Back in undergraduate, I received some of the best job interview advice from my close friend. He said, “It’s not that different from going on a first date.” Truly not seeing the resemblance, I initially disregarded the advice. A month full of interviews later, his words started to seem pretty spot on. On those first few dates, you’re essentially showcasing that you’re an A1 human being while also gauging if the person across the table is a good match.
Now let’s talk about that second date. If you made it through round one, you’ve already done well for yourself. Now you want to know how round two went. Here’s what you should know by the end of it.
Let’s start off by acknowledging that the interviewer thinks you’re a qualified candidate. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have invited you back. First round interviews are screenings to see if you are qualified for the position. If you’ve made it past there, it’s unlikely your qualifications and experience are considerable obstacles anymore.
Think of it as making it to the second date. They’ve gone on the first date with you and you’ve met the basic requirements of being a live-person that can hold a conversation. Now it’s time to showcase your personality, work ethic, and why you’re a better date than the next person. But rest assured that your competency is no longer in question.
Any doubt they have about you
By the end of the second interview, you should also be able to identify your weaknesses, or at least what the interviewers see as weaknesses. If you’ve been asked the same question reworded in a few ways, it usually means the interviewer hasn’t received a satisfying answer yet. If you notice this before the end of the interview, good for you! You still have time to patch up this hole in your candidacy by crafting a gratifying response. If, on the other hand, you didn’t notice their repetitiveness until you’d left, be sure to include a small blurb in your thank you note addressing what you hadn’t earlier.
If they like you as a person
You might not know if you’re the perfect fit for the job yet, but you should have a good idea by the end of interview two if they like your personality. People are naturally curious about the lives of people with whom they resonate. If your interviewer starts asking more personal questions that aren’t on your resume or the interview runs over time, then they are probably fond of you. Just like on a date, there’s clearly a better connection between the two of you if the conversation is moving away from jobs and towards movies and music.
The company’s values and priorities
By now, you’ll also have a sense of the company’s core values. Of course, their values are no secret and are probably featured on their website to look up beforehand. However, companies will show their true colors through their interview questions. If they uphold those values, you’ll know. For example, if a company prioritized leadership, they’ll ask you to exemplify yours. If problem-solving is a priority, they’ll ask you to perform a case study.
If the work culture suits you
If you still don’t know where you stand with the company, you should at least know where it stands with you. Just like a date, interviewing for a job should be a two-way street. The company should be working just as hard to sell you the prospect of working there. So if nothing else, you should at least know if you want that job — regardless of if it wants you.
Where your desk would be
By the end of the second interview, you should know where you fit into the company. If the interviewer sees a place for you at the company, they’ll tell you where you’ll be working, what you’ll be doing, and who you’ll be working with. They’ll speak of “when” not “if” regarding your position because they subconsciously already gave you the job. Alternatively, if your interview speaks as of your involvement in uncertain terms, then you may not be in the clear yet.
Whose court the ball is in
If by the end of the interview you’re still trying to sell yourself to the company, then you haven’t secured your spot yet. The ball is still in their court, unfortunately. The company, like your date, should have to prove themselves to you as well. If they haven’t made the effort to convince you to work there, then they might not be planning to offer it.
If the interviewer mentions people they want to introduce you to, or if they actually introduce you to them, it’s a very good sign. It’s like taking your significant other home to meet your parents: you wouldn’t do it unless you really liked him or her and thought your parents would, too. In the same way, if an interviewer likes you, they’ll take you around the office to meet the family and see how they react to you.
Specific next steps
Have they mentioned another date? If the interviewer enthusiastically provides a time range on getting back to you or meeting again, then this probably isn’t the end of the road for you. If they give a vague “we’ll call you,” however, don’t be so sure you have that job —or that third date— in the bag.
The interview process is probably not as out of your element as you may think. Keep an eye out for the telltale signs of interview success, and you should have a good idea if you’re going to get that call back.
About the Author:
CulverCareers is an award-winning national recruiting agency specializing in sales and marketing. We’ve spent more than 30 years honing our craft, building our networks, and establishing a reputation as a trusted recruitment agency.