Second Interview Presentation

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 - Job Interview Presentation


Second Interview Presentation

This is a typical Second Interview Presentation problem, but it is one that crops up again and again, particularly in these economically squeezed times. Here’s the readers question:

Second Interview presentation question

Doug, a customer services professional, asks: How do you handle hiring managers who ask for a detailed plan of how you would solve one of their business problems? I’ve been in this position a couple times, when the hiring manager has indicated the choice has been narrowed from hundreds of candidates down to 10 or less. For the secon interview presentation the hiring manager asks for a formal presentation of your 30-60-90 day plan, the solution to a particularly tough business problem they have, or a strategic discussion of how you would build a new organization. They are interesting exercises and great practice but in two cases I know of, the hiring managers have simply taken my presentation, hired a junior person, and implemented my plan. What’s the best way to approach a second interview presentation?

Second Interview presentation strategy

As I have always said re job interviews, the aim is to walk in and show that you can do the job. The problem here is specifically that you are giving too much detail. Hence:

  1. The hiring manager may like or agree with your overall strategy/solution, but may dislike parts of your detailled proposal, and therefore….
  2. You may be the “best candidate”, but if you don’t prove Social Fit – which is the real question of any second interview – or worst through excess detail raise questions about it, then you won’t be the hired employee!

As part of our Executive CV Writing Service, we hence coach clients to answer questions like this with only top-level answers. The reasoning for this is four fold:

  1. You look like a manager or executive over a worker
  2. You don’t create more questions than answers, and hence don’t question Social Fit
  3. You don’t give away your ideas
  4. You don’t put in excess work for fair return

Hence, you paint a broad picture of action instead of specific “how-tos” and week by week action items, ie:

  • Say “Launch in-depth use of social media” instead of “I’d do this very specific task with Facebook in 10 hours with these action items, that detailed task with Pinterest in 15 hours to this detail…” and so on

As the job applicant at what ever level, you have to realise that there is no such thing as a generic 30/60/90 day plan:

  • If the employer gives you a lot of specifics to sort through, you should question whether the meeting is a job interview or an expert consultation?
  • If they asked you to work on it for 10 hours, then you’re giving away too much. Give the 1-page executive summary, not the full answer

If you worked on your presentation for a couple of hours, and you are still rejected, then you need to “write it off” as part of the job interview process.

But if you don’t recognise the problems of over answering a job interview question, then it could be the reason that you are rejected.

Good Luck!

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photo by: dougbelshaw
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One Response to “Second Interview Presentation”

  1. W Christian Says:

    Great and helpful piece of info, I’m glad that you shared this – Thanks!

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