So you’ve dazzled the hiring manager at your first interview and you’ve been called back in for a second. Congratulations, you’re one step closer to the job of your dreams!
But the second interview is often more than just an interview. Depending on the industry, you might be asked to give a presentation or pass a test in order to make it to the next round – or even a combination of these things.
It sounds intimidating, but fear not because we’ve got you covered. Here are all the possible things you might encounter on a second interview and how to ace them.
1. The standard Q+A
If your first interview was on the phone with a hiring manager, this time around you’re likely to be invited into the office and maybe meet your potential boss or team members face to face. Or maybe your first interview was the assessment, and now you’re going to get to know your boss one-on-one.
Either way, expect more complicated and specific questions, and come prepared with more in-depth knowledge of the company. Use different examples of your successes than you used in the first interview, and know that they might throw in a few random questions to see how you think on your feet. And remember, bring a list of questions to ask them, too!
2. Writing tests
For any journalism, content writing or publishing job, you will probably be asked to either write a short piece, edit something – or both. They might be testing your creativity, ability to think quickly or your news judgment.
Prepare by studying up on the current news cycle and brainstorming story ideas tailored to that specific publication. Some things they’ll be testing (like creativity) are impossible to revise for, but reading widely and knowing the publication front to back will help you if you’re put on the spot.
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3. Maths tests
Tons of industries from nursing to banking require numeracy tests for their prospective employees to see how well they recognise patterns or how they interpret data. Start revising now by brushing up on GCSE-level stuff like ratios, probability, percentages, graphs and statistics. Unless you’re going into a very maths-heavy field (in which case you’re probably already doing it on a daily basis), you likely won’t need advanced algebra or anything more complicated.
4. Team exercises
These seemingly easy assessments are common in highly corporate environments like finance or law, or high intake industries like retail. They test your communication and problem-solving skills, and (of course) your ability to work in a team. You might be given a case study to solve, a topic to discuss or a leadership task. The key here is balance: speak up and contribute, but try not to dominate the rest of the group.
Lots of industries like sales, marketing, public relations, media and teaching could require you to give a presentation, which can be one of the more stressful tests. The best way to deal with it is to just embrace it and be prepared with a well-researched, well-structured presentation. Find out everything you can about their expectations beforehand – what topics should you talk about, what technology will be available, how much time you’ll have, who you’re presenting to and what their level of expertise is. Then create some stunning visual aids, and practise like crazy so you ace it on the big day.
6. Psychometric and personality tests
Sometimes employers will give you a psychometric test or other type of personality test, such as the Myers Briggs. These kinds of tests give your interviewer a behavioural profile of you – basically, they check if you’re the type of person they’re looking for.
When it comes to these assessments, however, there’s not much you can do by way of preparation. You can do practise tests online to get an idea of what you’re in for, but just know that there are no wrong answers! They test the way you think rather than specific skills you may have, so if they’re looking for something different to what you offer, they probably wouldn’t have made you happy anyway.
7. Trial periods
If you’re offered a trial period, it means that you’re oh so close to landing that job, but don’t be fooled – it’s still a test. They’re used often in media jobs, hospitality, fashion, nannying or law (known as “vacation schemes”). Treat it like an internship and do your very best to impress your boss and bond with the team. Before you start, make sure you’re clear about what they’re looking for, the end date, how you’ll be evaluated, any pay or benefits, and what the next steps of the process are.