HOW TO WOW AT 2nd INTERVIEW
|VIDEO: How to WOW at 2nd Interview||VIDEO: 5 Questions YOU should ask at every interview|
Introduction to Second Interviews
Congratulations if you've made it through to the second round of interviews. Second interviews are very different to first interviews. First interviews tend to be around personality, character and basic skills and experience. Second interviews are around facts, figures and ultimately can you do the job!
The Difference between First and Second Interviews
Congratulations if you’ve made it through to the second round of interviews. Second interviews are very different to first interviews. First interviews tend to be around personality, character and basic skills and experience. Second interviews are around facts, figures and ultimately can you do the job!
We commonly hear after first interview that it was great, really enjoyable, ‘like two strangers having a chat in the pub’ and then, after the second interview, ‘gosh, that was tough, he was a completely different person, no warmth or rapport at all’.
Is this fair? Yes totally. At the second interview stage a business has to take a conscious business decision as to whether you are the right person to meet their needs!
Should you therefore change your approach accordingly? Not at all. You were invited back after the first round because the company felt that there was a cultural match and you had the prerequisite skills to succeed. To change would make you appear a fake; a phoney.
Second interviews are commonly more formal that first stage interviews and often involve at least two representatives from the employer (and it is not unheard of to have a panel of five or six!). Second interviews may involve a formal presentation, in technical interviews a practical exercise, it may contain role-plays, it may even mean going out for a day with one of the team. Typically at the end of the meeting you will get the opportunity to meet the team that you will be working with and have a tour round the premises.
Getting the balance right in a second interview
Remember interviewing is a two stage thing. As important as it is for the company to take a business decision on you it is imperative that you alleviate any concerns that you may have to ensure that you are making the right career decision. Ten minutes of questions could save ten months of pain and a career setback! Therefore, prepare some probing questions to ensure that the business is right for you and don’t be afraid of being direct and frank in your questioning.
Know your facts in a second interview
You’ve got to know your facts. At the second stage simply being ‘above target’ isn’t enough. The detail will be grilled and you must know the detail. What is your target? What is your performance against the target? Who were the major accounts that you won? What were they worth? How did you win them? Etc, etc. For some reason many sales professionals fall apart at this stage, their facts go straight out of their mind so have them to hand.
It is useful to create a brag file. A file containing any information that will back up your claims at interviews to include things such as educational certificates, P60’s, sales league tables, testimonials from clients, references from employers, military service records, proof of membership of associations, etc, etc. Then when the detail is grilled you have the information to hand.
It is imperative that you do not contradict what you said in the first interview, or indeed that you change your style and persona from the first interview. If you’ve followed the ‘How to WOW’ series to the letter you will have taken notes at the first interview. Ensure that you read them again the night before the second meeting and it is also useful to have another read through the website and the financials.
Second interviews also give you the chance to expand upon what was discussed at the first stage. Where certain projects, plans, targets, new product development, new routes to market, etc. were discussed you’ve now had the gap between first and second to research the subject in more depth.
Do I mention money in an interview?
Money is a subject that should be discussed at second stage but rarely is. It’s just not ‘English’ to discuss something as crass as money in an interview! My recommendation is to not bring up the subject of money too early as you don’t want to come across as an individual that solely cares about money. It’s also good practise to wait until the employer is definitely interested in you before discussing money when you are then in a position of strength!
Whilst discussing basic salaries may be somewhat of a taboo it is perfectly reasonable to ask about the commission/bonus scheme at the second stage interview. If the OTE is £60K off of a basic of £35K and the bonus scheme is 5% of Gross Profit, ask to see the sales figures to corroborate that the OTE is realistic and achievable.
Negotiating the package in a second interview
Right from the first email in the ‘Career Success Masterclass’ series you should have completed the job search checklist so you’ll know your ‘bottom line’ for both basic and OTE. Know your market worth – look at sales salary surveys or search for your job on job boards to get a rough gauge. Aaron Wallis will be able to give you current advice on the ‘going rates’.
If you are attending an interview via a third party, like Aaron Wallis, it is always best to leave the negotiating to the ‘go-between’. Money is a very emotive subject and both the employer and the candidate can be unassailably offended if the negotiation is not handled correctly.
However, if you are in the second interview and the employer is looking to ‘thrash out the deal’ then always try and get the employer to quote the figures first. You are then in a better position to negotiate. If you are asked the question ‘What basic salary will you accept?’ answer either ‘what do you think an individual with my skills or experience should expect’ or alternatively, ‘I am looking for a basic salary in the range of £x (slightly above your bottom line) to £x (slightly above the maximum advertised or detailed by your recruitment consultancy)’.
Different companies remunerate their staff in different ways. Some pay high basics with no OTE and no frills. Some pay an adequate basic, minimal OTE but offer loads of additional perks. You therefore need to weigh up a total package and it is useful in negotiating terms to put a price on all of the various elements of the overall package. Remember to take into consideration additional costs such as:
- Driving to and from a base, which normally you cannot reclaim;
- Loss of pension contributions during the initial few months of your probationary period;
- If you have to relocate is this being recompensed?
- Private healthcare for the initial months of your probation period, etc.
A clever way of negotiating, if offered less than you were expecting, is to ask for an early pay review (say after three or six months) based upon achievement. Set the targets necessary from the start to achieve the package that you need, make them specific and tangible and get it in writing!
In negotiating a deal, don’t be afraid to buy some time to consider things. Say ‘thank you for the offer, I’m flattered, I will discuss it with those closest to me and revert by midday tomorrow. Is that okay with you?’
Golden rule: never lie about your previous earnings. Your employer will see the truth when they receive your P45 and if there is a radical difference it will not give your working relationship the best possible start!
Finally if you have reached an agreement confirm everything that was discussed and agreed. Confirm every detail whilst you are face to face to ensure there is no confusion on either part. Ask when you are likely to receive this confirmed in writing and when they would expect you to confirm your agreement back. Now you know where you stand!
Closing a Second Interview
You’ve got this far and put in so much effort, don’t let it slip through your hands......
- Remember to close at the end of the second interview. It’s going over the same ground as closing an interview, but ask questions about how they feel the meeting has gone, how they feel you’d fit into the team, etc. and close it down! You are a sales professional at a sales meeting. There are no excuses and you will not get a second chance.
- Close for when you’re likely to hear about whether you’ve been successful.
- Ask if there’s any more information that you can provide that can help them come to a decision.
- Reiterate your interest and keenness in the role.
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