Saturday 2 May 2009

Second Interviews: Getting to YES

The second interview is one way of establishing if the interviewer’s first impressions about you are correct. As a result, they may choose to bring others into the session(s) in order to get further assessments and opinions prior to confirmation stages; namely, offering you the job.

For the companies that do, why hold second interviews?

  • To get a "second opinion" on candidates
  • To allow candidates to be assessed by a person with whom they will actually be working
  • To assess candidates by more thorough and accurate methods than the traditional one-to-one interview
  • To give candidates the chance to see the place where they will be working, and perhaps to meet their ‘new’ colleagues
The second interview also presents an opportunity to discuss any areas of concern that either you or the interviewer may have from the first session and should – wherever possible - be resolved at this point. Not that I’m suggesting a heated debate however, it’s vital that you display a determination to clarify any/all outstanding issues at this stage.

The second interview itself maybe similar to the first interview: a conversation with one or two interviewers, or perhaps, with a panel however it is likely to differ from the first in the following ways:
  • The interview will be more closely related to the work you would do than the first
  • Second interviews for work of a technical nature may go into technical questions in greater depth
  • You may be interviewed by more senior members of staff: senior personnel and/or line managers
  • Your first interviewer will have left notes of any points from that interview which need following up, such as apparent weaknesses or lack of knowledge/motivation. Think about any parts of your first interview which you feel you could have handled better – these will almost certainly come up again!
With some employers, the second stage of the selection process will consist of nothing more than this interview; with, perhaps, a tour of the premises and a chance to meet other team members. However, leave yourself open to a late change in plans.

In one of my more recent appointments, I had SEVEN second interviews – entering the building at 1100 and leaving at 1830 – having met the CEO, COO, Finance Director, Chief of Strategy & various members of the Technology & Product teams. I (finally) got the job.

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