Preparing for a second job interview: The do’s and don’ts

You’ve been called back for a second round and now is your chance to secure your dream job, so don’t blow it. See our tips on how to impress your prospective employer.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to be offered a second job interview, you must grab it with both hands but be aware that you may meet a totally new interviewer from the first round and be faced with a new set of questions.

What to expect:

Careers expert Linda Whittern, a director from Careers Partnership UK, says that quite often the second interview is with the person you’ll actually be working for or a senior manager. The first interview may well have been with the Human Resources department or a recruitment consultant. So the first thing to note is to expect the interviewer and therefore their style to be different. If they are going to be working directly with you or are indeed going to be your boss, part of the assessment will naturally be about whether they feel you are compatible with the other personalities in the team and whether they feel they can get along with you too.

You will have been put through to the second interview because they believed that you are capable of the job, so expect the second interview to corroborate this.  And remember that you may well still be in competition against others for the job.

Linda says: “It may be used to ‘rank’ you against one or more other candidates who’ve also got to the second interview stage.  (Are you deemed  so good you should be first in line for the job or should you be kept as the reserve candidate?” Linda adds that if it’s the line manager who is conducting the second interview, they may well not have been formally trained in how to interview candidates. If this is the case, Linda says it’ll be even more important than in the first interview to find ways of diplomatically steering the conversation to show why you’re the one that should be chosen for the job.


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What extra preparation can you do?
From the first interview you’ll have picked up information about the company and you’ll have picked up  a better idea of what they are looking for. There may also have been a question or area where you felt you let yourself down in the first interview, so brush up on this topic  and do some extra research or think back upon your experiences and see how they fit the job’s scenario. If they picked up on your uncertainty in this area, then be sure that they will delve deeper this time.
Linda says  it really helps to find out who is going to be interviewing you and what their role is in the organisation. She also advises thinking about what you can offer the department and how you can help it meet its objectives.
At this stage you may also need to discuss salary, especially if it’s going well and you are offered a job on the spot. Linda says:  “This interview is normally the one where the pay package and terms and conditions are explained.  By this stage, you should have done your research to establish what is the going rate for a job like this, in this type of organisation.” Linda says that you also need to have worked out what she refers to as the ‘bottom line’. She explains:   “For example, I’ll accept this job if it offers me £X and I can work from home every Friday, whereas if they want me at the office every day they’ll have to pay me at least £Y.”

It’s also essential to make sure you know what the interview or day is going to entail and make sure you ask in advance whether you need to prepare anything. You may well be presented with a psychometric test or work-based assessment so be prepared for this and find out how long the interview and testing will take. If you’ve got children then expect the day to take longer then said, in case you are asked to attend some team drinks for example – it would be a shame if you miss out on this opportunity because  you have to rush home to deal with the childcare.

Any questions?

Often you’re asked if you have any questions. If you’ve got some up your sleeve you will appear more organised but remember to be genuine. Linda suggests showcasing your enthusiasm. “Suggest what you think the main short term and medium term challenges of the job might be and ask how they see them,’’ she says.  ‘’Show you’ve thought about your medium-term future with the company as well – for example could you tell me more about your mentoring scheme and how it helps people at my level to improve their performance and help them to progress?  Obviously if there’s any uncertainty about terms and conditions you’ll need to clear this up too.”

Good luck!
recruitment, part time staff, flexible work

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