by: Liz Ryan-FORBES

Dear Liz,

I’m in my first “career” job. I got hired through the career placement center at my college.

It has been a great job for two years, but now I’m supposed to be transferred to a new location. They are moving people around and I have less seniority than almost everyone I work with.

I have my choice of three office locations, but none of the three choices has any appeal for me. I don’t want to move, and I especially don’t want to move to the three cities they offered me.

My friends who have job-hunted locally have all gotten hired so I’m job-hunting in this area, too.

I’ve had pretty good success with my Pain Letters.

I’ve gone on three job interviews so far.

Of my three interviews, one of them went really well, one was okay and the third one was a waste of time.

In that case I got to the facility, waited an hour and then learned that they scheduled me on the wrong day. I went home. I haven’t heard from them since.

My best interview so far was the first one. The job is a Sales Analyst for a growing financial services firm.

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The people there are smart, nice and energetic, and the company has a great reputation. They invited me to a second interview, two weeks from now. I’m excited.

I haven’t experienced a real second interview yet. The hiring process for my current job was very quick and informal.

I don’t know how to approach a second interview. What’s different about it? How should I prepare for the interview, and what should I expect?

Thanks Liz!


Dear Benjamin,

Typically a second interview is a conversation between you and a company decision-maker.

If you haven’t met your hiring manager yet — the person who will be your boss if you take the job — then he or she is almost certainly the person you’ll interview with.

If you’ve already met your hiring manager, then you’re likely to interview with his or her manager.

I’m sure you were well-dressed and well-prepared for your first interview. I’m sure you arrived on time, loaded with ideas and questions and ready to rock the conversation!

You made it through the first screen. Presumably, some of the candidates who also interviewed for the Sales Analyst job didn’t get invited back.

Obviously this organization feels you are a serious contender for the Sales Analyst role.

You’ve already conveyed the message “I am awake and aware, I know something about your company and I have talents and experiences that I believe could help you.”

You would not have been invited to a second interview if that message hadn’t gotten through.

Now you have a different message to communicate. Your new message is “As I think about your Sales Analyst role and think about myself in the job, here’s how I see the landscape. Here’s how I could envision approaching the role.”

You’ll ask “Am I in the ballpark on my observations?” You’ll ask questions about the job, the company’s goals and how this job supports the goals.

Typically, a second interview takes place at a higher level of altitude than a first interview does.

You’ve had time since your first interview to think about the company and the role. You’ve had time to mentally put yourself into the job and make educated guesses about where the pitfalls and challenges might be. You’ve had a chance to think about how you would perform the job.

Now is your chance to talk shop!

Be ready to talk about compensation if you haven’t covered that topic already.

Now that you are investing your time in a second interview, be sure to ask your interviewer what happens next. Ask them “What do you see as the next step? Is there anything you need from me?”

When you get home from the interview, write down everything you can remember. Talk to a close friend about the interview.

Capture every impression and “Aha!” from the interview — including the topics you talked about, your feelings and thoughts during and after the interview and your overall impressions of the job, the people and especially your possible future boss.

Your hiring manager is the most important person in the mix. Your enjoyment of the job — and your success in it — depend mightily on him or her, and the energy between you!

Remember that the financial services company is interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them.

You deserve to work among people who get you — because nobody else deserves you!

All the best,


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