Thursday, January 10, 2013

What to Expect From a Second Interview?

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A second interview is a great sign, but it is by no means a statement of your pending hire. Often a first round of interviews weeds out applicants that aren't suited to the position. The second round of interviews is used to find the best candidate among those who remain.

The Biggest Mistake of the Second Interview
Many assume the second interview is a formality preceding their hire. "If I've made a second interview, they assume, I'm all but hired!" Nothing could be further from the truth. Your first interview was about your basic abilities and general fit in the company. The second interview is testing you on issues and if you're the person they want. To assume you're practically hired is to risk losing a valuable opportunity. Those who prepare for the second interview will likely stand out over a cocky candidate who doesn't seem to respect what the interview is truly about.

The Second Interview
The second interview deals with issues - real or imagined, that take place in the line of duty. It is also an opportunity for those making the decisions to get to know you and your abilities a bit better. They already know how you answer generic questions and what you look like on paper - this is the time to shine, build relationships and show what you can do.

This is Your Time
By the second interview, you are in head-to-head competition with others for the same job. You need to make yourself stand out as the best possible candidate. The best way to do this is not by telling everyone what you can do, it's by showing the interviewers what you can offer to them and their company.
Expect situational questions related to the position. When answering the question, pull in prior experience as much as possible to show how you've handled the type of situation before, but be careful to stay focused on the question at hand.

"I've faced a tough budget cut before at Company C, and I found that bringing in others from within the departments helped to make the process go more smoothly. When I had the opportunity to align numbers across three departments, I found that forming subcommittees to examine certain projects and their cost-value ratio was the best way to have a more universal buy-in into the initiative as well as detailed analysis from those who work on those projects in those particular departments. In the situation you described, I think bringing in others in the same manner would be extremely beneficial."

Build Relationships
Next to showing the interviewers how wonderful you'd be in the particular job, you want to show them how wonderful you'd be to work with. This comes by building rapport and relationships. Be open and friendly and share a bit of personality in your interview. Without coming on too strong, you're trying to make the interviewers like you and want to take you to lunch. Try a few responses with humor or tie in last night's sports game. Be careful to keep the humor light and universal to avoid offending the interviewer or making yourself stand out in a bad way.

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