Business people interviewing young businesswoman in officeAs we guide our clients through the interview process, we are often asked which interview questions are the most revealing and helpful. In particular, our clients often ask us about the final (often second or third) round of interviews because it is the last opportunity for them to evaluate their candidates.

Of course, it is also important to include a variety of stakeholders in the interview process. Depending on the level of the position this could include the CEO, Board Members, and whoever this position will supervise.

Presumably throughout the beginning of the interview process, the hiring team has already acquired a sound idea of the candidates’ skill and experience level.  The second round of interviews is an opportunity to ask any final questions, and make sure that the candidate not only understands the scope of the role, but will also become a long term-addition to your team.

Here are a couple areas to cover in your final round of interviews:

Get Clarification

Dig into any topic that came up in prior interviews on which you would like to get clarification. Again, this may be the last opportunity. For example, you may know from prior interviews that the candidate has supervised a large team, but now might be a good time to ask specifically how many people they supervised in past positions.

Discuss Strengths and Weaknesses

It can be beneficial to take a straightforward, but courteous, approach to a candidate’s strong and weak areas. Start by reiterating the candidate’s strengths and what qualities and skills attracted your team to them in the first place.

Then you may politely let the candidates know which areas they are less strong in, and ask them how they feel they could compensate. Keep in mind that the candidate may have some experience in that area which they haven’t mentioned yet. You may consider setting a plan for how the candidate would grow in that area, including offering professional development opportunities such as classes or workshops.

Set Expectations for the Position

It’s important to make sure the candidate is truly clear on the expectations of the position. It is important to discuss specific short and long term goals of the role and organization. It may also be smart to review what hours and work environment the candidate should expect when they start.

Evaluate Fit

Since you have already evaluated the candidate’s skill level, the final interview is a good opportunity to gage how they will fit in your organization long term. If you are a small or young organization, tell them that you need someone who can “roll with the punches.” Likewise, if you work for a large organization or company, make sure they are comfortable with a structured environment and a certain degree of “red tape.”

You don’t want to scare the candidate off, but it is important to confirm the candidate will be happy in the role and with your organization. Here are a couple questions to help you assess cultural fit:

  • What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
  • What is your personal mission statement?
  • What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
  • What do you like to do for fun?

Behavioral Questions

Some employers also like to ask behavioral interview questions during the final round of interviews to make sure that the candidate “plays well with others” and shares any values important to the organization. Below are a few examples of behavioral interview questions:

  • Can you describe a time when you were criticized?
  • Have you ever been on a team where someone wasn’t pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something you disagreed with, what would you do?


The second or last interview is also a good time to discuss the salary range for the position and the candidate’s salary history and expectations. If you do decide to make an offer, this will help you make the best offer and cut down on negotiation.

The final interview is your team’s last chance to evaluate the candidate, set expectations for the role, and make a great impression. I hope these interview tips will help you select, hire, and retain the best person for your current or future open position.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer, or here if you’re a job seeker.

Nora is Vice President and Co-Owner of Bristol Associates and recruits for the Nonprofit and Arts divisions. She represents the third generation of our family-owned search firm founded in 1967. Raised in Los Angeles, Nora enjoys playing the drums, attending outdoor summer concerts, and reading fiction. You can contact her by email or for her full bio click here.

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