How to Handle a Second-Stage Job Interview

Eilidh

Well done on reaching second stage interview – the final hurdle is in sight! At this stage, the competition has been narrowed and you can visualise yourself in this role.

By making it this far you’ve already demonstrated you have the right experience, skills and fit to be the right person for the job, however the second stage is still just as, if not more, important. By nature, this stage is designed to press down further on areas which you may have only briefly covered at first interview or discuss in more detail the most important parts of the role description and your experience in these areas.

The good news is you’re so close to your dream job, just keep your enthusiasm and focus!

Below are some pointers which can help you prepare for this all-important interview – 

Review and reflect on your performance from your first interview

You’ve obviously met the mark- interviewers do not waste their time bringing back candidates that they cannot visualise in their organisation. But think back through any questions where you could improve or give a more relevant and detailed response. Was there any major achievement or milestone which showcases your particular expertise that you could include in your responses this time round? If possible, to gain feedback from your first stage, use this as your key tool in preparation for second round.

Have a plan

Go into the interview room knowing exactly who will be interviewing you and what is expected of you. Ask the recruiter you are dealing with to provide as much information as possible on who you are meeting and what they expect to gain from this interview. Research the individuals and continue to sell your achievements and experience in more detail than you did at the first stage.

Keep rehearsing your answers 

Taking time out to run through your responses could be the deal clincher. Being clear, articulate and to the point in your responses shows you can think on your feet whilst communicating effectively under pressure.

Keep your answers fresh and think of new examples based on your first interview

It’s okay to go over old ground, especially as you are often meeting with different people at this stage. However, interview notes from both stages will be compared so using more than one example could go in your favour. In addition, your line manager is often in a second stage interview, so it is beneficial to offer a mix of old and new answers to really show off the breadth of your experience.

Be prepared for some tricky questions

As said above, the second stage interview often feels tougher than the first stage. It is completely normal for candidates to leave this interview feeling less excited than they did at first stage. It is important to remember this is essentially the last stop before being offered the job, so don’t expect an easy ride. Difficult questions may be asked and they will be looking to see how you cope under pressure.

Ask the right questions

It’s likely you’ll have more opportunity during the second interview to ask questions and this should definitely be utilised. It is important that the interview process feels like a two-way street and the company feel that you are interested to see if they are right for you also. Ask about the team, company strategy and the expectations around your role. It is also advisable to ask when they expect decisions to made and what the process will look like from this stage onwards.

Check the company’s social media channels for new information

A good way of showing you are keen and up to date is to discuss the news your company release via their social media channels. Check their website, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds again before second stage to demonstrate that you are interested and up to date in the happenings of the organisation.

Are you right for the cultural fit?

This is the time when the employer will see if you’re the right cultural fit for them and how you’ll interact with the existing team members. It’s also your time to make the same call so take in the office surroundings and the language they use. Is it really right for you?

Stay in selling mode

You’re not there yet so make sure you showcase your strengths and back up everything you say with an example. Hitting or overachieving targets, and any specific examples of how you’ve worked individually or as part of a team are a great way of showing you can make a real difference to a company.

Express your interest

At the end of the interview keep keen and express your continued interest in the company.

Stay positive and good luck! To get in touch with me to discuss Accountancy & Finance opportunities, click here.

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