Many companies have instituted more stringent hiring practices; this includes adding second-round interviews. While you might be inclined to treat this like any other interview, that is not the best approach. First-round interview processes are fairly straightforward and are often similar from one company to the next. But the second-round can be an entirely different situation.
Purpose of the Second-Round Interview
An organization can have a variety of motives for running an additional interview round. In some cases, they are simply formalities. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a higher level manager, and the conversation will mirror earlier rounds. However, you may also be walking into something less common, like a group interview, or be faced with a test to demonstrate your competency.
Regardless of the method, the agenda is always the same; they want to find the best candidate for the position. Be prepared to present your best self even if the premise takes you by surprise. If possible, ask the recruiter or company contact for indications of the format of the interview to help guide your efforts.
Some of the preparations will be the same as for any other interview. Review key information about the company, as well as the person with which you are interviewing, when possible. Consider any indications of the company’s culture based on your previous experience. Use this to help determine what outfit will suggest you are the right fit for not just the job, but how the company views itself. That doesn’t mean you should dress down, even if the workplace is casual. However, you may discover the level of self-expression is acceptable with your wardrobe and can adjust things accordingly.
If there were any challenging points in your prior interview, plan to address those issues or concerns. While the same talking points might not be revisited, you will feel more secure in your answers should the topic arise again. It also demonstrates that you cared enough to put forth the effort even though you have yet to be offered the position.
Similarly, if the previous interview gave you new insights into the nature of the work, identify how your skills play into those areas. This is especially true if they were not expressly contained in the initial job description. You will be prepared to answer questions they might not have asked the first time around, and you will have something new to say should the second interview also involve the person you met in the last round.
Approach with Confidence
Being offered a second-round interview opportunity means the company believes you possess the fundamental skills required to do the work. It also shows that you made a favorable first impression, most likely. While some nervousness is common, remind yourself that you have already proven yourself to some degree. Now, you just need to impress that you are the ideal candidate for the position.
Be Ready to Negotiate
In some cases, successful applicants will receive an offer at the end of a second-round interview. While this is never a guarantee, it is best to anticipate the possibility. Make sure you understand what the common salary range is for similar positions, as well as associated benefits packages. Being caught off-guard by a negotiation may not work in your favor, so do your research now.
If an offer is not made, feel free to inquire as to when a selection will be made, and the chosen candidate notified. Some hiring processes require additional steps before official offers can be made. In those cases, most companies are reasonably open about the expected timeline, especially if they consider you a top choice for the position.
Don’t End Your Job Hunt
You may be inclined to stop looking for other positions or to turn down interview opportunities because a second-round interview seems so promising. However, it is important to remember you do not have the job yet. Don’t derail your other efforts until you have an official offer.
Continue working with recruiters, such as the professionals at TempStaff, to make sure you can seize every opportunity.