How to succeed at Second Interviews
As with the first interview, preparation is the key to success. There are some subtle differences, however, between the first and second interview and it is worth highlighting these to help you in your preparation.
Reflect on the first interview
The best starting point is to review the questions that were asked in the first interview. Note the questions or situations that caused you difficulty and rehearse them to improve your answers. It is also worthwhile selecting new examples of accomplishments, strengths, and other qualities that you will need to draw upon during the course of the interview.
Also reflect on what you didn’t say in the first interview. Was there something you should have mentioned? Now is your opportunity to highlight these parts of your CV.
Research the interview panel
Know who you’ll be meeting, their job titles and background as this will give you clues as to what types of questions they’ll ask. Subject Matter Experts will focus on technical questions where as Human Resources may focus on softer skills. In small to medium sized companies, it’s not uncommon to meet the same people at both interviews. In this case, be sure to have fresh examples to highlight your skills and accomplishments.
Showcase your strategic thinking
After the first interview, you’ll have had a chance to ask questions about the company. The hiring manager many now expect you to share ideas on how you could help overcome any challenges they’re facing. The second interview can be a great place to showcase where you’ve faced similar issues in the past and how you came up with innovative solutions.
Have fresh questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of the interview you’ll be invited to ask more questions. This may be your last chance to get the information you need to decide if you’d accept the role if offered.
Understand what’s most important for you to guide your questions– this could be strategy, culture, diversity or leadership development. You’ll see more expansive examples of questions in my article Great Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview.
Remember, you don’t need to wait until the end of an interview to ask questions. For senior appointments in particular, it can be worthwhile asking questions throughout – this helps reshape the interview to a meeting between colleagues.
Have your sales pitch ready to close the interview
Close the interview on a high. Let the hiring manager know what gives you the edge over other people. Show how you can make their life easier by helping them achieve their objectives. In you final pitch, you should ideally be speaking to the hiring manager on a head, heart and gut level to have maximum impact.
About the Author
Laura McGrath is a qualified executive coach, EMCC Certified with over 20 years’ experience in executive search and recruitment. She’s the owner of Interview Techniques, a leading provider of interview and career coaching services and has been a guest lecturer with Trinity College Dublin and TU Dublin. She’s given master interview classes with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. For a consultation, please call 087 669 1192 or go to https://interviewtechniques.ie/contact/