Career Advice Apr 05 2012

Making the Best Second Impression: Live Chat

You've made the cut and are moving on to round two. That means your hard work, preparation, and internship experiences--plus your performance in the first interview--have set you apart from at least some of the competition. In most cases, second-round interviews will be more intense and involve more people than a first-round interview. That means more preparation, and more research.

Join the Live Chat at 12:30 today with Jennifer Merritt.

Once you get a schedule for your second round of interviews, if it's not clear who each person is in relation to the job you're vying for (i.e., Will he be your boss? Your bosses' boss? Your colleague?), ask the person who arranged the schedule. Knowing who, say, the direct supervisor is versus the higher up but indirectly involved executive can help you sort out whom you need to connect with most (while you do want to impress the higher-up, it's more important to form a bond with the person you'd report to day-to-day in the job).

Once you have a sense of who's who, find out about all the people you'll be meeting with. Corporate bios on the company website are one place to start. LinkedIn is another good source. Your goal should be to get a sense for each person's accomplishments, background, and, again, any commonalities you might have. Knowing that you grew up in the same town as your prospective boss or had a successful internship at the same company where he got his start can make for good small talk and help create a comfort level in conversation. Sharing a college alma mater is an even stronger bond—and you probably won't be the first to bring up that connection.

The key to acing a second-round interview is knowing what, exactly, the company is looking for. Second-round interviews are typically used to assess how ready you are to contribute to the firm. The interview questions are likely to be more technical and dig deeper into both your actual knowledge and your critical-thinking skills than the first-round interview, which may be more about getting to know you. Interviewers will be looking for how comfortable you are when you don't know the answer to a question, and judging your ability to learn the ways of the firm. They'll also be looking for clues as to how well you'll fit into the office culture and norms. And, almost like an umbrella over these things, they'll be looking for a big intangible: your potential to develop and move up at the company.

One final note: if you've made it this far, you also want to use the second- round interview as an opportunity to make sure this company, and the position you're seeking, will be a good fit with your professional goals. Remember, this could be the company where you get your real professional start and you're evaluating the firm just as its executives and hiring managers are evaluating you.

Reprinted from the book The Wall Street Journal Guide to Building Your Career. Copyright © 2012 by Jennifer Merritt. Published by Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc.



Play the new finance career game from FINS!

Financial Dream Jobs - Sign Or Decline
You just got an offer for your dream job,
BUT...
There are recent incidents of violence at work.
SIGN DECLINE


 
  • Copyright ©2014 Dice Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Log in 
FINS Login
 
*Indicates required field
 
User Name*
Password*
     Forgot Your Password?
Or log in using your Facebook account:
Connect with Facebook