A second chance to make a lasting impression
Q: I’ve just been called for a second interview for a job. I’ve a lot of experience in the sector, and know I’d be a good fit for the position. I felt I did very well in the first interview and am now just wondering what more I can do second time around. Any thoughts? (LR, email)
A: Well done – you have now arrived at the point where the company is definitely interested in you. We can even conclude, at perhaps a little stretch, that they now know you can do the job. In their eyes, you’ve probably got the stuff: what they’re now doing is finding the candidate who has got the best stuff.
It’s good that you feel you can do the job. That confidence will transmit itself and your CV should clearly show the experience you mention.
What ‘more’ you can now do could take many forms. First off, clarify the nature of the second interview. Without being pushy, contact the person with whom you’ve been liaising and ask some, or all, of the following questions (repeat, don’t be pushy):
• Will it be the same interviewing panel?
• If not, who will be on the panel (titles, rather than names, may do – e.g. sales manager, brand manager, production manager)?
• Can I make a presentation?
• Will there be one interview or two on the day?
• Is this the final stage in the process?
Some of the answers to these questions may be contained in the notification you got from the company about the interview.
The next step I recommend is to do a full review of your first interview. Jot down notes on what you were asked, and what answer you gave (it is a good idea to do this after every job interview, it can be used in a variety of different ways).
See if you could have given more, or better, examples. Where did you under-sell yourself? Where were you unsure of yourself?
Prepare yourself to make strong statements of intent in the second interview. Let them know that you really want this job and that you want to make a go of it: your ability to do the job has been more or less established at this stage, and the right attitude could be a crucial factor in determining who gets the job.
They may ask about salary, if they haven’t already done so. Try to kick to touch here as much as you can: say you presume they have a range in mind and that you hadn’t really given that much thought to it yet – you can make a point of saying you were primarily focused on proving your suitability for the role.
Try to avoid getting into salary negotiation during the interview. If they push you, you could reference your current or previous salary in a non-committal way, make sure that you are not referencing that in a ‘take it or leave it’ way – it could be that you want more than that salary, or that you will be happy with less. All of that depends on a multitude of factors, not all of which we can cover here in a one-size-fits-all advice column.
If you’re looking for an increase, be able to justify it. If you’re happy to accept less, explain why – and leave the caveat that, in time, you hope to prove your worth so that you can get back up the salary ladder again.
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