06 Feb 2018
First round interviews often check personality fit and basic abilities, whereas second rounds often dive deeper and test your candidates’ competencies and technical abilities. This is where the competition increases and being well prepared is crucial. Here are a number of ways to check your candidate is as prepared as possible for the next round…
Double check the basics! Make sure the location hasn’t changed, is the dress code the same, has the candidate blocked out enough time ahead of the interview?
Who will be present in the next round, the hiring manager may want the candidate to meet members of the team, the CEO or perhaps a future mentor. This is really important, the candidate needs to be prepared accordingly, they may have questions they’d ask a future mentor but not the team or vice versa. Get the candidate to research the interviewers background, there may be some sort of common ground to help establish rapport.
They also need to be prepared for the number of interviewers. Are they being interviewed by a panel of interviewers, if so, they need to know, and if they are expecting a panel and are interviewed by one person they may feel underwhelmed or not wanted.
Do you have practice questions for your candidates? it is impossible to know exactly what will be asked in the interview, but you should get an idea from the hiring manager or past processes as to what type of questions will be asked.
Some general practice questions are really helpful. If it is a competency-based interview some practice competency questions but should give your candidate the basis to help them think on their feet.
Going through practice questions with your candidate is a good way to bring out the qualities that may not be stated on the cv, that may have been missed when you were screening the candidate and will also give the candidate confidence going into the next round.
When you are taking first round feedback from the hiring manager make sure you get as much information as possible. Is the hiring manager giving you detailed feedback? Is there anything they could improve on? What was particularly good? All of these insights help prepare for the second round.
There shouldn’t be any gaping holes in their performance as they passed, but there may be something that is tolerable in the first round but not in the second. Check.
So the candidate should now be completely prepared for questioning but have they got any questions for the hiring manager? It’s likely you’ll have more opportunity during the second interview to ask questions. Ask about the team, company strategy and the expectations around your role. If you don’t receive an offer immediately, ask about when decisions will be made and how they will let you know.
Ask the candidate to come up with at least 5 questions for the end of the interview, they may get covered but doing this will highlight to you, the hiring manager and your candidate what is most important to them.
Manage candidate expectations
Preparing your candidates for the first round interview is essential and will give them a much better success rate. Make sure your candidate knows they’re not there yet so make sure they stay on “selling mode” they need to continue to showcase their strengths and back up everything they say with an example. Hitting or overachieving targets, and any statistical examples of how they’ve worked individually or as part of a team are a great way of showing they can make a real difference to a company.
Stay positive and wish them good luck!