Temple in Vogue: How to Nail Your Second And Third Round Interviews

4 February 2020. Temple was delighted to provide Vogue.com.au’s Lucie Clark with some general tips on preparing for second and third round job interviews. Check out the full story here.

Job interviews are tough. No matter if it’s your first, second, or third, there’s always a question that you haven’t anticipated or prepared for and that will, inevitably, have you thinking of it even months after the interview, trying to come up with a better response than you did at the time.

But, if you have made it past the first interview round and have been invited back for a second or even third interview, there are, according to the associate director at Temple Executive Search, Lou Ingram, key tips to confidently sail through those subsequent interviews and, hopefully, land your dream role.

Read on for Ingram’s expert advice on how to nail second and third round job interviews, including how to prepare, what to expect and what to wear.

What are your key tips for second and/or third round interviews?

Ingram: “Congratulations [on] getting to the next interview. You’ve passed all the basics. The employer has culled the list to just a few candidates and you are now one of them. It means they like you and think you ‘might’ be a good fit. But they are not sure, so they want to see you and a few others for another round. This is where it gets harder for you as a candidate. You will need to build and expand on your skills and desire for the role, while at the same time be flexible and nimble in your approach to the interviews.”

“When you are told you are getting another interview the most important thing to do is to ask a few questions that will help you better prepare. Will any of the people from the first interview be present at the second? (If the same people are present you need different examples.) If there will be new people, who will they be and what is their role? Will the interview style be the same? Will it be a formal panel session or a coffee conversation?”

“… Employers will want to confirm your skills and capabilities, so expect more ‘tell me about a time when you did…’ style of questions. You would be surprised, but in second interviews people can often meander through examples because they think they have nailed it the first time. Take the time to write down your examples in dot points before the interview so you have them ready as little ‘stories’ that show your capabilities as well as the results you have achieved. Think about being able to describe your answers in the S.T.A.R format: situation; task; action; results.”

“…Importantly, in second and third interviews employers will be looking [for] a ‘how’ you do things as they are looking at how you will fit into their culture. Expect to be asked about ‘how’ you have dealt with a difficult stakeholder or ‘how’ you had to decide what to prioritise or ‘how’ you dealt with something that went wrong. They will be looking for judgement, calmness under pressure, thoughtfulness, diplomacy, teamwork and resilience.”

What are the major do’s and dont’s for those later round interviews? For example, should you answer the questions in the same way, and should you wear the same outfit?

Dress for success but also with respect. Every role is different, and you should dress appropriately for the role and organisation. Remember it is about showing respect for the potential employer and their organisation by taking the time to dress well and appropriately. Plus, you may also have gotten some additional dress cues from your first interview. Adapt to the nature of the role. If it is at the head office of a bank then suited, booted and branded is the way to go. If you are applying for a role at an advertising agency, show a little creativity. However, don’t dress to distract. You want your interviewers to remember what you say and what you can do much more than anything else.”

“Build on your answer as [to] why [you] want to work [there]. You should have been asked this question in your first interview, but you will have to answer it again. So, think about what you learnt about the organisation in your first interview. What appealed to you? And add that into your answer.”

“Continue to do your research. While you should have already done some research on the company for your first interview, you need to continue to keep it up for your second and third interviews. Make sure you are completely up-to-date with the organisation by checking out any recent news stories on them. Read and review their social media platform. Also, look at what their competitors are doing. Expect to be asked for your opinion about their brand and their business.”

“Don’t diss previous employers. No one likes hearing how much you hate your current role or employer or boss in an interview. It shows you are both immature and indiscreet and it never goes down well.”

“Have some very good quality questions to ask throughout and especially at the end of the interview. This shows that you have been listening and that you are motivated and interested.”

“Be positive but not pushy. Potential employers want to see positivity and some good energy. Show them you are motivated and enthusiastic for the role but never act like you already have it in the bag.”

Any other tips for navigating and shining at those additional interviews?

“Manners matter and can be even more important in second and third interviews because you are likely to be interviewed by more senior executives. They are wanting to know if they hire you that you can properly and professionally represent the organisation. Employers will notice if you barge through doors, or don’t hold the door open, or don’t stand up to shake hands. How you treat and greet the person on reception is important. We have seen CEOs ask their receptionists and executive assistants what their impressions were of the candidates.”

“Just as the first impression you give is very important—so is how you finish any interview… Make sure you have a good closing, in your own words of course. For example, “Before I leave, I just want to reiterate I am still really interested in this role and after meeting you and hearing about the role, I would really love the opportunity to work with you and your organisation, I believe I could really add some value…” At the very end, always stand, shake hands with everyone in the interview and thank them for their time.”