Congratulations! Getting called back for a second interview is not easy at all. To this point in your quest for a new job, you stood out from a large number of people just to get the first interview. You nailed the first interview and they are asking you back to the “Second Interview”. Let’s look at this from an example perspective. Say 100 people applied for the job and they chose 5 (you included) for a second interview. Be happy! So far you beat out 95 people. Now you only have to beat out 4 others to get the job. Odds seem better. So enjoy your success for a moment. You deserve it! Be proud of yourself for coming this far. Your confidence should be high, high enough to drive you through the next round.
You know that you need to nail this interview and you also know that the competition is tougher. You are 1 of 5 of the crème of the crop. It’s important to know your purpose going into this interview. How is the second interview different than your first? Nancy Range Anderson, author, career coach and founder of Blackbird Learning Associates LLC explains:
“During the first interview, the interviewer as questions to determine three areas; can you do the job, do you fit into the company culture and do you really want this job. It’s a good bet that in the second interview you will have a panel of people who more than likely will be more senior conducting your interview and while they may ask similar questions that were asked in the first interview, they are looking at you differently that the people in the first interview looked at you. In the second interview they want to compare you and your skills with the other candidate. It is a check box situation. Who has more skills, which one is better? Always remember, this isn’t a popularity contest. The employer is looking to hire the best qualified candidate. If you want the job, you need to be that candidate. Here is how!
You need an ice-breaker
You need to connect with the interviewers. How do you do that, with enthusiasm? The definition of enthusiasm according to the Merriam Webster dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enthusiasm is a “strong excitement or feeling”. I am assuming that you are excited about this position. If so, share it with the interviewers. Let them know. Enthusiasm is contagious. Tell them what excited you during the first interview.
Sharing your genuine enthusiasm with the interviewers lets you to tap into their enthusiasm and created mutual enthusiasm and passion which will make you stand out.
Remember, look the interviewers in the eye. Keep eye contact with the interviewer. Bring up something someone said in the first interview that stood out to you.
What is your unique Angle?
This is the opportunity for you to sell your skillset. Tell them how your experience positions you for the open position.
This is the time to detail your accomplishments and how your accomplishments would benefit them as an employer. Anderson explains: “The interviewer at this stage wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me/us?’ and ‘What can this candidate do to help us accomplish our goals that the other candidates can’t do?’”.
Identify your angle. Then let them know how your unique professional experience makes you the only candidate left for this job, and that they “must have” you for their team.
You Need to Prepare
The “job description” is the employer’s list for his/her ideal candidate. As the candidate, you must study the job description. It is your guide to your second interview preparation.
Anderson recommends: “To prepare the candidate needs to focus on the responsibilities, skills and requirements of the open position and come up with specific behavioral stories detailing his or her actions and results.”
Anderson supports a direct approach: “I suggest that the candidate draw a two-column chart. In the left column, list the hard and soft skills, tasks and job responsibilities required of the position and in the right hand column write out examples of work-related accomplishments that support these. Above all, the candidate should focus on his or her role in these accomplishments and use words such as “I” rather than “We”.
Employers like to hear that a candidate is a team player and for sure you need to emphasize that you know how to function well on a team. However, you need to highlight your individual accomplishments and successes that set you apart.
Salary prep a must
You need to do your research and know what you are worth. Do not under or overestimate your worth. Search sites such as www.Glassdoor.com as part of your research. Anderson advises: “The candidate should be prepared to discuss salary at any time during the interview process.”
Anderson explains: “Salary discussions usually come up towards the end of the interviewing cycle and most likely will be initiated by the interviewer. This can be a positive sign.”
If you have special skills or special experiences that brings more to the employer than they are looking for pay attention to their enthusiasm about these skills or experiences. You may be able to negotiate a higher salary because of them. It is up to you to read that situation though. If you are unsure, do not try.
Please remember that an interview is a two-way conversation. DO NOT waste your opportunity to ask questions. Employers want you to ask questions. It is another way for you to impress the interviewers. Study the company and the industry that the company is in. Understand where the company is in relation to its competitors.
These are some questions Anderson recommends:
How would you describe the company culture?
What are the challenges your team is facing right now? How can the person stepping into this role help?
What kinds of people really grow here?
What are the long and short term goals of the department?
Remember, being invited to a second interview is a big deal. You wouldn’t get this far if you were not a good candidate. Be confident and by all means go into the interview prepared. Good luck!