Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Second Interview

Preparing for a first interview for employment, college placement, or a possible position on a not-for-profit board of directors, can be daunting enough. For those of us who make it through to the next round, it is time to really brings matters even more clearly into focus, giving us as good a chance as possible to land the desired position. A call back interview is an opportunity to fine-tune the assets we will bring to the position on offer.

The current economic climate makes this a buyer’s market for hiring. Competition has never been keener. The same holds true for entering certain colleges. Because so many candidates have equal skill sets required for said position, one wants to rely on the strength of one’s social skills – that something extra – that some of us luckily learned at our parents’ knees, but sadly are not familiar to all of us. The poise and comfort proper social skills offer make a difference in our confidence during an interview and speaking with persons who are potential employers. Without knowledge of proper business and social etiquette at these critical moments in one’s life self-doubt and a deep sense of angst can overtake our confidence.

During a second interview, one may or may not meet with the same interviewer as the initial one. I always try to bring in another person when possible when conducting such interviews myself. One would most certainly expect to answer a fresh round of questions. Anticipating what such questions might be can put one at a distinct advantage. This may not be an easy feat however, especially as some interviewers are relatively inexperienced and may ask ‘silly’ questions designed to throw one off balance. Being put in such a situation may help you decide whether this position is actually a good fit for you.
Here are a few pieces of advice for preparing for the ‘next’ interview.
1)   Get plenty of sleep the night before, being sure to watch what you eat and drink – water being first and foremost. This helps ensure one is feeling one’s very best. How one feels greatly influences how well one communicates.
2)   Be impeccably clean, taking great care to have perfect nails and hair.
3)   Dress immaculately, allowing one’s personality to show in a positive light.
4)   Smile radiantly during introductions, exuding confidence and a comfortable, yet focused attitude. Walk in standing tall as if having been the chosen one.
5)   Allow the interviewer to extend his or her hand before offering yours to shake hands.
6)   Prepare a list of questions that delve further into the position than those prepared for the initial meeting.
7)   Listen carefully to the questions asked, allowing time to clearly understand the question before answering. Thoughtfulness is recognized and appreciated by and being understood is certainly a key component to connecting in an interview situation. This is the sort of trait that most companies seek as potential representatives. This also holds true for college admissions where a balanced student body is desired. When building a strong board of directors for a not-for-profit organization, a well-rounded compliment of personalities is critical.
8)   Before walking into this second interview give careful consideration to the goal of connecting with the interviewer. This single ‘tip’ may well be what tips the scale in your favor.
One rarely knows how many other people are competing for the same position. This second interview may not be the final one either.

If there are any lingering questions that concern you about the position’s required skills, be honest. If there are areas where you feel you may need to improve, express a willingness to both recognize said shortcomings and improve upon them. This admission will clearly explain one’s determination to correct any deficiencies.

One of the most important qualities one wants to exhibit is one of comfortable preparedness. This is, after all, a very important meeting and one wants to show one is serious and completely invested in the interview process. Connecting with the interviewer will set most people apart, as this can be awkward for many of us. Oddly enough, if one can put the interviewer at ease, even if they are unaware that this is happening, their comfort level will register in your favour.

All things being equal, if one walks in as though one already has secured the position without appearing cocky, in many cases, this will in fact be the end result.