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What Does a Third Interview Mean?

I enjoy sharing my knowledge about career progression and development.

Third Interview - Good Sign!

If you are trying to figure out what does a third interview mean?

Firstly, give yourself a huge pat on the back.

You've done well.

You made it through the first two interviews.

And now on to the third interview - definitely take it as a good sign of things to come.

However, don't celebrate too much - there's still critical work to be done.

What Does a Third Interview Usually Mean?

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.

How to Ace It

When it comes to being successful with a third round interview you need to be receptive to the kinds of questions that are being asked. You need to further prove your knowledge and skill for the position that you have applied for.

At the same time, you will likely have done this already in the first and second interview where they will have got a better idea of your competency. The third interview will be a chance to reaffirm that - and you absolutely should.

However, what the third interview will be more so about is your manner and whether you're a good "company fit". This is where you need to show interest in the job, making sure you that you are getting across that you have some desire to do this.

How can you go about showing this?

- Ask questions about the role, the company and where their goals are and what they want to achieve going forward.

- Talk about how you can feel that you can help them achieve this.

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- Point out potential struggles that they might have with the goals above and how you can help them deal with it.

- Explain that you want to help develop certain skills to further enhance your ability to do a job and how that will benefit the rest of the team.

The best attitude I find is to almost picture your best self being at the company already and how do you feel that you would help them best. Get across that you are not only competent skill wise someone who is confident, prepared and willing to do a good job.

Half the job is convincing an interviewer you are competent enough skills wise to do the job, the other half is convincing them that you have the right temperament, traits, and personality.

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.

In fact, you might be the only candidate left - but ultimately the questions is ensuring to convince them that you are the right person for the job.

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?"
  • "What kind of results and metrics will I be measured on?"
  • "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?"
  • "I am good at x and y, this is what I have achieved in my previous career - this is something that I am keen to bring into this new role too - do you think there is scope for that?"
  • "Is there room for training, courses and conferences?"

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.

Remember, at this stage it is as much about you interviewing them as they are interviewing you. Ask them questions to see if they are actually a good match for you. Do you want to work there?

Asking these styles of questions will not only show them that you are interested in the job but that you have come prepared, show spirit, are reliable and won't throw anything up at the last minute. These are all negative aspects and potential red flags that employers want to avoid.

Asking them questions is actually helping you land the job on two folds.

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 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).


What to Expect After the Third Interview?

This really depends on the interview process that has been laid out. By now they should have let you know what you should expect going forward. However, if you have made it to the third interview and have gotten good feedback - that's definitely a positive sign to take away that the third interview has gone well.

If the interview process is still a bit unclear, you can probably expect the following.

Typically, they will either send you an email confirming or a phone call on their stance going forward - and they may ask you back to negotiate a compensation package that you would deem suitable for both parties. There might be some slight clarification points that they want you to readdress or potentially introduce you to another member of their staff who wants to meet with you.

However, you since you have had three successful interviews by this stage. They are certainly interested in yourself as a potential candidate for the role that you have applied for. Plus, they likely think that you are a good fit for the company culture. Now it is a process of finalising what the contract and deal in place. If it is for a senior position there may be some additional interviews to carry out but these are for elite roles.

If you have any questions with regards to what does the third interview mean - then by all means, please get in touch in the comments below and let me know.

How to Tell a Third Interview Went Well

There are of course a number of signs to look for to see if the interview itself went well. However, we do ultimately not advise you to dwell on it too much - and just take the final confirmation as the ultimate 'yes' or 'no'.

That said, look out for the following:

1. Eagerness to get in touch with you again e.g. have they set a time expectation of when they will next be in touch with you?

2. Is there reference to people in the company that you haven't met - that the interviewers will think you will get on with (this could be just a passing comment).

3. Was the interview quite lengthy? Did it run over the allotted time period?

4. Was there a general 'getting' to know one another? Did it a seem a lot more relaxed towards the end of the interview? If it did, this is a great sign.

Generally, you get a gut feeling if the interview was a good one.

At the same time, you may well have a good one - however, another candidate might have had an excellent one, had a couple more years experience, was a better fit in some aspect that was simply out of your control.

On the other hand, you might have thought you had a bad interview, but were overly critical on yourself - and in actual fact the interviewer really liked you. There are different interviewing styles to contend with and that's something to take into consideration too.

Ultimately, take this as a point of reflection - and simply ask them for some feedback on your interviews and see what they have to say and take that forward into your next interview. This is important, as it will make you a much stronger candidate for the next rounds.

Hopefully, this has given you better context as to what does a third interview mean, what you can expect and a base of preparation going into it and what you should do after it.

We're looking forward to how you go on, so let us know in the comments section below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Bradley Morrison

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