JUST THE JOB: How to make the third interview pay

Q: I’m in for the third interview on Tuesday next. The process has gone on for about two months. It’s a high profile position and a crucial appointment for the organisation, but, at this stage, I’m wondering what more I can offer. I’ve thrown everything at it already. (DL, email).

A: You’ve no option now but to plough on – it sounds like it could be a great position to get, so best to focus on showing why you’re the right candidate for the job, writes Mary O’Brien-Killeen, Career Coach, Slí Nua Careers.

It can be difficult to figure out how best to handle such a protracted process. There are things you need to do – and things you need to guard against. Based on my experience of working with clients going to third interviews, here are some pointers to bear in mind – not all may apply to your situation, but they will hopefully get you thinking.

1. There’s a reason why they are having a third interview. From the outside, you may not be able to discern that reason looking, but they’re not just doing it for the fun of it. Maybe the selection panels to date have chosen their preferred candidate and they want to get it okayed by the ‘big boss’. Or they could be genuinely struggling to separate the final few candidates. Or they may wish to try a new approach in the final interview to learn more about those still in the running. Whatever the reason why, you’ve got to turn up ready to sell yourself one more time.

2. Some candidates can get complacent as a process unfolds. They can feel that it’s already in the bag. It’s not in the bag until you get the phone call or email offering you the role. Stay focused. The race is not over yet.

3. Based on the two interviews you’ve done to date, is there anything new you can suggest? At this stage, they probably feel they know you well. In the third interview, it might be a good idea to bring forward some more ideas – things you will do in the role, now that you’ve got to know more about it. This will show that your knowledge and understanding has evolved during the process.

4. Do you know who will be interviewing you? Research them. Figure out what rocks their boats. What angle might they be coming from? Can you cover off that angle?

5. Ask the HR people for pointers? They might give you some useful insights. And, as long as s you don’t antagonise them with your tone, there’s nothing to be lost in asking.

6. Reflect on the two interviews to date. Might you have failed to fully transmit a particular aspect of your experience or skills? Be brutally honest here: perception is reality. If you were asked to summarise how they see you now, what would you say? Is that the way you’d like them to see you?

7. Finally – and this is crucial – you’ve got to take confidence from getting this far. Just as come candidates get complacent, as outlined in Point 2 above, some get windy at the very point when they need to stay strong. They get a whisper about another candidate and get distracted by that. Every candidate will be scrutinised in full. Just focus on transmitting the key information they need to know about you and retain a strong belief in your ability.

Slí Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com) offer a full online service. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com

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