You’ve been through round after round of interviews. You’ve watched the bung fruits be weeded out, and you’ve managed to hold on until the end. You’ve been requested in for one final interview; the feedback thus far has been great, but you also know you’re one of a few finalists vying for the same role. Ugh.
You’ve been hearing lately that it’s a candidate-driven market, that the world is your oyster, so you didn’t think it was going to come to this. After all, you’re perfect for the role and know your stuff inside out, right? Well yes, but the thing is, you’re up against X, Y and Z who are also perfect for the role and also know their stuff. So, how can you smash the final stage and make sure you’re the freshest pick?
Showcase your longterm ambition
It’s time to think big and long. Sure, you might be the perfect person for the job now, but how are we looking for one, two, three years down the track? Losing employees is a huge cost to companies, as is hiring new replacements. It is in a company’s best financial interests to have people stay with them for longer, so you must make it your mission to sell yourself as a longterm investment. If you’re speaking directly with your potential new line manager, you want them to have confidence that, if you are successful in bagging the role, all the time they spend with you, coaching, teaching and supporting you, won’t be in vain.
Asking questions about internal career growth and development opportunities will show the business you’re in for the long haul, unlike your shortsighted competitors.
Go above and beyond on the effort front
This is where you want to surprise your interviewer with your commitment and dedication to scoring the job. It goes without saying you’d dress to impress, but I’m talking about thinking outside of the box. Is there a way you can create an example of the value you’d offer the business? If you’re going for a marketing job, can you create a mini mock campaign, tailored to the position you want? If you are going for a research or analysis type of role, can you put together some stats to show them what you’re capable of achieving? Putting in an extra hour or two of preparation might require a lot more time and effort than you’d care to invest, but if it means you get your dream role, doesn’t that make it worth it?
Find some common ground
I’m not in any way suggesting you conduct creepy research into your interviewer / hiring manager’s personal life, but certainly, try to find some interesting things out about their interests or personality, whether you do it by glancing at their social profiles, or coming straight out and asking them. If you’ve met them a number of times, the likelihood is they believe you’re a great fit skill-wise for the role – why else would they waste their time with you? It’s fair to assume they are now looking for what type of colleague you’ll make, and what you’re like as a person, sizing you up against the others. Finding some non work-related talking points will allow you to connect on a more human level, and let them picture you as someone they get along with and could see themselves managing or working with.
Arm yourself with proof
At one stage or another, if you’re successful, your new employer will want to conduct some reference checks. This will be part of the process whether you like it or not, and more often than not, will be done by HR to confirm you’re not a serial psychopath and have simply done all the things you said you have. Think of recommendations as a valuable marketing tool, to convince your interviewer you’re the one they need. Try to gather as much reference material as you can prior to your final conversation; form testimonials to employer reviews and recommendations. Being able to talk about this, and provide evidence of if need be, will help fill your hiring manager that you’re a safe choice; a proven success story.
Be grateful and upfront
Let’s talk about the follow up email or note. I’m a big fan. You’ve just met or spoken with a very important decision maker. While you might have a very clear memory of how the conversation went and the points you got across, you can’t be sure they have taken those same impressions away. Why? If they’re interviewing a couple of other people, asking them the same questions over and over, your answers are likely to get muddled up with theirs. Thanking the person later for the time they spent with you is a really professional, polite thing to do, and also an opportunity to briefly recap the most important messages.
If you are 100% sure you are the right person for this role, tell them – leave nothing on the table. Personalise this message, and be upfront. After all, it might just be the one thing that pushes you over the finishing line first.