I am so excited to report that I have been invited to a second interview for a position as a Human Resources Manager. After a year of looking for work and going on interviews, I really would like to succeed in this part of the process and finally get a job offer.
Please could you provide me with some suggestions as to what I need to know for the second interview. I was told that I would be meeting the person who would supervise me if I got hired for this position.
Signed: Almost at the finish line (AFL)
Congratulations on being invited on a second interview. You are so close to a job offer, but be aware that you are still being evaluated for the job. The employer’s objective continues to be to make a suitable hiring decision for the team and company, so this is no time to relax. The same procedures apply as with the first interview. It’s an opportunity to sell yourself, prepare a professional presentation and make a good impressive through your verbal and non-verbal communication. Your personality is revealed by the way you present yourself, both verbally and non-verbally.
Generally, most employers prefer to see candidates more than once to make a good hiring decision. Some even require a third interview. The higher the salary, the more intense the interview process. A second interview is different from the first. It’s clear that the company is interested in you, and hopefully this is the last step in the hiring process. You are in a tight competition. Think of “Canadian Idol”! You are one of the finalists. Bravo!
I have gathered the following strategies from JVS employment counsellors and Tara Weiss’ post about this topic in Forbes, to prepare for this type of interview:
1. Prepare different responses.
As with the entire interview process, prepare, practice, and rehearse your responses as much as possible. f you are meeting the same people or person as in the first interview, prepare new stories for the behavioural interview questions, with different accomplishments. Since this interview is about whether you can actually do the job well and if your personalities will get along (if you are a ‘good fit’), the stories should illustrate what type of contributor you would be. Don’t tell the same things to each person you interview with, because they will all get together afterward to discuss you, and it will be best if they heard different things.
2. Be respectful.
If you are meeting someone very high up in the organization who may or may not accompany the supervisor on the interview, be prepared to be professional and say something nice about the company and how much you would like to work there. This is not a time to be relaxed or too friendly. Sometimes upper management is included in the interview if the supervisor is not sure about you and wants a second opinion; other times it’s policy of companies to meet potential new employees. Be ready for unpredictable situations and drop-ins as well.
3. Technical interview.
Most of the time, you will have some sort of pre-screening test of your hard skills required for the position. For example, you may be required to critique a resume or create a job description for this HR manager role. You may get advanced notice of this evaluation, or you may be surprised with this test once you are at the company for the second interview.
Make sure that what you put on your resume is what you have actually done; there is nothing more embarrassing than failing a skills test because you misrepresented yourself. I am sure you have the skills and technical abilities you said you did in the resume and in the previous interview. Do not complain about this test or screening process no matter how difficult it is. You never know. This could be a test to see if you get frustrated!
4. Critical Reflection.
Preparing for the second interview can be much easier if you have conducted your own performance review of your first interview either on your own or with your employment counsellor. It’s important to reflect on the questions and how you responded to them. Find out which responses you could improve on as well as what you did well to merit a second interview. Work on your weak spots and re-emphasize your strengths. If you have worked with a recruiter, request a feedback session regarding your first interviews, so you can be in your best form for the upcoming second interview.
5. Prepare questions.
Be ready with a set of questions that are new, in case the former interviewer is present. In a second interview you can be more specific and gather more information to get clarification on the role and company. Always focus on your accomplishments and how you can help this company and team succeed. This is a great time to bring up questions (and relevant information) that you may have forgotten in the first interview or didn’t have a chance to discuss.
6. Send a thank-you email/note.
Always end the interview with a request for business. Ask for permission to email a follow-up note as well. Depending on the context, the nature of the conversation and comfort level, I might even ask if I could connect with the person on LinkedIn. Sending a follow-up thank you note is always good practice. Send a customized one to each individual. Once again, convey the reasons why you are a good fit for the job, compliment the company and show your enthusiasm for the position and that you are interested in the position and are excited with the prospects of working for the firm. For tips on writing Thank You Letters, check out Writing Thank-you Letters that Seal the Deal on our blog.
I wish you lots of success in your second interview, which will hopefully be your last one (for a long time, that is!).