Strategies for Additional Interviews
When filling professional career positions, few companies make a job offer after only one interview. Usually the purpose of the first interview is to narrow the field to a small number of promising candidates. During the first meeting, therefore, the ideal strategy is to stand out from a large field of competitors in a positive way. The best way to do this is to emphasize subtly one or two of your key strengths as much as possible throughout the interview.
During later interviews, the competition for the position will drop off, and employers will look not for strengths but for weaknesses. At this point, focus on presenting yourself as a well-balanced choice for the position. Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions, so you can determine her underlying concerns and try to dispel them. On the other hand, if later interviews are primarily with people who are in a position to veto your hiring but not to push it forward, focus primarily on building rapport, as opposed to reiterating and developing your key strengths.
Usually you can count on attending at least two interviews for most professional positions, or three for high-level positions. Some firms are famous for conducting a minimum of six interviews for all professional positions. Though you should be more relaxed as you return for subsequent interviews, the pressure will still be on. The more prepared you are, the better.
Another way in which second interviews differ from first interviews is that the questions become much more specific and technical. The company must now test the depth of your knowledge of the field, including how well you're able to apply your education and work experience to the job at hand. At this stage, the interviewer isn't a recruiter. You may have one or more interviewers, each of whom has a job related to the one you're applying for. Typically, these interviewers will represent your potential boss, professional peer group, or executives who oversee the work group.
The second round of interviews can last one to two days, during which you might meet with as few as two or three people or as many as fifteen or more over the course of the visit. These interviews typically last longer than initial interviews. For many executive positions, you may also have meetings around breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
In all cases, remember — you're still in an interview. You may be having a dinner conversation about a recent topic of concern to the industry as a whole. Be ready with opinions and equally ready to listen and ask good questions. You may be asked to demonstrate how you'd go about performing some aspect of the job. Be ready in case you're presented with a tough problem and are asked to tackle it as though you'd already started your first day on the job. Use what you said in the screening interview as an outline (it's gotten you this far!), but be prepared to build on this outline in meaningful ways with more developed details, examples, and ideas.