The strategy for follow-up interviews is not a lot different from the strategy used in the initial interviews. To a certain extent, you’re going to do exactly what you did in the initial interview – with a couple of added steps that give you the advantage. The process is very simple, but most people don’t think to do it.
When you get the call asking you to return for a second interview, you need to ask a number of questions that are very important to the success of your subsequent interviews. If you get a call from someone other than the person with whom you initially interviewed, you must call back and talk to that original interviewer.
But first, retrieve your notes from the initial interview, review them so you can ask any clarification questions, and then ask the following questions:
- “Mr./Ms. _____________, I’m excited about coming back to speak with you again about the position at your company. Can you please share with me what the rest of the process will be? (Even if you were told what the process would be in the initial interview, you want to take notes to get an exact and detailed idea of what all the next steps might be.)
- “Please tell me, what is Mr./Ms. _______________ (the next person with whom you will be meeting) like as a person?
- “What is his or her role in the interview process?”
- “What does this person look for in a candidate?”
- “Based on what you know about me, am I going to be strong or weak in the eyes of Mr./Ms. _______?”
- “If you were me, what are the things from our initial interview that I need to emphasize in my interview with Mr./Ms.?”
- “Is there anything in my experience or background that I should emphasize or elaborate about to Mr./Ms. _________?”
- “How many candidates are moving forward in the interview process?”
- “Mr./Ms. ___________, in the next interview, I am going to present myself to Mr./Ms. _____________, in the same way I presented myself to you. Can you give me any pointers on how I might be able to present myself better as a candidate?” (This is a very important question because it will give you insight into the next interview authority.)
- “If you were the person to rank the candidates that Mr./Ms. ____________ is going to interview, how would you rank me?” (most interviewing or hiring authorities don’t have the courage or guts to tell you exactly how you rank. So, they’re going to say something like, “We are calling back three or four candidates and you are one of them.”)
- (If the interviewing authority actually tells you exactly how you rank with the other candidates and you’re not ranked No. 1) “Then please tell the, Mr./Ms. _____________, what do I need to do in order to become your number one candidate?”
- (If you were told that you were the No. 1 candidate) “That is great to hear, Mr./Ms. __________, what, it in your opinion do I need to do to continue to be the No. 1 candidate?”
- (If you were told that you are one of a number of candidates being considered) “Mr./Ms. _______________, what in your opinion makes me a unique candidate and what do I need to do, in your opinion, to get the job?”
- Mr./Ms. ____________, do I have your support in getting this job?
- “If it were totally up to you, Mr./Ms. _________, would you hire me for this position?”
- (If the answer is yes…) “Great, what do you think I need to do to get the next interviewing authority to feel the same way?”
- (If the answer is no) “What are your concerns?”
- (If the answer is “maybe, depending upon what the other people think “) “What are my strengths and weaknesses that you think I should emphasize or shore up with the next interviewing authority?”
- “If all goes well with the next interviewing authority, are you going to recommend that your company hire me?”
The reason that you want to ask all of these questions is that it does absolutely no good to get to the second, third, or four stages of the interviewing without knowing exactly how you stand or what you need to do to get the job. By asking these questions, you get the initial interviewing or hiring authority on your side of the fence. Notice that I recommend asking the person to support you as a candidate in two or three different ways. You are asking the person to support you and you want them helping you as much as they possibly can.
As you are promoted to the next interview level, ask each of those interviewers those same questions. Many people get to the second interview and relax their intensity, alter their presentation, and basically quit selling thinking it’s a done deal.
Keep in mind that if an interviewing authority promotes you to the next stage of the process, by that action he or she is stating that you are potentially a viable candidate. If you ask the questions that I’ve suggested, you’ll not only get their support, but you will get their input and suggestions on how you might be able to interview successfully up the ladder.