by: Ian McEwen
Congratulations! You have done everything right so far. Obviously, the prospective company is serious about bringing you on board. Now you have the opportunity to seal the deal – so don’t blow it!
Generally, the first interview is to determine if you have the qualifications and skill set that matches the job requirements. The second interview will focus on your profile and personality. The hiring company wants to determine if you fit the corporate environment. The second interview will involve more preparation, more interviewees, more questions, and more pressure.
Here are some suggestions on how to prepare.
Research the Company: Do everything you can to know as much as you can about the company. Delve into the company website and absorb their ‘About Us’ section. Use search engines to find out the latest news and company initiatives – why have they been in the news. If you know someone in the company, you will be able to get the inside scoop on its current state of affairs.
Review Notes From First Interview: Even though you will probably be interviewed by different people, you might be asked the similar 1st interview questions. Review your answers and responses. Think of the answers that gave you confidence and do more of the same. And if there were things that you missed in interview #1, you have a second chance to provide better answers to elaborate or clarify your abilities. Even though you have a different audience, think of some new examples and some new accomplishments that prove your worthiness.
Know the Job Description: Know the job description inside-out and backwards. Be able to cite specific examples that support each function in the job description. Companies may have a problem they cannot solve internally. A second interview is your time to demonstrate that you can solve their problems.
Behavioural Questions: Some unscripted second interviews are used to determine personality traits rather than specific knowledge, skills and abilities. Listen to clues in the questions. Often the interviewer will outline the company and position needs, concerns, issues and problems that you will be expected to handle. The company will be looking for someone who can get along with other team members in an interactive and positive way.
Ask Questions: Based on your research, prepare a list of quality questions. Ask about recent and specific trends in the marketplace and what response plans are in place to react. What are the new product or service initiatives?
Don’t ask simple questions like compensation or benefits – that’s an instant turn-off. It shows you are more interested in fiscal aspect of the job as opposed to the challenge and career opportunity. Wait for the company to initiate salary and benefits discussion. If you are pressed, be prepared to discuss your compensation parameters. Also don’t ask about the next steps in the process unless you are presented with a job offer. References: Have your references and their contact information ready. Contact them in advance and get their consent to act as a reference. Let them know the company and the position to which you are applying. Have a brief description on the company and the business relationship you enjoyed with your reference.
The Job Offer: If you are successful in securing a job offer, make sure it is presented in writing. Don’t make a decision on the spot. It is quite acceptable to defer your decision for some time to review the offer in detail and make sure you want the job. Ask the company when they want a decision.
Communication: Don’t forget to collect business cards or write down on your note pad the names and titles of the interviewers. Send a thank-you email to everyone you meet. Alter each message slightly as often they will compare notes. Reiterate your interest in the position and the company.
A second job interview is all about your people skills as well as your professional skills. The better prepared you are, the more confidence you will display, and this will elevate your employment chances. Good luck!