The Purpose of a Second Interview

Be prepared for in-depth questions from multiple department heads.
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Getting the call for a second interview is exciting. It lets you know you made a good first impression, and that the employer is interested in getting to know you better. Although you're likely to focus on wowing the employer with your follow-up meeting, don't forget that the second interview is also a chance for you to learn more about the company, and whether it's a good match for your professional goals.

Discuss Job Specifics

    During your first interview, the employer evaluated you to make sure you have the skills and experience necessary for the job. During the second interview, he will want to learn more about you personally and gauge how you would fit into the company. You'll be asked about your specific planned approach to the job and will discuss the position's responsibilities. The employer might share details about upcoming tasks and projects and ask for your input, both as a way to see how well you think on your feet and to assess if you have the style and approach the company is looking for. You might also be asked to participate in preemployment testing.

Ask Questions

    A second interview is a chance for you to ask questions about the job. Inquire about what your responsibilities will be, what immediate tasks and projects you will be asked to undertake and what expectations are for the first several months on the job. Also, ask about who will supervise you and how your performance will be evaluated. If you’ll be supervising others, inquire about the parameters of your management responsibilities and what expectations are of you in a supervisory capacity.

Meet Colleagues

    A second interview often provides an opportunity to meet with others in the company, including executives and potential colleagues. This is a time to ask questions, get a sense of the personalities of others in the office and determine if your work philosophy and style is a good mesh with existing staffers. You might be subjected to another round of interview questions in which people from other divisions ask you questions about your education and background. Even if you already covered these topics with your initial interviewer, respond to them completely.

Discuss Salary

    The second interview typically involves a discussion of compensation, including salary, benefits and vacation time. Let the employer be the first to broach the subject. Know in advance what the position should pay by consulting the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, which details national salary ranges for different jobs. Decide what you are willing to accept, and factor in the value of perks and bonuses. If you are asked what salary you expect, respond by asking what the previous person made, or reference your salary research. Always aim for the higher range of the average pay scale to give yourself room for negotiation. Even if you think the offer is fair and you want to accept the job, ask for the offer in writing and request a few days to think it over before you make a decision.

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