How will a second job interview differ from the first?

Mon, 06/02/2012 - 14:22 -- nick

Once you’ve reached the second interview stage, it can be tempting to think you’re almost there and that the job’s there for the taking. It is, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Prepare as well for the second interview as you did for the first. Think about what it is about you that makes them want to consider you for the job.
They may want to delve deeper into your personal skills and interests to see if you’re the right fit for the team, or they may have brought someone in to play the tough guy to see how you handle pressure. If you do have a new interviewer, be prepared to go over some old ground using notes from your first interview.
As before, plan your answers to their likely questions, and be clear in your own mind where your cut off point is in terms of sharing views or talking about your private life.
Expect more open-ended or challenging questions about your experience. Have some examples in your head about specific projects you have managed or challenges you have met. It may be worth preparing some cue cards of your key work achievements to keep them fresh and organised in your head ready for when you go in.
If you’ve been asked to give a formal interview presentation, request that all the equipment you need is ready and waiting for you when you turn up.

Making your mind up
Second interviews are a good opportunity to deal with the second thoughts you had on the way back from the first. Go through any notes you took first time around, during or after the interview, and draw up a list of things you’d like to clear up when they offer you the chance to ask questions.
This is also a great time to really think hard about whether you’d want to work for these people or not. Do you like them? Is there something deep down that doesn’t feel right? Try to pick up as many signals as you can. Don’t fight a powerful instinct that tells you this role just isn’t for you, no matter how attractive the offices or the salary package.

We’re going where?
Occasionally, second interviews will take place off-site, in a bar or restaurant, for example. There’s a very good reason for this - your interviewer may want to check out your interpersonal skills by seeing how you react in an informal setting. This technique is also used to catch you off guard and tempt you into saying something you might not say in a more formal environment. Be on your guard. Alcohol can often make you say something you regret so wait to see what your interviewer is drinking before ordering yours, and never fall into a trap of drinking too much too quickly.
Forget your surroundings and stay as professional and focussed as you would in a regular interview room.

We’re delighted to say…
You may be offered the job on the spot. Regardless of how much you want the job, express your gratitude, but don’t accept…yet. It’s very reasonable to ask for time to consider. Ask when they would like a decision from you. You’re making a big step, so you want to be sure you don’t land on boggy ground. You need to get used to the idea that you could be walking through those doors again as part of the team on a daily basis.
Think the offer over in your head and discuss it with friends to make sure you’re totally comfortable with the idea. Did the atmosphere feel right? Did you like your interviewers? Did the people you saw while you were there look focused and motivated? Use your common sense and experience, and don’t go all glassy-eyed and lose your judgement in the thrill of the moment. Take this as an opportunity to negotiate a deal that’s right for you.
You’re talking about making a commitment that will probably last for years rather than months so take your time.