Tips for Acing Second or Subsequent Interviews

July 13, 2010 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

So much attention is paid to an initial interview with a prospective employer. And that’s as it should be as that first contact is crucial for establishing yourself as a serious candidate with an organization.

Yet increasingly recruiters and hiring managers are using initial interviews merely as a way to “screen” applicants, and then are calling them back for second, third or even MORE interviews where they get serious about them for a position. So while you should congratulate yourself on getting a callback — they like you, they really like you! — you’re going to need to figure out how to handle yourself in another or several more interviews as the hiring process moves forward.

What’s important to keep in mind for second, third or more interviews is that you’re not having to establish your value — the prospective employer already sees value in your experience and expertise, or they wouldn’t have called you back. You’re not trying to sell them on the idea of you at this point, your goal is to prove what a great fit you’d be for this organization and specifically for this position. It’s all about making them see you in this job once you’ve gotten this far in the hiring process; so details become much more important than in the initial interview.

Here are some tips for acing second or subsequent interviews:

*Figure out why they’re inviting you back. Obviously, the organization is interested or they wouldn’t be spending the time talking to you again. But are you the only one they’re having back, or did you make the cut along with several other semi-finalists? If the organization is known for using initial interviews to screen out a lot of candidates and keep just a few moving forward, that’s important to determine so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly, and so that you can prepare for several more rounds of interviews. Or if it appears they are interested in you as a finalist, that’s also important to know, so that you can treat this next interview as a meeting where you can ask about important details having to do with pay and benefits. Also, do they want to get more technical — might you have to take a test this time? Get as much information as you can beforehand; this is why it’s great to know some people in the organization who can give you clues as to what you can expect.

*Determine whether you’ll be talking to the same hiring manager or different ones from your initial interview. Oftentimes organizations will schedule initial interviews with a recruiter or a hiring manager, and then will invite finalists back to meet with higher-level bosses for their endorsement. Just as you should have done research (a Google search at the very least) on the person or people interviewing you in the initial stages, so should you check out those you’ll be talking with later on. You’ll want to check out their background so you can discuss topics in which they have an interest, as well as to prepare to sidestep any potential land mines. And it’s perfectly fine to ask whoever invites you to another interview questions such as who you will be meeting with and what their role is in the hiring process — I’m surprised how many applicants fail to inquire about such things, often to their own detriment.

*Aim to get the interviewer to “see” you in this job. At some point in the hiring process, the decision maker(s) will need to have a strong, realistic sense that the candidate could perform the duties of this job and that they would fit in well with the team and the overall organization. That happens at a different point in the process for each hiring manager, but usually they have invited you back because they want to get that assurance from you. So be specific. When asked how you would approach a situation or what in your experience has prepared you for this role, give them a paint-by-number picture — provide anecdotes, examples and details. This is no time for generalizations or obfuscation. If you want this job, now is the time to show you can handle it.

*Get real on the details about the position. Remember, the hiring process is a two-way street. The recruiter has asked you back so that managers in the organization can figure out whether you’re right for them; you should use these meetings as a way to assess whether this job and this place is right for you. It’s perfectly appropriate at this juncture to ask specific questions about job duties, hours and pay — things you should avoid doing right off so you don’t appear to be jumping the gun. But now it’s time to do that so that you don’t waste any more of your time — or theirs — on discussions about a position that you wouldn’t seriously consider accepting. If the salary “expectation” question hasn’t arisen before now, this should be the time that you determine whether you and the employer are in the same ballpark regarding pay — as well as key benefits. And at the end of your second or subsequent interview, you should definitely ask what’s next in the process and what the timetable is for filling this position. Then, you can get ready for the next stage!

*Rejection is part of the deal with job hunting yet it’s still difficult to take on a regular basis. I’ve written about it before but offers some good, specific tips for coping with this while job hunting:

Dealing With Job-Search Rejection

*And here are some fresh leads — mostly in communications — to check out or pass along:

*CureSearch for Children’s Cancer in Bethesda has an opening for a vice president of communications:

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer – Bethesda, MD
COMMUNICATIONS! The Vice President of Communications… Communications Programs: · Oversee the development, implementation and management of communications…
From AMA2:57 AM

*Widmeyer Communications in D.C. is looking for a senior VP for research:

Senior Vice President, Research
Widmeyer Communications – Washington, DC
ResearchWidmeyer Communications, one of the nations leading independent public affairs communications… professionals with communications expertise, the team…

*Fairfax County is looking for a mid-level communications specialist; the opening — obviously — is in Fairfax:

Fairfax County Government – Fairfax, VA
Provides communications consultation as needed to staff and DFS senior management. Participates in ongoing assessment of internal and external communication and… $65 an hour

*The American Chemical Society in D.C. is seeking a managing editor:

*From (via, Gibraltar Associates, a PR agency, has an opening in D.C. for a senior manager:

Gibraltar Associates has an open position: a senior manager.

*And last but not least today,  IMPACT Silver Spring is listing a few interesting openings — for AmeriCorp “community builders” in Wheaton and Gaithersburg, and (this could be a good position for someone just starting out and wanting to get some experience) for a part-time communications assistant at IMPACT’s offices in Silver Spring:

Good luck on the hunt today!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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