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Second Interviews

Getting a second interview, also called an on-site interview or plant visit, is a huge step toward getting a job offer. In fact, you have roughly a 50 percent chance of being offered the job after a second interview, depending on the industry. A second interview often involves a series of meetings and can take the better part of a day. The company may want you to talk to several people about a variety of topics relating to your possible employment there.

The second interview is a crucial step in the process of potential employment for both you and the employer. While a first interview allows an employer to get a general sense of your character and fitness for the position, the second interview is the time when he will discern whether you have the specific qualities he wants for the position. The second interview is also the time when you will be judged on how well you will fit into the company's corporate culture and how well you mesh with the other employees.

You also must decide whether this is the job you want, and the second interview gives you a chance to learn more about the company and get a better sense of whether you want to work there. You should have the opportunity to view the office environment and meet other employees. You need to get a feel for how you will fit in there and whether it's the right place for you.

Second interviews are generally either structured or unstructured. In a structured interview, each person you talk to may have a specific area he needs to discuss with you, such as your computer skills or work background. In an unstructured interview, each meeting involves more general questions, and you may need to answer the same questions several times.

It's important that you come to the second interview prepared. Try to find out who you'll be speaking with throughout the day, including names and titles. Learn as much about the company beforehand as you can. Ask the person you met with during the first interview to send you any important information about the job and company. Research the company on the web or in periodicals. The more you know about the workings of the organization, the more successful your interview will be.

Come prepared with your own set of questions for the interviewers. You can ask about who will supervise you, what the company will expect of you in your first months on the job, how your performance will be assessed, what kinds of financial or organizational challenges the company faces, the specifics of your job description, and more. These questions will show that you're eager to learn about the position and you're an active participant in the interview process. Other topics that a second interview might address include salary, benefits and employment guidelines.

Be sure to follow up after the interview by sending letters to the head of human resources, your potential supervisor, and the head of the recruiting committee. Thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in and aptitude for the position. If all goes well, you may receive a phone call in just a couple of days with a job offer.

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