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How to Rock a Second Interview

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Making it to a second-round interview indicates the employer liked what he saw during your initial meeting. That doesn’t mean you’ve sealed the deal, however. You need to make an even greater effort to distinguish yourself from other applicants and reinforce the strong impression you made during your first interview.

Hone Your Social Skills

During your first meeting you likely met one-on-one with a single interviewer. For second interviews, employers often ask you to meet with a panel consisting of hiring managers, supervisors and potential coworkers. Employers want to see if you’re a good fit for the team, so it’s crucial that you establish rapport with each panelist. Interviewers also judge your people and social skills by conducting follow-up interviews over breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even if the interviewer doesn’t mention this, brush up on your dining etiquette in case he invites you to the company cafeteria or asks you to join him and a few other employees for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Elaborate on the First Interview

Review your notes from your initial meeting with the employer to determine what information he responded well to and any concerns he had. If he expressed enthusiasm regarding your leadership skills, offer several more examples illustrating your ability to take charge of a situation and motivate your coworkers to contribute their best efforts. If he had reservations about your limited experience in the industry, make a strong case for how the skills you used at previous jobs can translate to the position you’re applying for.

Offer Results

Help employers envision you in the role by offering a plan for your first 30 to 60 days at the company. Discuss what steps you’ll take to adjust to your new role and learn the ropes. Also, describe what projects you’d tackle first or what changes and improvements you’d make. Research the company to determine its current obstacles and identify upcoming changes. In your plan, suggest solutions to these challenges and outline step-by-by how you’d address particular issues. Back up your points by describing contributions you made at previous jobs using the same principles.

Prepare to Negotiate

If the interviewer plans to hire someone after this round, he might want to discuss salary, benefits and other details. Determine what you’re willing to accept by researching the typical salary for the type of position you’re interviewing for. Consider contributing factors such as the size of the company, the cost of living in your area and your level of experience. Take the same approach with perks such as health insurance, retirement plans and vacation time. Decide how you’ll respond if the interviewer offers less than you had in mind and set a limit for how low you’ll go.