First vs. second interview

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First vs. second interview

Postby Frank » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:34 pm

I recently went for a whole day of interviews at a big pharmaceutical company, for a job that I am very excited about. I received very positive feedback from people that I interviewed with and from HR and was told that they were expecting to invite me for a second visit. Even though I was well-prepared for the first round of interviews, I am less sure what to expect during a second interview. Will the emphasis be on further screening of the applicant, on negotiation of salary and benefits, or on something else? I have an academic background and am not very familiar with industry hiring practices (yet), so any insights would be much appreciated.

First vs. second interview

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:41 pm


Great job on the interview. Congratulations are in order. But, don't get too excited, because a lot of the real serious "looking" that a company does is on the second interview. You'll be brought into meetings with a couple of the same people (HR, your boss, etc) but you'll likely meet your boss's boss, and possibly a VP, etc. It will be a day which has much more in-depth discussions of topics that you may have started on the first interview.

Perhaps a bit more behavioral interviewing on this round -- or, a panel interview to see how you do in that environment. Basically, companies of this size and type go through a number of first interviews to get the top 2-3 candidates back in. Then, the real selection process starts.

So, no matter what happens, you did well. Now, go in there confident and prepared. Know a LOT more about the company than you did on the first interview, and be prepared for those questions about "How would you handle this situation?" etc.

Yes, salary discussion will come up, but it will (in the case of a large pharma) be more likely to be them giving you some idea of the benefits and asking for your salary history -- not a great deal of in-person "negotiation". More of a first offer, best offer scenario at larger firms. There are still some things that you can get some wiggle room on, and I'll let other posters detail those.

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