You have written a resume, networked with corporate contacts, and made it through the first round of interviews. Congratulations! Now, you are preparing for a second round interview and may be unsure how this round will differ from your on campus interviews. Although second round interviews vary by company, here are some tips to help you.
Tip #1: Talk to others
Don’t forget that one of the best ways to learn about the interview process, the function, and the company is to talk to others who have been in your shoes. Talking to classmates, alumni or others in your network who have interviewed with or worked for the same company can provide a great deal of insight. Remember that some companies go beyond the behavioral interview and may include case interviews, technical questions, writing samples, etc.
Tip #2: Concentrate on what you can control
While it may be true that there are only a certain number of positions available and many strong candidates vying for those positions, that is out of your control. Focus your energy on what you can control. Your time is best spent enhancing your candidacy, not worrying about everyone else. So, ensure you have great stories in the CAR format and well thought out questions for the interviewer(s). Also, go beyond thinking about your answers and say them aloud. Practicing your answers with someone will help reveal your strengths and opportunity areas. Remember, control what you can by preparing, practicing, and knowing how you as a candidate can add value to the company. In essence, prepare and show up with your A-game!
Tip #3: Plan ahead
For a lot of us, familiarity makes us more comfortable. So, plan ahead to ensure you know what to expect. If you are traveling to the second round interview, review your travel arrangements ahead of time and leave enough time to avoid you rushing to your interview. Often times, the second round encompasses a pre-night dinner. If you know where the dinner will be held, check out the restaurant’s menu in advance online and decide on two or three dinner selections that you would feel comfortable eating in front of everyone. This may just help you avoid ordering fettuccine alfredo, a perfect dish for dinner with friends, but not so perfect for an interview situation!
Tip #4: Know why and what’s game
Recruiters and interviewers can sense passion and genuineness. The company is likely to ask you why you want to work for them and your answer should convey “authentic enthusiasm.” Even if they don’t ask, preparing for that question will help you better understand the company and why you would be a good fit there. The company may also ask if you’re currently interviewing with other companies. You should feel comfortable in sharing an honest response with them. In other words, you can tell them if you’re interviewing with other companies. Additionally, you can let them know of any other offers you have received as long as you do so in the spirit of sharing information and not in a threatening way.
Tip #5: Trust your instinct
Don’t forget that the second round interview, which is commonly an office visit, is a time for you to evaluate the company as well. During your visit, take note of the people. Can you see yourself working with them? Do they seem happy to be there? Would you be happy working there? The office visit is not only a time for them to evaluate you, but for you to evaluate the firm and the opportunity. Good luck with your second round interviews!