The Second Interview Made Easy

November 25th, 2013 | Interviewing | No Comments »

the second job interview

So you’ve made it to the second interview. Congratulations are in order, of course, but you are not out of the forest just yet. The second interview is generally designed to be a much more rigorous set of tests to glean whether or not you are the perfect technical and cultural fit for the company. It is obvious that the company wants to learn more about you and likes what they see so far. All you need to do now is seal the deal by following these tips.

As always, do your research

You should already know a lot about the company from your preparation for the first interview, but this time around you will be meeting with more than just the HR reps and hiring managers. Second interviews generally introduce you to the team members and managers, so you will want to learn as much as you can about these other people. Ask the HR rep for the names of some of the people you will be meeting throughout the second interview. Find out their role in the company and devise ways to impress them. Also, have a clear picture of what the departmental objectives and how they help the company as a whole. Make sure you are prepared to fit yourself into that picture as much as possible.

Prepare for panel or group interviews

It is likely that your second interview will be one of two options: a panel interview, where you alone are being questioned by multiple managers, or a group interview, where you and a few other potential candidates are interviewed simultaneously. Each one of these interview styles has its own set of tips and tricks. Make sure you prepare yourself for either scenario.

Tips for Panel Interviews

Tips for Group Interviews

Stay on your game

Second interviews tend to last longer and go into greater depth than the initial screening. Some can even last anywhere from 2-8 hours, whereby you spend the entire day meeting the team and touring the department. If you run into this scenario, make sure that you remember that you are being evaluated from the second you walk in the door, during your lunch break, and all the way until you get into your car. So always make sure that you are on your best behavior throughout the entire process.

It is likely that you will engage in non-work related conversations with potential team members, which is a great way to show that you will fit in, but you must keep in mind that this is still a job interview. Even if side conversations start, show that you are a serious professional who can have a good time with the team, but don’t go overboard by engaging in controversial or inappropriate topics.

Create a sales pitch

Remember that the people you meet throughout the day may be ordinary managers and workers rather than HR people or hiring managers. Therefore, they may not be prepared to pose questions that will draw out your abilities and experiences. It is up to you to devise a sales pitch that highlights your aptitudes and tuck it away in case you run into this situation. Always be ready to sell yourself to anyone you meet, no matter how small their role in the company.

Prepare for tech screening

Second interviews often challenge you with technical screening tests to gauge your coding abilities, so make sure that your skills are ready for the trials. Break out old programs and rewrite them to keep your skills sharp. Do not attempt to wing it with rusty coding skills. Instead, try to predict what kind of tests you will be given based on the type of software the company puts out on the market.

Follow up

Don’t forget to get the contact information of the people you meet so you can send them a thank you note at a later time. Include a specific event that you participated in with them or a conversation that you feel went well. Mentioning specifics will help as many people remember you as possible. Some companies take what their team members have to say seriously in their decision of who to hire, so getting close to the team could boost your chances of success in a big way.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of The CBI via Flickr