Friday, July 8, 2011

Advancing to a Second Interview

If you’re moving on to a second interview, congratulations! Most likely, you’ve piqued the interest of the interviewer(s) and established that you meet the overall qualifications for the position. But don’t relax just yet; a second interview typically requires you to provide more specific, detailed responses and examples that illustrate why you are the right candidate for the job.

A second interview can last several hours and, in some cases, a full day. It is important that you stay engaged and enthusiastic throughout the process. Be prepared to face several interviewers, either in a panel-style interview or one-on-one. Interviewers will most likely try to identify valuable traits and unique skills and knowledge that differentiate you from other candidates. You may also have the opportunity to meet future team members and those you could be interacting with regularly on the job. Other possible activities and topics include department/facility tours, a detailed salary/benefits discussion, and meeting over a meal with company representatives to showcase your social and communication skills in a group setting.

Just as with a first interview, you need to be fully prepared for a second interview. Here are some steps you can follow to prepare yourself.

  • Ask for an agenda in advance, including names and titles of those you will meet.
  • Do research in advance. If possible, ask someone within the company to share insight on the people you’ll be interviewing with or do an Internet search for professional profiles on sites like LinkedIn.
  • Continue researching the company and industry; stay abreast of its products/services, competitors, customers, sales/financial data, and current news and events. Use the information to ask informed questions and discuss relevant matters.
  • Formulate answers to possible interview questions. For example, be ready with examples of how you applied your knowledge, skills, and experience in problem-solving situations or to accomplish a goal(s).
  • Be prepared to emphasize or clarify points that came up in the first interview.
  • If you haven’t already been asked, be prepared to discuss your salary and benefit expectations.

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