Choosing The ‘Right’ Candidate For The Job In The FINAL INTERVIEW

  I remember the specific interview I was called for and it was for the post of a Sales Manager. The interviewer asked me to come in and as I sat
10 Jun 2017 10:00
Choosing The ‘Right’ Candidate For The Job In The FINAL INTERVIEW


I remember the specific interview I was called for and it was for the post of a Sales Manager.

The interviewer asked me to come in and as I sat upon the chair he shot the first question,

“Mr Kalbag, why do you think we must select you and not the others as there are many who are just as qualified and experienced like you. What is so different about you compared to the others?”

The question and especially the tone in which it was asked was extremely rude and condescending.

However I took a deep breath and answered it the way I thought it correct.

The interviewer continued with the specific question on sales.

“Mr Kalbag, tell me what have you learnt about sales and how is sales different from marketing?”

I answered that question too with a good level of confidence but the expression on the face of the interviewer was as though some one had stuffed a few sour lemons in his mouth and his look was that of displeasure.

In fact even while I was speaking to him he was checking his phone and seemed least interested in my answer.

It was then that I had realized that I was not going to pass the interview for sure.

Just when I thought that interview was over he looked at me or rather stared at me for a few seconds and then plucked out a pen from his pocket and gave it to me.

“Mr Kalbag, you have this pen with you. Please sell it to me. Let me see how good a sales person you are?” I was taken aback by this action of his.

The position or post I was being interviewed was for that of a Sales Manager and I was being given a pen and being asked to sell it.

I swallowed my self-respect for a few moments and delivered a concise Sales pitch.

The person seemed completely unimpressed but I was not going to let this continue.

I stood up in anguish and addressed him assertively.

“Dear Sir, I thought this was the final interview and an interview for the post of a Sales Manager. I would have expected a few questions about my past experience and achievements as well as a few questions about how I could contribute to your organization with my rich experience. However this interview was not what I was expecting. Thank you Sir”

Saying this I simply walked away and I walked away because somewhere in my mind I was sure that I was not going to be selected for the job.

It was only after three days that I received a phone call from none other than the Vice President of Sales.

It seemed he had received information about the ordeal that I had been through. “Mr Kalbag, we are sorry that you had to go through something like this in your final interview.

“I believe that the person who interviewed you was actually from the Human Resources (HR) department and not from Sales and I apologise for it.

“I believe that along with the HR a senior person from the Sales department should have been present to interview you. We have seen your bio-data and I personally would like to interact with you.”

He told me all this with a tone of apology.

I listened to all that he said and realized he was extremely sincere about it.

I immediately said yes.

A couple of days later the final interview was re-organized and this time it was the Vice President himself who interviewed me.

He made me feel extremely comfortable by allowing me the time and the space to explain to him about my prior experience and my accomplishments along with the pitfalls I had encountered as a Sales person.

Provide a Case Study pertinent to the Job; avoid asking general questions about the function or the Job.

What was interesting about this interview was that instead of asking me about the typical aspects and techniques of Sales and Selling skills he gave me a Case Study and requested me to make my own observations, analysis and then told me to present it to him and the HR person then and there.

I was most amazed at the way the interview was being conducted.

It was interactive and at the same time it was very effective too.

It was not general but was pertinent and specific.

After a week or so I received an email that I was selected for the job and I believe that my selection happened mainly because of the way in which the final interview was conducted.

Having shared my own experience of a Final Interview I wish to share a few more perspectives regarding the final interview.

Interview processes are one of the most fundamental tools in helping an organization to select and choose the best or the right candidate for a particular function or for a specific kind of work.

Each and every company whether small or big always was, always is and always will rely upon the interview process as a major tool or catalyst in helping them select the right candidate for the right job.

There are medium-sized as well as large-sized organizations that use certain tests namely Psychometric Evaluation tests as well as certain tests related to the aptitude and competency of the candidate in regards to the job.

However I am of the firm belief that what matters as much or more than the ‘tests and evaluations’ are the ‘inter-personal’ interactions that happen during the course of an interview especially the ‘final interview’ between the Interviewer and the candidate.

I have often seen that a face to face interaction leads to a much better assessment of the candidate.


A few important things to remember while conducting an Interview

( especially the Final Interview)


When you invite the candidate into the room try not to shoot the typical and jaded question by asking him to speak about himself or share his strengths & Weaknesses.

The first and probably the right thing to do is to make the candidate feel comfortable and relaxed with a cup of coffee or tea and/ or glass of water.

It is important that the candidate regains some of the confidence and composure that may have slipped away due to the feelings of fear and nervousness.

Remember even the best candidate gets nervous especially in the final interview.

The moment we start with our questions there is a possibility that a very confident candidate may also lose his inner confidence and unintentionally fumble while responding to your questions and thereby creating a negative impression about himself which actually may not be true.

The Pertinent and important questions!

I believe that the first and foremost question that the interviewer must politely ask the candidate would be, “How has the journey for you been so far?”

This is an open ended question and it thus gives the freedom to the candidate to share his journey and this journey could be about how he has lived his life or about his journey up to the final interview.

His answer will help provide you with an insight into the way the candidate thinks and expresses his thoughts.

The second question that should be asked especially in the final interview is, “What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)”.

What is it that makes you different and unique from the other candidates which therefore will make him the best choice for the job”

This kind of a compounded question will help you understand some of the attributes that he has or that he claims to have which may be actually beneficial and advantageous to the organization.

The candidate who wants to be selected must therefore be able to convince you about he is better than the others due to something unique and different that he possesses.

The third question that should be asked is, “What are your short-term, medium-term and long – term goals or objectives with regards to working with the organization”.

The response to this particular question will make the candidate share his VISION or FORESIGHT regarding his own future and which I believe will also help you to align with the organizational goals and objectives.

The three questions are not the only ones but I would say that they are the first three to be asked to help you acquire a deeper insight into the candidate.

Apart from this it is also important to understand a candidate by being a better listener and not interrupting or intruding while he is answering or responding to your question.

An interviewer must be a focused listener and also a very alert observer of the candidate’s body language and facial expressions along with his eye contact.

Such non-verbal expressions from the candidate can also help the interviewer in getting a deeper insight about the candidate.

There are surely many other things that I would like to share regarding the way in which we assess a candidate in the Final Interview but I believe what I have shared in this column can become a good and an effective set of inputs to make the selection of the candidate especially in the final interview more accurate.

Rather than just calling us to his restaurant he then and there enthusiastically began explaining to us the unique and special cuisine that his restaurant was offering.

His entire verbal communication was full of excitement and also with a high level of energy.

We were almost captivated by the convincing manner by which he was explaining the special dishes he would offer us.

I asked him if there was any special discount that he would offer us to which he enthusiastically replied, “Sir! Our food is the tastiest and also the most authentic cuisine you will get and that is itself the biggest discount.”

The way he modulated and brought inflection in his voice made us reluctant to go to any other restaurant which were located ahead of us.

“I think we should just try this place and the way this manager has explained… I am sure the food will be awesome!” one of the participants exclaimed to us.

We too were a bit tired to walk any further but to be honest the manner in which that restaurant manager impressed us really did the trick. Was the food good?

I believe it was better than good but what is important to learn is the style and skills of verbal communication with which he lured us towards his restaurant.

Whether a hardware shop or a restaurant or even a shopping mall the combination of Proactive attitude and positive Verbal communication can create the appropriate Sales- IMPACT!

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