Second Interviews

If first interviews are nerve-wracking, second interviews are exhilarating and nerve-wracking.  You made it through the first round!  You are definitely in the running for the position!  But now you have to do it all over again, prepare and execute another interview.  And you can’t give the same answers you gave before.  You have to spend more time researching the company based on what you learned at the first interview.  You need to come up with new questions to ask.  And most likely this interview will be different, more interviewers, different format, longer, etc.

A client, Lynda, recently went to her second interview.  The position was a brand new position in the company, a small company with just three staff members.  If Lynda got the position, she would be creating the position from scratch.  During the first interview, Lynda met with the HR manager and the program director.  They asked her questions about her qualifications.  In all, the process was just about a half hour.  Then she was called in for the second interview!  Generally for second interviews, the interviewers really want to see if the hopeful employee will fit in with the company culture and will work well on the team.

They already knew about Lynda’s skills and knowledge; they had learned about them in the first interview.  Instead of a typical second interview, which are frequently formatted similarly to the first interview, this company decided to brainstorm together with Lynda about the first project the new staff member would be working on!  Goals, resources, technology, support staff, marketing, timeline, etc. She was introduced to the members of the team and immediately asked to start brainstorming.

Talk about intimidating!  But my client is perfect for this position and an interview of this kind would really give her the opportunity to shine.  She jumped right in, stood up, grabbed a dry erase marker, and started taking notes and offering ideas.  If she had been less confident about her abilities or about her qualifications for the job, she might have been unsettled by the unusual nature of the interview.

Consider the possibility of suggesting this or another type of interview to your interviewers as the second interview.  You’ll need to judge the situation, determine what type of interview to suggest, and make sure it would be appropriate for you to suggest something.  This situation was particularly suited for a brainstorming session.  We don’t know yet if Lynda will be offered the position.  However, she feels very good about her performance.  We’ll follow up in a future blog post with the results of the interviews.

So the moral?  Prepare as well as you can – especially the research, expect the unexpected, and know yourself!  If you can play to your strengths, emphasize your abilities, and be confident of your talents, you will ROCK your interviews!

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