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Job Search Skills

Making the Most of Your Second Interview

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They were impressed with your resume and called you in for an interview. You apparently passed that test, because you’ve been asked back for a second round. Now you know that you’re being seriously considered. Initial interviews are often designed to screen people out, but a second interview tells you that you’re really a contender. So here are some suggestions for making the most of this opportunity.

1. Plan for a second interview after the first.
After any interview, you should make notes about the company culture, questions that were asked, the personality of the interviewer, and the requirements of the position. There may be a long gap between the first interview and the second, so don’t rely on your memory. And if you are being interviewed by several companies, you don’t want to get them mixed up.

2. Research the organization in detail.
You undoubtedly did some research before your first interview, but expectations will be higher now. Read all available online information and try to develop a complete picture of this organization. Learn about history, products and services, customers, and recent events.

3. Network with people who’ve worked there.
Use your professional or social contacts to locate current or former employees. If you’re successful, email or call and request ten minutes to ask some questions about the company. Then be sure not to take more time unless they offer it. Ask if they know anyone else that you might talk with.

4. Research potential interviewers.
If you know who will be interviewing you, do an online search for their names. If you don’t know the identity of the interviewers, research all possible managers or executives. From their backgrounds, identify anything you may have in common that could be mentioned when you meet them. If they have worked for other companies, research those as well.

5. Study your notes.
Use your notes from the first interview to prepare for the second. Determine questions that you are likely to be asked. If it’s your first interview with the hiring manager, try to view the position from his or her point of view. If it’s a second interview with the same manager, try to anticipate the topics that may require more in-depth discussion.

6. Explain why you were impressed.
Everyone appreciates a sincere compliment. During the interview, mention anything that has favorably impressed you about the organization. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to come across as a groveling suck-up.

7. Describe how you can contribute.
Having had one interview, you should now know a lot more about the position. Be prepared to explain in detail why you are a good fit for the job and how you would approach it.

8. Show an interest!
Employers want to hire people who want to work for them, so make it clear that you are excited about the prospect of joining the team. If you are a naturally reserved and reticent person, you may need to ratchet up your enthusiasm level a bit.

9. Take notes (again).
Note-taking after the second interview is still important, since you never know when a third interview may be required. And the information will be helpful in writing your thank-you notes.

10. Send personal thank-you notes.
Mail a personal thank-you to everyone with whom you interviewed. Sending an actual letter will often make more of an impression and provide another chance to convey your professionalism. However, in some company cultures or when you need to be quick, email may be appropriate.  Emails may also be suitable if you had multiple shorter interviews with people other than the hiring managers.  Mention something specific from each interview and review the reasons why you would be a good fit for the job. And one more time, express your interest!

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