How to succeed at your second job interview
HOW TO SUCCEED AT YOUR SECOND JOB INTERVIEW ?
Being contacted for a second interview is a sign that you made a good impression at the first: the company is seriously considering you for the job. However, there is still work to be done as you will not be the only person to be recalled. You still have to convince your interviewer that you are the right candidate.
As with your first interview, good preparation is essential for success. But beware: this time the recruiters' challenges and expectations will be different to those of the first interview. So how can you best prepare yourself to get the job?
What are the stakes of a second interview?
While the first interview is generally for verifying that the CV matches the job description and that the candidate has the required skills, the second interview is used to obtain any missing information and to identify the best candidate for the job and the company.
You may be delighted to have been selected for a second interview, but you are not the only candidate being asked to come in again. The questions you will be asked will therefore be more in-depth and specific so as to determine your working style and soft skills, as well as to clarify certain points raised in the first interview.
The second interview can often therefore feel more intense. In addition, candidates may be asked to make a presentation or to write a report to prove that their skills match the recruiter's expectations.
"While the first interview is generally for verifying that the CV matches the job description and that the candidate has the required skills, the second interview is used to obtain any missing information and to identify the best candidate for the job and the company."
During the interview you may also meet other people from the company, for example the future team, and especially the manager.
How to prepare yourself?
Review the first interview
After passing the pre-selection with flying colours, you have been called in for a second interview. As mentioned above however, the game is not yet over: you still have to prove that you are the ideal candidate.
In addition to re-reading the job description, in order to stand out, you should take some time to evaluate the first interview. What did you talk about? What do you want to explore further? What was the attitude of your interviewers? Think about what you discussed and what information you are missing. This will help you to ask the right questions and to prove your interest in the job.
Be careful not to repeat questions that have already been asked during the first interview, as this could give a bad impression and show a lack of thoroughness. To make sure you do not forget anything and do not repeat yourself, it is always useful to take notes during and after the interview.
Research the company in more detail
During this second stage, your interviewers may want to find out what you know about the company, its activities, its products, etc. Even if you already researched the company before your first interview, make sure to do some further research in order to discover more about its history, corporate culture, values, the products or services it provides, etc.
This can be achieved by exploring the company's website, social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...), as well as by paying attention to the latest news about the company (e.g. on Google News).
Make a note of the names of your contacts as well as those of your superiors and, if possible, of the people with whom you will be working closely.
Identify the interviewer
While the task of validating a potential candidate's skills and experience during a preliminary interview is sometimes delegated to the person in charge of recruitment, the second interview is often (but not always) undertaken by the future manager.
To prepare for this interview it is therefore crucial to know the identity of the interviewer. Not only does this allow the candidate to better understand the purpose of the meeting and to determine the questions that might be asked, it also enables them to know more precisely what to research and what questions to pose themselves. The topics discussed and points raised will likely differ according to the person with whom you will meet.
For example, if you meet your future manager they will try to understand how you function, how you work in a group, whether your personality fits in with their team, etc.
If you know the name of your interviewer, consider checking their exact job title, researching and consulting their LinkedIn profile and achievements, etc.
A more intense interview
This may not always be the case, but second interviews can often feel more intense. The person you meet may be looking to challenge you. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your added value and your ability to handle pressure. If the recruiter noticed some weaknesses in your first interview they will try to test you on these, in order to confirm your compatibility with the job and to be certain of your motivation.
"If you know the name of your interviewer, consider checking their exact job title, researching and consulting their LinkedIn profile and achievements, etc."
Depending on the sector and the position in question, candidates are sometimes asked to present a report, a communication plan, an audit or a risk analysis to a small group of future colleagues. This exercise allows you to validate your skills, knowledge and soft skills, in particular your ability to communicate, your rigour and your organisational skills, while checking that you have understood the company's expectations.
Prepare for more in-depth questions
The questions asked during a second interview are often more specific and detailed. They allow the interviewer to verify that the candidate corresponds to the job profile and that they will be capable of carrying out all the tasks demanded of them. Even if the recruiter was able to validate the candidate's skills and personality during the first meeting, the second meeting is an opportunity to address what may have been overlooked.
Here are some of the questions frequently asked during a second interview:
- What do you think we could improve on?
- If you were hired for this position, what would be the first tasks you would perform?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Give us an example of your problem-solving skills.
- What skills do you think are needed for this job?
- What might be the main challenges you'll face in your job over the next few years?
- Can you tell me about an experience where you had to deal with a challenge and how you succeeded?
- What do you expect from your manager?
- Do you prefer to follow instructions or to act independently?
- Have you ever taken important decisions without consulting your manager?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What would be your ideal working environment?
- What are your career goals and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
These are just a few examples. Be prepared to answer questions about your soft skills, your expertise, your experience, your ability to work with others and your knowledge of the company and the job market. Prepare your answers in advance to avoid improvising as much as possible. Write these answers down and, if necessary, repeat your speech in front of someone.
Ask the right questions
The second interview is an opportunity to find out more details and to confirm your interest in the position. Take advantage of this moment to obtain more precision about your future tasks, to better understand the company, the management style and how the team works.
Find out about the company culture and values, the dress code, the CSR policy and important events. Not only does this demonstrate your interest in the position and your ability to project, it also allows you to visualise your future and ultimately to determine whether you see yourself committing long term to this particular company.
Be sure to show an interest in the company's business activities, highlighting your research and professionalism. You could for example ask for more information about the company's current objectives and how your team's input will contribute to them. Who are your main customers or competitors? What are the main challenges the company faces?
"The second interview is an opportunity to find out more details and to confirm your interest in the position. Take advantage of this moment to obtain more precision about your future tasks, to better understand the company, the management style and how the team works."
Your interviewer will also want to know how well you will integrate into your new team. To show your interpersonal skills, don't hesitate to ask questions concerning your future colleagues: Can you tell me more about the team and the people I will be working with? How is the team structured? What is the working atmosphere like?
Finally, find out more about any benefits in kind, working conditions, hours, holidays, possibilities of working from home, etc.
You now have all the information you need to succeed in your interview. Good luck!
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