Receiving a second interview is exciting; it means that the company is seriously interested in you, and that you are definitely in contention for the job. However, because you are that much closer to getting the job, a second interview can also feel intimidating.
While there are a number of second interview tips for success, one particularly helpful tip is to create a “Brag Book.” After reading my advice on second interviews, Howard Reis, a healthcare and telecommunications industry professional, kindly took the time to write to me to share his (excellent) advice on second interviews:
I wanted to share with you a thought which may be helpful for people approaching second interviews. I learned this when a candidate interviewed for a job with me and I used it as part of my recent interview process.
The best way for me to call it is a "Brag Book". I put together a detailed (10-page) binder which discussed the industry, the company I was interviewing with, the problem they were trying to solve and how I was the best person to solve it. I included relevant industry articles, examples of my work (a white paper I wrote) and some specific suggestions for the first 90 days on the job.
Who knows? I may have gotten the position anyway. But in this competitive environment I felt like this gave me a bit of a leg up.
Tips for Developing a “Brag Book”
I'd bet the "Brag Book" made a big difference in the outcome of the interview. It not only showed that Howard knew the industry and the company, but it also showed that he had invested his time and energy to show the company how he could make a positive impact if he were hired.
One of the best aspects of the “Brag Book” is that it allows you to demonstrate how you can become an asset to the company. If you choose to make a book, be sure to include information on how you could solve a particular issue, or help achieve one of the company's goals or missions. Presenting your previously published work and/or your research on the company might help you achieve this goal.
Another way to make your “Brag Book” stand out is to make it look professional. Take Howard’s advice and put the documents you select in a clean, crisp folder or binder. This will make you look organized and well prepared.
Another reader explained that he does something similar, but calls it a "Success Book" instead. You might consider using that term instead, so it doesn't sound so much like you're bragging about your accomplishments.
Other Success Stories
If I was the hiring manager, the applicant who took the time to show me how he could help would trump the person who just showed up for the interview - every time.
In fact, I've heard from other job seekers who created their own "Brag Book" and are convinced it helped them get the job. Here's what I heard from someone else who used the idea:
The process actually consisted of seven interviews of varying types: an initial phone interview, three in-person, two via videoconference, and one coffee date.
By the time I got to the fourth round, I took the advice you received from Howard Reis and created a "Brag Book." It sealed the deal.
This is a project that takes some work to pull together, but it may pay off and help you lock in a job offer and even get a better offer than you expected. The last person I heard from who used it got an offer that was $30,000 higher than she was currently earning.