But the fact is that all that has happened is that you were not rejected based upon superficial criteria and the potential employer is not so shallow to turn you away as to reject you based upon a superficial chat with HR.
To me, the second interview does not start when you speak with the first person from the department or business unit you would work in that has been asked to evaluate and assess your experience, competence and character.
To me, your second interview begins when you have completed meeting with that person from the department or business unit and been invited back to speak with someone else. That person may be a peer to the evaluator but it is another meeting.
What are they trying to find out at the meeting?
The simple answer is, “More.” They want to get more of you– more of your knowledge, more of your personality, more trust of you. Sometimes, it almost seems like the interview repeats the first. That may more reflect failings in the interviewer, that person may not know any more than the first person about how to interview for the job.
Here are a few things you can do before the meeting:
1. Find out who you will be meeting with and what their role is
The employer may only respond with a name. Immediately go to LinkedIn and/or Google and search for the person or people by name and company name. You’ll find out their employment history, what their function is, how long they have been with the firm, publications they’ve written, speeches they’ve given, sometimes their home address and phone number (don’t call or write them). You’ll learn more about the employer and their taste in employees from knowing this.
From LinkedIn, you may also find people you know who are connected with this person and may be able to give you advice about them or put in a call and provide you with a proactive reference. What can be better than having a friend, former colleague or subordinate call up a manager and say, “I understand you are going to be interviewing Buddy Miles. He’s really good.”
“How do you know I’m interviewing him?”
“He contacted me for advice and tips about you in anticipation of meeting you.”
And if you are asked at the interview why you contacted them, you tell them about trying to be well-prepared before starting any project and doing your homework.
2. Refresh your memory about the questions they asked and what they seemed interested in.
Often doing a review will give you clues about what they were interested in particular and possible areas of concern. Once you know the areas of concern, you can adopt a strategy to ease their worries and make you the winning candidate.
A brag book is a compilation that consists of a discussion of what the company does, the department does, and why you would be a terrific fit for them.
Preparing a brad book gets you prepared and focused for your meeting.
One of the measures of the intelligence a candidate possesses is the questions they ask. Here’s one that is far better and much more sophisticated than, “Tell me about the job.”
The question is, “Let’s say you hire me and join your firm. A year has elapsed and I haven’t done just done a good job—I’ve done a great job. What would I have done or accomplished during that year that would result in you writing the most glowing review of an employee’s work that you’ve ever written.”
You do two things with this question:
a. You make them think of you as an employee performing the job
b. You find out what to aim for in the way of a great performance
Armed with all of this, you are ready to turn a second interview into a victory lap around the track.
And if you meet the department head or leader of the function, notice if at some point they seem to be doing all the talking for a while. Doing all the talking is a signal of their interest–The more they talk the more they like you.