The Second Interview – Your Chance to Stand Out

Posted on October 2016 By Speller International
Interview 2

​ So you made it through to your second interview… congratulations! Often that first round is the hardest. Increasingly, candidates have to stand out in a field that is only getting more competitive each day.

Obviously, you’ve made the right impression thus far. The second interview then is your chance to consolidate that impression, and establish the points of difference that will make you stand out as the clear choice for your would-be employer.

This time, however, you’ll be required to do that in the face of more people, more questions… and more pressure. How then can you, as a candidate, ensure you keep putting your best foot forward?

Preparation is opportunity’s partner

The first recommendation we’d make? Be prepared. Reflect on how your first interview went, and ask yourself some simple questions: what answers did the interviewers respond to best? What answers do you feel you could have answered better, if you had more information available to you?

Consider the kind of questions the interviewers focused upon in that first round. Was there a common theme evident, or did they pose a set of related questions around a particular topic? That could indicate key areas the interviewers are likely to explore with you more deeply on a second go-around. Be ready for that with fresh examples, or with answers that expand further on the subjects they’ve indicated interest in.

Remember: be consistent, particularly around any questions on why you’re looking for a new role, or why you moved on from previous positions. Such consistency will be a good indicator of your character to potential employers.

Your questions have value too

Evidently, in any interview situation, you’ll be asked a lot of questions. It’s important to remember though that this is also your opportunity to ask some questions of your own.

Ask about the internal prospects for career growth the position might entail. What sort of pathways open up for loyal employees? What sort of training and development opportunities might be on offer, or encouraged?

No organisation likes to lose people if it can be helped – the impact in time and money are often significant. By communicating your interest in ongoing professional development, and stating your intent to return the fruits of that development back into the company, you’ll be signaling your worth as a potential long-term investment.

Make them confident that you’re a good bet.

Success is where skill is matched by alignment

Remember that companies are composed of people, working towards a common cause. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the company’s vision or mission statement, and ask questions that demonstrate your awareness around their key concerns.

In this way, you’ll be communicating that you’re interested in more than just filling a role – you’ll be indicating that your interest extends to the company as a whole, and the people within it. This will provide you an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of – and alignment with – their core values.

It will also give you the chance to display a little of your personality. Obviously, if you’ve been asked in for a second interview, you can have some confidence that your skills have been assessed as being largely suited to the task. This time around, it’s likely your ability to comfortably fit in with the company culture is being considered.

As such, the interview panel may well include the people you’ll be working with, or directly for. Take the opportunity to ask them what they most like about the company – this is your chance to determine for yourself whether the culture will be the right fit for you.

Consistency, confidence, culture – make yourself the clear choice

That all might seem a lot to consider, but remember – companies wouldn’t be interviewing you unless they wanted you to succeed as well. Just remember the following pointers:

  • Be prepared. Clarity and confidence will follow naturally.

  • Ask questions. Refine or expand upon any insights learned in the first round. It’ll show you’ve listened, and given things some thought.

  • Communicate your commitment to ongoing learning, and make it clear that any such investment will be returned in kind.

  • Be yourself! Employers aren’t just looking for skills. They’re looking for people that can work comfortably within the company culture while contributing to it.

That’s really all there is to it.

When you get the call to come in for that second interview, the ball will be in your court. By keeping the above in mind, you can comfortably return the serve, and really stand out.