If you're attending a senior HR job interview, what steps should you take when reaching 2nd, 3rd or 4th interview stage? Simon Geere, head of Alexander Lloyds Senior HR Division at time of writing, explains next steps.
Second interview - what next?
Congratulations! You have successfully negotiated your way through the first part of the interview process and the employer has invited you back for a repeat interview. Obviously dependant on the size and structure of the organisation, the entire process may take two, three or even four interviews before the final selection is made.
Second interviews can take a variety of formats as we have discussed in various articles throughout this series on the interview process.
Many employers favour psychometric testing at the second interview stage to assess not only your cognitive abilities, but also your personality traits as discussed in the Secrets of Psychometric Testing.
You may well then be requested to deliver a presentation to a number of senior personnel within the business or even face a formal panel, as discussed in The Challenges of Panels and Presentations.
Whatever the format, there are a few things that we recommend you keep in mind when approaching the subsequent interview phases, as complacency and over confidence can rear their heads and cause you to damage your chances of getting the job.
Although you have spent a great deal of time previously researching the company and your interviewers, it is necessary to refresh your memory and go over what you already know. Preparation will be of paramount importance for any presentation, and knowing who your interviewers are and their backgrounds in advance will aid enormously in building a rapport. You might already have met one or two, but there is a strong likelihood that additional people from the business will also be involved.
You will also need to prepare so that you are able to expand on your strengths and weaknesses, and preparing other examples for competency based questioning will be an advantage.
As you know from conducting interviews, the next stages can be a little repetitive with old ground being re-covered, either because there are new interviewers or because they are delving deeper into your previous discussion. It’s useful to revisit your own notes from the previous interview and ensure that you can elaborate on the previous examples that you have used in detail.
Build on what you know: you will have gleaned a great deal from your previous visits. Use this information astutely to ask more probing questions of your interviewers, or use it to add credibility to your presentation.
Jekyll and Hyde
You may find that the demeanour of your previous interviewer changes drastically between interviews. You may well have used the technique yourself, from the first interview as a getting to know you chat, to really pushing the interviewee in the second. While you will respond to this change (unconsciously in some cases), don’t totally change tack. They invited you back for the second because the think you can do the job and liked you first time around, changing your personality drastically can undermine the good work you have already done.
The further along the process, the more likely you will be to have a tour of the offices or facility and meet the team. Keep in the forefront of your mind that you are on display at all times and this is about your interaction with those you meet.
This also gives you an opportunity to glean more of an idea about the working environment and company culture, which should help you in your decision making as to whether you actually want the job.
It’s sometimes easy to overlook the fact that it’s about whether you want the job as much as whether the interviewer wants to employ you. There are so many different factors that impact on whether the role is correct, careful consideration must be given to what is right for your career pathway both now and in the long term.