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CareersStories6 tips for successful second-round interviews
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6 tips for successful second-round interviews

You aced your phone interview, and then knocked it out of the park on your first-round in-person interview. Now, your prospective employer wants you to come in again—what should you expect?

Here are six tips to help prepare you for success in the second round.

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Expect new faces

The rapport you built with the recruiter or hiring manager during the course of your first-round interview was fantastic. Now, you’ll need to carry that momentum with you into the second round. There are almost certainly going to be new stakeholders to meet, and each one of them will have a unique agenda when it comes to making a hire. So don’t be surprised if you’re asked different questions in the second round than you were in the first.

Talent tip: If you’re unsure of who you’re likely going to be meeting with in the second-round interview, it’s perfectly acceptable to reach out to your recruiter ahead of time and ask. Then, look at LinkedIn profiles for clues into what makes each individual tick.

Position yourself as the solution to specific business challenges

The first-round interview separated the wheat from the chaff. But now, expectations have shifted. It’s time to show up with specifics about how you’re going to solve specific business challenges at the ready. What would you plan to achieve in the role, and on what timeline? Being able to break down a 30-60-90 plan—that is, what you plan to achieve after 30, 60 and 90 days—is a good way of demonstrating that you’re prepared to contribute value.

Talent tip: Doing your homework will pay off here. Search PR Newswire or set up a Google Alert to stay abreast of the latest updates and news from the company. If you can position yourself as a bridge between where the company is today and where it’s going tomorrow, your hiring manager will be swooning.

Don’t get too casual

While you may feel like you know an employee or two personally at this point, don’t let your guard down. This is still an interview, after all. And with new faces in the room, you’ll likely need to reiterate many of the things you’ve said previously—and you need to do so without sounding frustrated or annoyed.

Talent tip: Try to develop a few different ways of laying out your value proposition. As different people pop into the room, you’ll likely find yourself fielding similar, if not downright identical, questions again and again. What’s more, this is just a smart way to make sure that, wherever the conversation wanders to, your messaging can always land in the same place.

Be prepared for questions about goals

At this point, the company has invested enough in you to care about what you plan to achieve professionally—in large part because those goals say a lot about how likely you are to stay with the company and contribute value over time. In that context, saying that your near-term goal is to be “a serial entrepreneur,” for instance, might raise red flags.

Talent tip: It’s fine if you aren’t completely certain what your professional future holds—you can answer this question in an open-ended way, but it’s important to have an answer ready. You don’t need to be too specific. Just start with short-term goals, then gradually transition to your longer-term plans.

Begin to negotiate salary

Your second-round interview is the time to get aligned on salary expectations. However, while you need to come in with a clear sense of what you think is a fair salary, you shouldn’t use your current salary as the basis for making that argument. You should also be careful only to discuss compensation with the appropriate stakeholders—namely, recruiters or members of the talent acquisition team, not hiring managers or other parties in the hiring process.

Talent tip: Do some research ahead of time—for instance, by searching on job boards like Glassdoor—to get a sense of the salary range for the role.

Get clarity on next steps

Before the interview ends, make sure you’re clear on the hiring process from the company’s standpoint. Most importantly, you should find out how soon the company is looking to make a new hire and when you’re likely going to hear back about your candidacy. Bear in mind that, while second-round interviews sometimes culminate in job offers, there can also be a third (and hopefully final) round. So you need to come in with an open mind.

Talent tip: Don’t forget to thank your interviewer, both in person and in email, as well as anyone you met during the interview. This will help you stay fresh in their minds. In the event that you haven’t heard back from a company, this is also a great way to follow up.

Armed with these tips, you should be ready to land your next role. And if you want to accelerate your professional development and build your career with us today, check out all of the ways you can join us right now.

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