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Preparing for Serial Interviews for a Job Position

A serial interview involves a group of people, but not all at once. You are handed off from person to person. In a serial interview, you typically are passed from the initial screener to a line manager to a top manager — and perhaps a half-dozen people in between. You strengthen your chances each time you are passed onward.

Follow these tips and guidelines when preparing for serial interviews:

  • Use your screening interview behavior (plain vanilla personality) with all interviewers you meet except those with whom you would work. Then go into your selection interview (full personality) mode.

  • Another type of serial interview is a prescheduled series of interviews, usually lasting one to two days, that each applicant must complete before the employer makes a hiring decision. The serial interview is almost always used when a candidate is flown in from a distant locale. Paste a smile on your face and hope that it doesn’t fall off after a long day of being “on stage.”

  • When the initial interviewer says that you’re being passed on to the second interviewer, try to find out a little about the second interviewer. Ask a question like “Does number two feel the same way about customer service as you do?” You’ll get information you need to find common ground with your next interviewer. Continue the advance-tip technique all the way to the finish line.

When you’re interviewed by one person after another, consistency counts. Don’t tell a rainbow of stories about the same black-and-white topics. When interview team members later compare notes, they should be discussing the same person.

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