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The Laid Off IT Guy! What To Do During Second Round Interviews

Congratulations on getting invited back!  The second round interview is your golden opportunity to win the job. To have made it this far in the interview process you have likely survived a phone screen and maybe an initial face-to-face meeting. For the employer to ask you back for a second time, you’ve obviously impressed them with your abilities, and now they just need you to validate that you are the best person for the job.

You know now that you are one of the finalists for the position. They are going to be scrutinizing you even more closely. You passed the test for their general rounds of questioning. You seem to possess the general characteristics that they are looking for skill-wise for the role that you’ve applied for.  The second round interview is about how you will fit in with the company. They’ll be looking closely at your personality, management style, if applicable, and overall attitude in determining if you’ll be able to get along with your teammates, your superiors and subordinates. 

They’ll also dig deeper into your technical abilities and ask finer point questions about some of your past accomplishments.  They know what they need done, and they’ll ask questions that mirror problems they’ve had in the past to see how you will respond. I’ll give an example. Recently I was asked about how I would go about dealing with a person on a project that was not keeping up with their workload. I paused briefly to collect my thoughts and said, “I’d be direct with them. I’d privately meet with them and tell them that we have a tight deadline to meet and that their part of the project was important to the overall success of the project and that I needed them to focus on getting their part of the work back on track.”  That is exactly what they wanted to hear.  They’ve obviously experienced pain around that happening before, and my answer was what they were looking for.  It should be no surprise for me to report that I’m being invited back for a second round interview with this company. Wish me luck!

Knowing that I’ve got a second interview with this company later this week prompted me to write this blog post.  I’ve been fortunate to make this, usually final, round of interviews with three other companies over the past two months, yet I haven’t won the role.  I always try to learn from my prior experiences and find out what I might have said or done (or not said or not done) to lose out on the opportunity. In the first two scenarios I learned that my experiences didn’t mirror what they were looking for. In the last scenario, however, I had exactly what they were looking for. The concern they had with my ability in the role was keeping me happy. They saw that I’d want to be promoted, potentially threatening the person that would have been my manager, certainly not verbally or physically, but in my prior management accomplishments. I think that I turned on my charm too strong and should have been more focused on how I would succeed in the current role rather than share my aspirations beyond the current position. That’s a mistake that I’m going to learn from and share with you to learn from, too.

For this most important second, and hopefully, final round of interviews, be yourself! Be honest. Admit that you make mistakes. Someone that appears too perfect is hiding something. You want to let your personality show through. You want to make a genuine connection with everyone that you encounter in your interview process from the receptionist to the owner of the business. You never know whose opinions will be considered when it comes time to make the hiring decision. I make the assumption that anyone that I’ve talked to at the company has a vote, and I make sure that I make a favorable impression upon everyone that I speak to at the company. 

Lastly, be prepared. Understand the company history, its products and services. If you know the names of the people interviewing you, look up and study their bios, either on the company website or LinkedIn.  It can’t hurt to have read the company mission and value statements and be able to incorporate those key objectives into your conversation. Make sure to ask good questions, too. You are checking them out as much as they are checking you out. You want to be sure that the company is a good fit for you, as well. Good luck!

Your comments at the bottom of the page are always welcome. You can also write to me at my email address below and I’ll get back to you. Best of luck to you on your search!

Thank you!

The Laid Off IT Guy!

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