second interview, follow up with a third final follow up email to ensure they get that you are really enthusiastic about the prospect of this new job. Here is a great write up on how to write up a third interview follow up email, even if you haven't got a previous response.

And if you are successful in this final interview, chances are you are going to end up in a salary negotiation situation as well. So make sure you are prepared in that regard. Find out from sites such as glassdoor.com what the going rate is for a person with your skill set and the job you are going for, what do you expect with regards to benefits and numeration. Do your research, that way you will have a better appreciation of the offer at hand. Think about the overall package though and not just a single figure in mind (is it closer to work, better health care plan and so on).

© 2018 Igor Hulz

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