The Second Interview

The Second Interview

The Second Interview

Ok, you already have your foot in the door and have had the first interview with a prospective employer. The interview is finished – what next?

The Second Interview….

This is the point at which many people dissect the interview in their minds and start second-guessing themselves as to how they could have answered a question better, their body language and demeanor. Whilst it is useful to reflect on the interview and the information exchanged, this must be done in a productive way. There is no point stewing about what has already happened. It is much better to channel your thoughts and focus your post-interview energies in a positive and useful way.


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Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you did the best you could and that you conveyed to the interviewer a sense of your own personality and qualities. If you truly believe this and you don’t ultimately get the job, it is more likely to be because there wasn’t a “fit”.

Writing notes after the interview will prove valuable when you are invited in for a second interview. You should make a note of the tough questions asked and what areas the interviewer concentrated on.

You should also make a note of what else you need to know about the firm/company/interviewer/role so you can be properly prepared in case of a second interview or even an offer. You should refer to your notes when giving feedback to your recruiter and, over the long term, to improve your interview technique.

Whether you do this or not will depend on the sort of relationship you have built up with your interviewer/s. If, upon leaving the interview, you felt that you developed a good rapport and you received positive vibes from their end, then you should think about sending a brief email thanking them for their time and emphasising your interest in the role and being part of their firm/company. If done properly, this keeps your name at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind and also conveys professionalism and courtesy. However, be careful to read your interviewer well and consult with your recruiter before you embark on sending thank-you notes. Your recruiter will be able to advise you on whether the interviewer likes receiving emails of this kind and more importantly, they may already have received some kind of feedback regarding the meeting.

Some employers will move fairly quickly in deciding whether or not to conduct a second interview or proceed directly to offer. If they conduct a second interview, use the time to conduct more in-depth research and also start determining in your own mind how serious you are about the role. If the employer proceeds to offer, they will expect a decision from you in a short amount of time. If you haven’t seriously considered the prospect of switching jobs or whether this is really the right role for you and you start delaying the decision making process, it will leave a bad taste in the employer’s mouth whether or not you ultimately accept the offer. Rather than waiting for the offer or second interview to arrive, start thinking about your degree of interest in the job now.

If you haven’t already done so, start making contact with your referees and describe the role to them so that they will be prepared for the reference check call. Obviously, if your referees come from your existing employer, then you will only do this once a verbal offer has been made before making this contact. Ensure that you have two referees available who can speak positively about your experience and skills, your commitment and motivation and what type of person you are like to work with. The best sorts of referees are those you have worked directly with, those you have supervised or worked for. Don’t assume what your referees will say about you – check this out and if he/she appears reluctant or uneasy about giving a reference, then choose someone else!

Now is the time to really reflect and evaluate your potential employer. You need to continue to sell yourself in a positive way and also gather further information about the company or firm and take an active role in determining whether this is the right role for you.

The first interview is more or less a preliminary meeting used to determine if there would be a cultural fit within the company or firm based on your personality and motivation. So, whilst the first interview may have briefly discussed your experience to date, at the second, you should be more prepared to delve more deeply into your actual experience, skills, qualifications and career aspirations. Be prepared to discuss your background in greater detail and know the matters you have worked on like the back of your hand!

You should have already obtained feedback from your recruiter regarding the interviewer’s first impression of you. Use this information in preparing for the second interview so you can attempt to clarify any perceived weaknesses or maintain the type attitude and demeanor you exhibited at the first interview. At the end of the day, you will still need to be yourself so don’t tailor your answers or change your style to the extent that you impress as a different person!

Update your research to show that you are interested and knowledgeable. Look for news articles about the team and the industry, try and chat to someone who works for the company or firm for some behind-the-scenes insight. Make a list of what else you need to know about the company, industry, or job to be in a position to evaluate an offer.

This is your opportunity to really emphasise what you can offer the potential employer. Have strong responses to questions such as “What can you do for us?”, “Why should we hire you?”, “What can you contribute to our company/firm?” and “What interests you most about this role?” Think about how you would respond to an offer if made at the second interview.

Make a point of enquiring with the interviewer how many more steps there are in the process and what those steps are and the timeframe for the process. This shows the interviewer that you are forward thinking and organised but it also allows you to plan your own time in order to accommodate the process.

Once again, if you like what you see, make sure your interviewer knows how keen you are. Let them know you believe you are a good fit for the team and are interested in progressing things further. Remember, the interview is a two way street. This is your opportunity to evaluate them just as much as they are evaluating you. You want to ensure, just as much as they do, that you are the right person for the job after considering skills, experience, personality and cultural fit.