Planning Your Approach for the Final Interview

Welcome to the shortlist! If you’ve made it to this point in the process you’ve already learned a lot about the organization and the role – and they’ve learned a lot about you in return. This final step is a big one and is NOT just a formality.  You’ll need to prepare for this conversation thoughtfully – and differently. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Check in with your recruiter.

Your recruiter will have the best understanding of where things stand at this point. They will be able to guide you to the areas requiring the most focus and highlight any potential concerns your future employer may have. They should also be able to provide you insight into who you are meeting with, who else may be in the process and what you can do to differentiate yourself further.

  • Review your notes from previous interviews.

Go back through the salient points from your previous conversations. Were the interviewers consistent in their descriptions of the role and responsibilities? Did they contradict each other when laying out the challenges ahead? This is a great opportunity to revisit and clarify any topics you may still be thinking about.   

  • Be prepared to openly discuss your weaknesses.

At this point in the process, the interviewer will pose questions about situations where you may have stumbled or struggled. Practice telling your story and be open about your opportunities to improve. Most importantly though, focus on the lessons you’ve learned and best practices you’ve created as a result.

  • Take the time to get specific.

This is the perfect opportunity to get into the nitty gritty – your proposed plan for the first 90 days, projects you want to greenlight or programs you want to be a part of or implement. Show them you’ve put serious time and effort into preparing for this role and how excited you are.  Sharing your goals and your vision will help them picture a future with you in it.

  • Be confident, but not too casual.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security during your final interview, even if it’s in a more casual setting. You may have talked to this interviewer multiple times by this point and feel a connection, but make no mistake, this is not a done deal.  In fact, in most cases, they’re specifically observing how you interact in a more informal setting. This is not the time to let loose – maintain a confident, professional demeanor throughout.  Remember this is true even if you’ve been invited to lunch, dinner or drinks.  If your spouse or partner have also been invited, make sure they also act in a friendly but professional manner.

  • Make it (a little) personal though.

In addition to your skills and experience, they’re also gauging if you’ll be a good cultural fit. Let them see your personality, passion and excitement about the opportunity.  Let them in on the person, not just the executive, they’d be hiring.

  • Reinforce what they like about you and close strong.

You know what they’re looking for, and why you’ve made it to this stage of the process. Remind them of the specific skill set you bring to the table and how you can help them succeed. Make sure they know you want the job and WHY you want the job.

The final questions at this stage of the game are really ones you should be asking yourself. Do you want to work for this company? In this role? Did they convince YOU to come to work for THEM? If your answers are “YES”, and if all goes according to (your) plan, you’ll come away with an amazing job offer. Good luck – we’re pulling for you!

The CFO Suite is a boutique consultative staffing and executive search firm specialized in management and executive level accounting and finance talent.  We boost the capabilities and capacity of your accounting and finance department, offering a unique ability to provide an integrated and comprehensive suite of services.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at