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The Second (or Third or Fourth) Interview

If you do well in your initial interview and the company is interested in you, they may need some additional information. This is sometimes accomplished in a second interview, which may be presented in several ways, or through testing to demonstrate your abilities.

In a large company, a panel of three to five people often conducts the second interview. These individuals are often at a higher level in the organization than the person in the initial interview. They may be people who work at your level or different members of the Human Resources team. When they call you to arrange your second interview, be sure to ask who is on the panel so you can prepare accordingly. Second interviews are often structured around behavioural interview questions. Normally, they won’t be the same questions they asked you in the first interview.

Some managers like to structure second interviews in a different way. This may be a chance for you to have lunch with your potential manager or coffee with potential teammates.

A Few Guidelines for Eating While Interviewing

If you attend a lunch interview, your host should pay, but this might get awkward. Make sure you have money to pay for your lunch if you need to.

Use your best table manners. Place your napkin on your lap. Know which cutlery to use, and put it down between bites. If you are not sure what to do, ask a friend or family member, or look it up online. Eating with a potential boss is an opportunity to display yourself, so show your best behaviour. Chew with a closed mouth. Don’t speak with food in your mouth and use your napkin frequently.

Your host should provide you with an indication of a price limit. (“Please order anything you like under $15. That way I can claim it on my expenses.” Or, “Everything here is good, and this meal is my treat, so have whatever you like.”) If your host doesn’t let you know the budget for the meal, politely ask or choose a meal similar in price to the one he or she selects. Remember that this meal (your interview) is about the employer, not you. You do not have to order the most expensive item on the menu.

Avoid sloppy food like a huge hamburger. Stick to dishes that are simple and manageable. You don’t want to feel self-conscious because you are trying not to stain your good shirt or because you cannot squish the bun of a giant sandwich enough to get it into your mouth.

Ask questions that demonstrate an interest in the company or position. You will have had some time to think about topics, and your questions will help keep the conversation moving throughout the meeting.

Pre-Employment Testing

It is increasingly common for job-seekers to submit to pre-employment testing as a part of the hiring process. From an employer’s point of view, it assures them a candidate has both the basic skills for a job and the additional skills they report on their resume. You can look at testing as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities, as well as your honesty in your resume.

Examples of pre-employment testing include:

  • Physical tests for jobs that have heavy physical demands, such as police, military, or construction
  • Psychological testing for very stressful work, such as air traffic control.
  • Keyboard and software tests for administrative jobs.
  • Editing tests for people who will edit detailed technical manuals.
  • Practical demonstrations (auditions) for musicians, singers, trainers, and facilitators.
  • Driving tests (for commercial drivers).
  • Some safety-sensitive jobs will also require testing during employment such as personality testing

To make testing easier, you should:

  • Review your resume and portfolio before testing
  • Complete practice tests in your area of skill
  • Meet with a coach or mentor
  • Exercise

Being Told “No, Thanks”

Once you’ve made it through the interview process, it’s time for the offer. If you are a confident individual, you can ask for the job at the end of the interview. You can say something like, “I would like to work with you. Am I your candidate?”

A large number of successful offers can come from that kind of confidence.

Often, an employer will tell you that they’ll get back to you with a decision within a couple of days. You can then ask, “If I don’t hear from you by Tuesday, may I have the number for whomever I should call to follow up?” Make sure you call on the appointed day, so you do not miss an opportunity. Sales managers have been known to offer a job only to candidates who actually follow up like they said they would.

Following up on your interview is important. It demonstrates your commitment, and if you are not successful in getting the job, it provides you with helpful information. If they call to say, “No, thanks,” ask them, “Why not?” in a tactful way. Often, an employer will answer this question, but only if you ask. You can phrase the question like this:

  • “Can you tell me what made the candidate you selected stand out?”
  • “Can you tell me what I can do to improve my chances of being selected next time?”

Write down the answer that the employer offers. If your emotions are close to the surface when you get the news, you may not remember what they said. If you write down their comments, you can refer to them when you are ready to digest the information. Perhaps the person that got the job has more years in the industry or performed better in testing. In psychological testing for the military or police work, sometimes issues arise that a candidate must address through counselling. After dealing with their issue, they may re-apply and get hired. Always ask for feedback if possible.