Other Types of Interviews
Informational interviews, an important part of a thorough career decision making process, are rather unlike traditional employment interviews. Their purpose is to explore a particular field or organization and learn from a practitioner the "ins and outs" of that field. Rather than being asked questions, you are the questioner, gathering information which will help you evaluate your interest in and suitability for a particular opportunity. An informational interview is a fine place to raise doubts you might have, explore the compatibility of your work values with those expressed in the field or ask for advice. An individual whom you interview for information can critique your resume and give you candid feedback in a non-threatening situation. For more information please see our section on Networking.
The Second Interview
Your second interview will usually take place in one of the organization's branch offices or even its headquarters. It should be an excellent opportunity to learn about the employer "up close and personal"--a chance to observe the working environment in action and decide if it's right for you. Second interviews are normally much more involved than your on-campus experience. Expect to spend a full day meeting with many people. Read on for suggestions about making your second interview successful.
- Making Arrangements
- Reply promptly to all invitations for second interviews.
- Let the employer make your travel and lodging arrangements (if necessary).
- Try to arrive the night before if the interview begins early.
- Keep all receipts and records of expenses for reimbursement purposes.
- Be aware though, that government agencies, social service organizations, and schools tend to reimburse only one way, or not at all.
- Find out exactly where you should be to begin your day.
- Ask all the questions you need to about transportation from the airport, parking, if necessary, and with whom you shall first meet.
- Re-think your first interview in terms of answers that could have been improved.
- Be completely familiar with the organization's recruiting literature and try to find other articles, materials before you go. Learn more about the field in general and picture yourself working effectively in it.
- Read current issues of newspapers, magazines and professional journals to be aware of the latest events in the field. Mentally prepare the questions you will ask and get a good night's sleep.
- Be impeccably groomed.
- It may also be helpful to take along extra copies of your resume and samples of your work, if appropriate.
- You may want to take along a granola bar or snack in case you get shut out of lunch.
- Consider asking your original interviewer for feedback.They have recommended you for a second interview and have a vested interest in your success. Often, they will be very willing to give feedback and suggestions for improving your interview.
- The Second Interview Itself
Usually you will report to the department in which you will work or, sometimes, human resources. You may or may not meet with the campus recruiter or person with whom you previously spoke. You should receive an outline of the day's activities right away. Often you will be given a tour. Observe carefully. Do people look happy, busy, stressed, angry, etc? Be respectful and friendly to secretaries and support staff. Often they are asked for their opinion of candidates and can also give you good information. You will be meeting with anywhere from four to eight people, including the person who will be your direct supervisor. Lunch is also a time of interviewing. Relax but remain on your best behavior (especially if lunch is with a recent Wesleyan graduate). Don't drink alcoholic beverages! At the end of the day you will meet with someone who will ask for your impressions. You can expect some feedback on your progress to that point and should learn when you will hear from the organization again.
Second Interview Do's And Don'ts
- Be confident. Unlike the first interview, you have less competition this time and the assurance that the organization is interested in you.
- Be enthusiastic about the firm, its products or services, and your role in advancing the organization’s future.
- Be prepared to answer more specific questions about your experience, ideas, and the field in which you will be employed.
- Write a thank you note to everyone with whom you had a useful conversation. (It is also appropriate to write one note to the person who was in charge of your day and ask that person to thank the others.)
- Don't take the lead in salary discussions unless it is the end of the day and no one has mentioned money.
- Don't accept a job offer right away. No matter how appealing, you should ponder it alone for a bit. This is doubly true if you have other possibilities. Ask how long you have to consider the offer.
- Don't go on a second interview "for practice." Only go if you are sincerely interested in working for the organization.
Behavioral or Targeted Interviews
Many organizations utilize questions that focus on past behavior, believing that past behavior predicts future behavior and that past behavior will be repeated. The examples you use, however, need not come from experiences which are identical to the position for which you are interviewing; rather, the interviewer is assessing transferable skills. For example, an interviewer can evaluate the sales ability of someone who has never held a sales job by asking questions about situations in which the individual had to persuade others, sell ideas to peers or colleagues, or influence a group.
When asking behavioral interview questions, without prompting, the interviewer expects the person being interviewed to talk about a real example. One way to answer is to remember STAR- describe a situation or task, the specific action taken, and the result- practice concise answers using STAR as your guide.
Employment interviews in fields in which your personality is a major qualification tend to be less structured than other interviews. For example, in fields such as mental health and social services, the interviewer will be interested in your ability to relate to others and in your warmth and empathy. Questions will likely focus on your values, motivation and general attitude toward life. Interviewers for jobs in social change or community organizing will be interested in your political awareness and commitments, as well as your interest in people. In any case, take your cues from your interviewer and respond to questions in a manner you judge to be appropriate.
Case Study Interviews
Case study questions are usually asked during interviews for management consulting and finance positions to assess how logically and creatively you think, how you handle pressure, how you break down problems, and how resourceful your solutions can be. The interviewer is also assessing your business acumen and basic math skills. For a detailed analysis of case study questions, please see "The Insider’s Guide to Management Consulting", available in the Career Center library.