What Happens at the Second Interview?

You were called for a second interview!  Congratulations!  You are a serious contender for the job.  However, your work isn’t done yet.  You are now competing with the most qualified candidates and the employer is carefully evaluating your level of fit for both the organization and the job.  Here are some tips that will help you turn that second interview into an offer:

You will meet with different people.  When hiring new candidates, most managers like to give several different people the opportunity to weigh-in on the decision.  This makes it more likely that the new employee will be embraced by the rest of the team.  Be prepared to be interviewed by senior level managers, members of the team, and by staff from within and outside of the department.  Make sure that you give everyone who interviews you the same level of consideration; you never know who might have the manager’s ear.

You may be tested. 

Usually by the time you get to the second interview, the employer has already determined that all of the candidates have the required technical skills for the job.  Now they are just trying to find the right fit.  At this point in the selection process, it is common for the interviewer to ask you to complete a test that assesses your skills, intelligence and personality.  While it isn’t possible to prepare for these tests, you can set yourself up for success by getting a good night sleep the night before.

You will need to delve deeper.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself answering the same question more than once.  In order to truly evaluate your level of expertise, the interviewer is going to want a detailed description of your related skills and experience.  It might help to write down a few examples ahead of time so that you don’t have to come up with them on the spot.

They may communicate their concerns.

Each candidate possesses strengths and weaknesses for the position.  If you’re lucky, the interviewer will let you know of any concerns that they have about hiring you.  Put yourself in their position; what might be holding the employer back from making you an offer?  The interviewer may communicate these concerns by asking you a lot of questions about a particular topic; sometimes you have to read between the lines.

You may be negotiating salary and benefits.

The second interview is often when the employer begins the salary conversation.  The employer needs to know if you would be willing to accept the salary that they are able to offer.  Take the time to do your salary research ahead of time and have a range in mind.

When you’re at the interview, don’t forget to pay attention to whether or not this is a job that you would actually want.  Would you be happy working here day after day?  While it’s great to get an offer, you need to find a job that will satisfy you for at least a few years.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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