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Second interviews

You are asked back for a second interview, so it’s in the bag! Or is it? Tips on how to secure the position at second interview.

If you are offered a second interview then your first interview has gone as well as possible, but don’t be complacent! It is likely that other candidates have also been invited back for a second interview and even if only two candidates are offered a second interview, you still only have a 50% chance of securing the job.

Second interviews are usually more in depth. You are likely to meet at least one of your original interviewers again plus a new interviewer. If this is the case you may have convinced the first interviewer that you are the right person for the job but now you have a new person to impress.

All of the guidance for first interviews applies – dress smartly, be relaxed but confident and do your homework. It is at the second interview that you may need to particularly emphasise your wish to work for your potential employer. Make sure you are as familiar as possible with the firm. Show a commercial awareness – whether you are being interviewed for a commercial post or a private client role, law firms are in business and a commercial attitude to billings, marketing and client care will impress.

Is there anything else you can bring to the table? Review your CV. Are there areas which were not covered in your first interview? Don’t rehash your qualifications as your interviewer is presumably happy in that respect but rather focus on your experience and expertise. What can value can you add to the role? Do you have a client following? Are you experienced in client presentations? Are you a strong in marketing or a good rainmaker?

In most positions beyond a trainee solicitor post or a newly qualified role, an employer will want to gain the impression that you can fit fairly smoothly into the job. You will need to demonstrate that you are a good team player and can “hit the ground running”. Opportunities to progress your career are worthy of discussion but don’t give the impression that you will need additional experience or training to be able to undertake the role on offer.

Follow up

At the end of the interview it is reasonable to ask when you might expect to receive a response as to whether you have been successful. Third interviews are not unknown particularly for senior roles. Maintain your enthusiasm throughout the interview process. It may take time but should be worth it for a successful outcome. Do not express impatience if a final decision takes some time. A friendly but professional email or letter (depending on what has been the usual form of communication throughout the interview process) confirming your continued interest in the role and thanking the interviewer for their time is usually prudent.

Finally a note re referees – if your potential employer plans to offer you the position and they haven’t previously taken up your references, ensure that you have not only chosen your referees well but also, where possible, you have spoken to your referees to make them aware that they may be approached, by whom and with some succinct detail re the position you have applied for. You don’t want poor references to let you down at the last hurdle!

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