How to crack that crucial second job interview

First published by The New Zealand Herald.

Landing that dream job normally involves something that can be likened to a dance; a two-step followed by long waltz with trip wires.

The first interview is normally held to shorten the short-list; so if you’ve been invited in for a quick jitterbug based on your CV and cover letter, you’ve got a ticket to the dance. Survive this filtering process with your wit and charm and you have a good chance of being invited to the ball.

The second interview is a complex waltz in which you have to cope with numerous people wanting your attention, and it could also involve the thought police digging deep by way of a psychometric test.

The way to navigate the second interview and have the best chance of coming out on top is to find out up-front how your potential next employer intends to play this game of musical chairs. You do not want to be left standing when the music stops, so there’s nothing wrong in asking what the interview process will be. It shows you are interested.

David Trought, a partner at Auckland-based career coaching firm Clear Path Careers, says a lot of people aren’t inquiring about the interview processes and are taken by surprise when they don’t make the crucial second shortlist.

“When you get called to an interview, the firm basically knows you can probably do the job based on your CV,” Trought says. “So they’ve already got some idea. Then they want to know — do you want the job? How motivated are you to work for that company. They’ll also want to see if you will fit in — and that’s a key bit.”

Trought, who has a UK diploma in career guidance and 27 years in the career-planning industry, including time at the AUT Faculty of Business & Law, says the second interview is when pressure mounts.

“The second interview is definitely going to have more technically specific questions; it will cover the specifics of the role,” he says. “You’re also likely to meet the person who’s going to manage you — if you didn’t meet them the first time.”

Trought recommends searching LinkedIn to find out about your potential future manager. You can see where they are in the company, how long they’ve been there, and what they were doing before.

“You’ll also find out what they’re passionate about and what they do at work, “because that gives you a bit of an angle and perhaps some common areas of discussion”.

“If you’re looking on their Facebook account, that’s stalking. But if you’re looking on LinkedIn and finding out what they’re really interested in, I think that’s fine.”

However, he says the section of the second interview that tends to floor most people are the behavioural questions.