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  • The second interview

  • Progressing to the next stage
    Its exciting and gratifying to be progressed to second interview because youre a step closer to securing the job. Typically, a second interview involves a panel interview or a series of one to one interviews with a number of representatives from the business.

    The keys to managing the interview process successfully are preparation and practice. If you are diligent at both, you will present yourself in the best possible light and will be recognised by the employer as a strong and effective candidate.

    Prepare, prepare and prepare again
    The key to success at second interview is more preparation. Dont lull yourself into a false sense of security thinking that the preparation you did for the first interview will suffice. A second interview will likely involve more preparation, more people, more questions, more intensity, and more pressure.

    Conduct more research on the company. Gain an even better understanding of its culture, values and people. Delve deeper into its products, services and routes to market. Know who its customers and competitors are. Immerse yourself into the company financials. Become a student of the company; give yourself the knowledge to interview confidently. It wont harm to take any information in with you to demonstrate that youve taken the time to do some research.

    Review your first interview performance
    Note any questions or situations that caused you difficulty and plan how you will handle those aspects better in the second interview. Derive confidence from knowing that if you hadn't performed well in the first interview, you wouldn't have landed the second.

    Think about what made you shine in the first interview and plan to do more of the same. Brainstorm further new information you can bring to the second interview; new accomplishments, new examples and new evidence of how much you know about the employer.

    Use any notes you captured during the first interview to help you structure your answers during your practice interview sessions. The second interview is your opportunity to show that you have listened and learned. The more details you know about a position, the more successfully you can communicate your ability to meet its requirements.

    Think about what you know the employer is looking for and describe elements of your background and skills in such a way that you show that you have those specific qualifications. A candidate who can take information learned in a first interview and apply it in later interviews will be considered an astute observer and a quick study.

    Reiterate your selling points
    During the interview, it may feel a little like dj vu repeating some of the same things over again (especially if one of your interviewers is the person who interviewed you the first time around). Dont be thrown by this as it's important for you to hit those selling points a second time hard.

    Avoid the familiarity trap
    There is a degree of familiarity during the second interview; you may have met representatives from the interviewing body at first interview stage; you may be more familiar with the company and its culture. The location of the interview may also be exactly the same as first time around. You may even be reiterating your selling points. Although these things can be comforting, you must be mindful not to let yourself relax too much remain sharp, focussed and attentive.

    Salary and benefits: a new agenda item
    Be prepared to discuss salary and benefits. It is common for the employer to ask you about your current remuneration package at this stage of the process. Simply reiterate your position and leave it there until you reach offer stage. Dont be led into thinking that this is preliminary to an offer being made. You havent secured the job yet.

    Interviewers like to consider the the cost-benefit implications of any new hire. They will want to compare how much it would cost to bring on somebody with your skills and experience compared to the other candidates in the running. Furthermore, employers will tend to negotiate via the recruitment consultancy. We will therefore ensure that we represent both parties professionally and equitably.

    Salary and benefits: your expectations
    With money now on the agenda, you may be asked about desired salary. The best response is often one that returns the question. Examples: What kind of salary range are you working with? or Well, Id like to earn as much as other employees with my skills set. or What is a typical salary for this position?.  Alternatively, you may decide to avoid disclosing a specific salary expectation and name a range instead; for example: I was thinking of a salary in the x to y range.

    If the interviewer probes further, keep your response straightforward and honest e.g. 'My current package is x and I would be expecting an increase to y. Remember, now is not the time to start any negotiation on the matter you havent been offered the job yet!   

    Remember the basics
    Refer to our pages on interview research, interview preparation and interview best practice as the recommendations made here still apply.

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