Tips for the Second Interview

You've made it past the first screening interview and have been asked to visit the company site, but you've used up all your answers. What do you do now?

If you've survived the first round interview and been invited for a second, on-site interview, the employer is seriously considering you, and deems you to be a good potential fit for their organization. They will be narrowing the applicant pool further based on a series of on-site interviews and for many employers this will be the final set of interviews to determine who is offered a position.

  • Make sure to get the name, phone number, and job title of the person arranging the interview. If the agenda for the day is not clear, ask for the schedule and names and titles of the people you'll be meeting. You can also ask this person how you should dress - for the interview and also for any social activities that may be part of the process.  You may want to ask if the interviews will be one-on-one or involve either groups of employees or possibly more than one applicant at a time. Whatever the format, you want to avoid being surprised and forced to adjust at a time when you are likely to be somewhat nervous and stressed.
  • Be sure that you know what the travel arrangements are, including what they will reimburse you for. Some employers will make all arrangement in advance of your trip, while some will expect you to pay and then reimburse you. Most large and mid-sized organizations will cover all of your expenses, i.e., airfare, rental car, lodging, and food.
  • Make sure you keep all your receipts plus a log of any mileage when using your own car. If there is a large expense, e.g. airfare, and you do not have the money to pay, you can request that the employer pre-pay.
  • Be reasonable on the expenses you develop and if visiting more that one employer on a trip, prorate the expenses.
  • Most visits are one-half to a full day in length and consist of a series of one-to-one sessions with various individuals. You typically begin with someone in the Human Resources Department, then move on to various hiring managers, potential supervisor(s) and co-workers, and higher level executives.
  • Block out time in your schedule to seriously prepare for the second interview even more so than you did for the first interview. This is not a time to wing it. What did you learn during the first interview about the employer, the position, and their particular check list of attributes that can help you prepare for the second round?
  • A meal will typically be included. Consider this a continuation of the interview - they are assessing how you fit into their group. Concentrate on the conversation instead of the food and exercise good eating etiquette.
  • After the interview, be sure to send a thank you letter - even if you change your mind and are no longer interested in working for their organization. Address the letter to the key person who arranged the visit and be sure to mention the names of all the individuals you met. Ideally send the letter - email is acceptable - within two working days after your visit and no longer than one week following the visit.

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