Following up and sealing the deal

You’ve been for your first interview – what happens next? How soon can you chase for a decision? How much contact is too much contact? You consider that your first interview went well but you’ve not heard a thing – should you be chasing? Here, we’ll take a look at these questions, as well as second interviews and subsequent negotiations. We won’t go as far as holding your hand on your first day at work – Merston Peters’ work as agricultural recruitment specialists has to stop somewhere!


Let’s assume you ended your first interview by asking about the next steps – or that your interviewer offered that information. Firstly, we must all understand that, although the position on offer is important, everyone has a ‘day job’ and recruiting is an added extra for most people – if a big deal is going down, it may be that days slip by and employers don’t necessarily stick to the deadlines that they intimated.


Our advice would be to allow a a couple of days after the deadline; if you were told that you’d hear in a week, contact your potential new employer on day nine. On contacting the company, remain positive; understand that business goes on and even offer up some new information about yourself  – perhaps reference a new article that you’ve read that ties in with a conversation you had during your first interview.


Hopefully you will have sent a ‘thank you’ email after your first interview; another suggestion is that you ask to connect on LinkedIn; however, remember not to stick with the generic ‘I’d like to connect with you….’ message, again offer some information that you think the interviewer may be interested in – it’ll show that you have a connection and that your interview was a two-way conversation.


Always take time to ensure that your social media profiles are up to date and never post messages about your interview or the business that you’re looking to work with. Do, in any contact with your potential employer, use phrases such as ‘I’ve been thinking about a conversation we had during our interview….’ and add to it. In this way, you’ll be making contact, without pestering, and will highlight your interest in the person, the business and in the position.


Hopefully, after a short period of time, you’ll hear positive news.


Receiving a call for a second interview is good news – it means that the first interview piqued enough interest to follow up and find out more about you; about your suitability for the position. Let’s take a look at the reasons for second interviews, how to handle them and the follow-up steps to landing the position.


Employers call candidates back for second and subsequent interviews for several reasons:


  • To allow candidates to meet with people that they will directly work with. Your first interview may have been a ‘vetting’ process, possibly hosted by someone with HR skills, rather than someone specifically related to the position you have applied for. For positions that Merston Peters place, this is not usually the case, although it is typical in larger organisations with several candidates applying for one role. In all instances your first interview will have been a fairly generic run-through of your skills, your experience and your suitability for the role. Second interviews will, therefore, be more specific and may involve meeting people with whom you may subsequently work. So, it’s important to remember information that you discussed in the first interview; particularly information that you will have been given by the interviewer, and that you can build on – if names were mentioned in the first interview, it will have been a good idea to have taken note of these to assure your potential employer of your interest in the business.
  • To get a second opinion on you as a candidate. Your second interview may be with a group of people and so it’s a good idea to collect business cards or to note down names of those that don’t offer cards (you can follow up with a ‘thank you’ to each of these after the event). This is a good opportunity for your communication skills to shine through, as well as your personality and your ability to handle group situations. Each of the people interviewing you will form their own opinion of your suitability for the role.
  • To talk more in depth about the position and to familiarise you with the role/the place of work. Usually in second interviews, now that your skills/experience have been qualified, your interviewers will want to tell you more about the role itself, and to delve into more detail; for example, if the role is technical, be prepared for much more technical conversation. Second interviews also usually include a tour of the workplace and introductions to team members. Remember to take notes as much as possible – following up is always best if you refer to details in your interviews
  • To follow up. Your first interview will have made notes about your previous conversation; he/she will probably have pointed out areas in which you excelled and areas that need some follow-up – you can’t hope to be as strong as other candidates in all Our advice would be to ensure that any areas in which you felt you performed weakest in your first interview, are reviewed and worked on.


One thing to point out about second interviews is that they usually involve more than one person – it’s important that you’re prepared – your interviewers will be interested in how you communication; remember eye contact and mirroring are good techniques to master. Second interviews are not always conducted in the workplace; you may be invited to a lunch meeting. Social situations are interesting as your interviewers will be interested in how you act and react; the best piece of advice here is to follow your host’s lead and to remain in control at all times. Conversation style may be less formal – remember to note down any interests that your potential employers mention and always be on top of industry topics so that you can initiate conversation where appropriate.


It is usual for second interviews to involve talk surrounding the remuneration of your role: salary, holiday entitlement, pensions and other benefits. Always go into negotiations armed with an expectation as well as research on similar positions – what’s expected at your level as well as your current package. In this situation, be prepared to be asked what your expectations are and do not be afraid to negotiate, whether now or at a later stage.


Finally, at the end of your second, or any subsequent interviews, remember to ask for the job – not in a blunt, arrogant way. Demonstrate your ‘good fit’ for the role and even think about showing how you’ve thought about a plan for the first 2 months – how you’ll contribute to the business. A good parting sentiment would involve thanking the interviewer/s for the opportunity and stating your interest in the role.


So, now that we’ve covered the pre-interview, the interview, the post-interview follow-up, the second interview and the follow-up, we believe you’re armed to with all of the tools to reach your goal; to achieve your aim and to bag yourself the job that you know you you’re the wo/man for. However, we appreciate that every candidate, every employer and every job role has its idiosyncrasies – that’s why we’re here. With our years of experience in the field of agricultural recruitment, we’ve seen many scenarios, all of which can’t possibly be covered here. We’ve love to talk to you if you have any questions about job hunting or indeed recruiting – give us a call and we’ll offer you the benefit of our advice.


Good luck!