Your candidate has made it through to the second round of interviews and their prospects of success are looking good, but this is certainly no time to sit back and assume they’ve got the job in the bag.
Sometimes recruiters prep their candidates for the first round but fail to do so for the second round, leaving their candidates fighting for a spot in a pool of similarly-qualified candidates—at precisely the moment they need to stand out!
Another common problem is that the candidate might assume that as they did well in the first interview they won’t need to change anything or study up any more for the next stage. Many candidates mistakenly view the second interview more as a confirmation or a chance to meet some more of the team, rather than what it often is: a very different interview altogether, in a different style, with different faces, against a fierce level of competition.
If you want this placement to succeed and boost your billing numbers, you need to make a solid effort to prepare your candidate thoroughly for the second interview.
1. Ground your candidate’s expectations.
After congratulating them for their success in the first interview, explain to them that the second interview may be different from the first and that they will need to prepare themselves just as thoroughly as they did for the first round, if not more.
Hiring managers will expect candidates in second round to have thoroughly backgrounded themselves on the company, and have new things to say than in their first interview. (Parroting the same things as they said last time is unlikely to make a positive impression.) Also prepare the candidate for the real possibility that there will be one or even several more rounds before a candidate is chosen.
2. Find out from the hiring manager as much about the upcoming interview as you are.
The style of interview, the people who will be present, and how many candidates are in contention are the basic information you’ll need to start with, while it would be helpful if the hiring manager would give an idea whether this is a ‘confirmation’ style second interview or an attempt to whittle down a good candidate pool, and how many more interview rounds are expected.
3. Use your relationship (or form one) with the hiring manager.
To find out how your candidate truly performed last time, and whether there were any weak spots to be improved. Then ask your candidate where they thought they could have done better. Obviously your candidate did fairly well or they wouldn’t be in the second round, but whether they came through with flying colours or just scraped through as a wild card is immensely important in how you’ll prep your candidate.
Any nerves or weak points can be worked on together before the interview, so that your candidate feels confident and utterly prepared.
4. Make sure your candidate has the details.
They know the location, time and dress code of the interview well ahead of time and have planned their route carefully to ensure all goes off without a hitch. Get them to photograph their chosen interview outfit and send it through if they’re at all unsure about the dress code.
They also know the names of the hiring managers and interviewers if they’ve been provided, and their knowledge of the company is as thorough as could be expected for a candidate.
5. Go through some practice questions with them that go past the resume-basics.
Try to bring out the deeper and less-obvious qualities that make this candidate a stand-out choice for the role, as if they’re competing in a tight field it is just as likely to come down to personality as experience.
6. Test them on how they think they can be of real value to the business.
Particularly in regards to challenges the company might face. This is a question where some over-confident candidates trip up, as they think this is an invitation to discuss something indelicate like a company’s financial issues, or a very public PR failure, in light of how they would manage it.
Of course, this will almost certainly be considered a major overstep by the hiring manager, so a recruiter needs to know how their candidate will address this question.
Second interviews might just be a ‘rubber-stamp’ in some cases, but companies are increasingly doing multiple interview rounds to ensure the candidate they choose is the very best fit. As a star recruiter, you need to be sure that every single candidate who is presented under your name is well prepared for what might be ahead.
Such a diligent preparation process significantly raises the chances of a successful placement, while your candidate will no doubt be impressed by the personalised service and you will retain this talent in your pipeline long into the future.
Until next time,