© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
Getting called in for a second job interview is gratifying but also nerve-wracking. Just the fact that you have made it to this stage in the interview process means that you are definitely one of the top handful of candidates for the job, which is very good news. However, at the second interview level the competition is that much tougher, and the questions you will receive at the interview are likely to be a lot tougher to answer. Unlike the first stage, which looks to see if you are qualified, the second stage of the job interview process focuses on making sure you are the most qualified. As a result, the questions you encounter are likely to be more specific and more in-depth than the first round.
Since you know that will be the case, the first thing to do is prepare for the second job interview in a manner that is also more focused and pointed. Specifically, you want to find out the areas of greatest interest to the second interviewers and make sure that you are especially prepared to answer questions about those subjects and topics. This will require that you do a little networking. At this stage in the interview process, you should have made some contact with someone at the company who you can use as a resource or ally in your job search. Perhaps this someone is the HR representative who has been working to schedule you for interviews and giving you feedback on your progress. Or you might know someone at the company already, or have had a first interviewer express a willingness to help you as your candidacy moves forward.
Be sure to subtly and politely leverage whatever contacts you have made in the company as you prepare for your second interview. Though you can't expect someone to put in an extraordinary amount of effort to help you, there is no reason why you can't ask the HR representative for some feedback on what areas the first interviewers thought were strong and what areas were not as impressive. In a similar manner, there is no harm in asking your contacts what elements are most important to the people you will be speaking to for the second interview. Don't try to sound like you are seeking an unfair advantage or inside information, but don't be afraid to ask honest questions about what you can expect at the next level.
Once you've reached the second job interview, don't change your style and responses too much. Your interview strategy got you into the second interview, so you must be doing something right. During your second interview, answer questions with references back to the experiences and successes of your career and life so far. Also, follow the lead of the interviewer. By the time you've gotten to the second interview, you will be dealing with a higher level of executive. It's possible that he or she will want to see you in a more informal, relaxed kind of way and you should be prepared to do that if you are directed.
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