Make sure you pass the final hurdle!
Second interviews are very tricky. You know you have done well to get to this stage. You know this could be the final stage. You don't want to get it wrong. How can you make sure you don't misjudge it?
We've seen many outcomes over the years and have pulled together a guide, to help you get it right.
Before the interview, remember...
You're not there yet
There will be several other very strong candidates still in the running and it may even go to a third stage, so don't be over confident and think there is nothing left to do but turn up. Complacency shows and will turn them right off.
We are here for you and want to make sure you get this job. We have a variety of 'services' that are all part of the deal when you work with us. If you need any additional information, just ask, e.g. job description clarification, client news and background, additional information about the people you are meeting. We will know what they like and don't like, the sort of person who fits well in their team, the sort of things that might irritate them or engage them.
We will automatically share all of the information that we think you will need, but if there is anything else you would like to know please call. We can also help out with presentations and tasks. We're always happy to have a look at anything you have prepared - we will sit through a practice run for you or just proof read it, if that's all you think you need. The interview may be over Skype or FaceTime. If you're nervous about that, let us know, we can help with this too.
Revisit the preparation you did for the first meeting. Re-familiarise yourself with what you learned. Play the first interview back in your head. Were there any bits of information they shared that you could use to your advantage this time? Any additional information about their clients that you could look up and reference? They will be impressed, because it shows you listened, have given further thought to the role and their business and did some research. Go back over the job description. Make sure you're clear on everything. Ask your DNA consultant if there is anything else you should know or be thinking about, e.g psychometric testing
Get feedback from the first interview
Nothing is going to be more useful than finding out more about why they want to see you again. So ask your recruitment consultant to give you all the feedback and any tips or pieces of advice. Have they asked you back because they wanted to interrogate a particular area of your CV, experience, background? Were they really impressed and is this just a chemistry session? Do they want a presentation - or to see some examples of your work? Were they unsure and need more convincing? Make sure you address any areas that they had reservations about. Your recruiter will be able to give you a good steer on all of this and if you cover it all off in your preparation you will do well.
You have almost certainly been to second interviews before. You may have been an interviewer in a second. Think about the sort of questions you have asked or have faced. Make a list of them. Answer them. Get a friend to help you. The more you practice the more relaxed you will feel on the big day. The more questions you practice with, the less likely you are to run out of answers.
Think about the people
Who did you meet last time? Make sure you remember their names and their roles. Check them out on LinkedIn - check out their connections. You might meet another team member or two this time, so see if you can find out who their colleagues are. See if anyone in your network is connected to them. A good way to find out what they are really like.
If you have a presentation to make, find out how they want you to present - sitting, standing up, using a laptop/iPad or on a big screen. Ask your recruiter to confirm. Get them to check if you can or should email the presentation in advance. Find out if you need to bring your own equipment. Always have a back up of your presentation, spare USB's and even printouts - just in case there are technical issues on the day and there's no power. Also some people still like having something to write on - and it will help them to remember you and what you said. Ask your recruiter if you can or should email the presentation in advance.
On the day
Get off to a good start
Thank them for inviting you back. Say why you are so happy to be back - tell them what you enjoyed about the first interview, what you learned that has made you even more keen, what you are looking forward to about this meeting. It will set a very positive tone to the session.
Ask good questions
They will want to know if you are still a firm candidate. Prove your interest by asking more insightful questions, e.g. team structure, company growth, training, personal development, working relationship with clients, key responsibilities of the role. If there is anything you're not sure about or just haven't been able to find out - now's the time to ask.
They want to feel how much you want this job. Show some passion and drive. If you can talk enthusiastically about the client/brand/agency and work you are proud of, your personal achievements, they will get a sense of your true spirit. You need to come into the second interview with even more enthusiasm and excitement than you did in the first.
Let your true personality and charm shine through. Second interviews are often as much about getting to know and 'feeling the chemistry' as about your skills and competency. Chances are you convinced them of those in the first round, this time they want to find out if they can work with you and would enjoy getting to know you better. They will also be trying to assess what the clients will make of you, so remember to behave in a very professional but friendly manner.
Get your facts straight
It's always a good idea to double check the agency website. Check out their clients too and any trade news sites. You want to make sure you haven't missed any news that could impact the role they are interviewing you for. If you do see something that you think might have an impact - ask them about it. They will be impressed that you are interested enough to keep an eye on their 'universe'.
Second interviews can be long and quite grueling. You may be introduced to a succession of people at various points during the interview. Try not to let it affect your performance and ensure that are equally friendly and happy to meet all of them. You never know at which point the most senior person or ultimate decision maker might pop in. Don't forget to be just as charming with the people you met on your way in, those on reception, other people in the waiting area. Looking grumpy or terrified while you are waiting will put people off and word will get round.
Give a good summary
This is where you can really close the deal. If and when they ask if there is anything else you would like to say or ask, this is where you should give a solid summing up of why you want the job and why they should want you.
Have you communicated your positive, can do attitude? Do you think you have really convinced them that you could come and in and do a great job from day one? Did you communicate how strong you are creatively, strategically, commercially? Did you give good examples of how well you manage people, your clients, colleagues, juniors? Did you clarify what you are looking to achieve career wise with this move? If you're not sure you did, do it now.
Ask your final questions
It's OK to ask what will happen next, what the likely time frame is with regard to this appointment and what the salary is likely to be. Just remember to stick to what you said originally, e.g. they may ask to be reminded of your availability, notice period and perhaps your current salary - make sure you give the same answer you did at the start of the process. They will have it written somewhere and will be irritated if suddenly you have hiked up your salary expectations.
End on a high
Thank everyone for their time. Make good eye contact and smile at all present. Say that you enjoyed the experience and hope to see them again. Invite them to ask any last questions or get in touch if there is anything else they would like to know. Keep your composure as you leave the room, building etc.
After the interview
We want to hear your feedback. We will need to give this to the interviewers. They may be keen to proceed and may contact us immediately afterwards. If we haven't heard from you, we will all think you have lost interest. Be honest, tell us what you thought went well, less well. Let us know if you are still interested and if not, why not. Even if you are not successful or decide to drop out of the process you need to do this with good grace. This is a small industry and you never know if and when you will meet these people again.