Second interviews: How to find and retain talent

Last updated:
December 14, 2020
December 21, 2021
min read
Sim Samra
erarbeitung einer employer value proposition - recruitee
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They say that good help is hard to find, and it wasn't until you became a business owner that you realized that you could identify with that on a personal level. When it comes to finding the right person or people to fill the open positions in your company, it can be quite a process to separate the suitable applicants from the ones that will go straight into the recycle bin.

What are some of the best tips for finding and holding onto great staffers for your business?

Create a fantastic job posting all over the internet

The first place that most people look when they're searching for a new job is online, which means that sites like Monster, Indeed and Glassdoor will probably be at the top of the search results. With that in mind, ensure that you've posted your job listing as many places as you can. Don't forget about posting on more localized spots like Craiglist and Facebook groups.

Additionally, you want the posting that you create to be appealing, well-written, and exciting for a job-seeker — a posting that you can consider fantastic. Don't forget to hit key points like:

  • Compensation. How much can applicants expect to make in an hour? In a year? This is often the first thing that applicants will look for.
  • What are the typical duties of the job and how do they make a positive impact? People in their late twenties to mid-thirties are likely going to make up the bulk of your hiring pool, and those people are millennials. Millennials like to know that they are working a career that makes a difference, not just a paycheck.
  • What's the dress code? This is more important than you might believe; if you've ever worked a job that doesn't allow jeans, then being able to wear them at your new job is a serious work perk.

If you're still unsure about how to write something that sounds appealing, check out job postings listed by your competition and see what theirs read like. Never copy, of course, but you can get better ideas about how things are worded and simple ways to describe a concept you're having trouble putting into words.

Narrow your search and schedule interviews

Once you've got a slew of applicants, it's time to find the people you think will work best with your company. This can be the tricky part, but as you look through each application, divide them into piles: Yes, no, and maybe. (Your "no" pile can also be your shredder, but if you keep applications on hand for a year, then disregard). Always keep the following in the back of your mind as you sort:

  • What is this person's experience? Have they worked in the industry before or not? Would their relevant work history align well with the open position?
  • In the same vein, how many jobs have they had in the last three years? The last ten years? It can be a red flag if you notice that an applicant seems to change jobs frequently.
  • Have they listed any salary expectations? If so, are they reasonable, and are you able to fill them? If their expectations are outlandish, they can go into your "no" pile.

Scheduling interviews is the easy part once you've gotten your applicant pool ready. Take the time to create interview questions that pertain to the open position and get ready to meet your next prospective employee.

Consider doing a second interview with particularly impressive applicants

The first interview can be stiff and formal, and often applicants are nervous and feel like they're under pressure to perform. While this can be educational and show you how they work while stressed, sometimes performing a second-round interview can help you both to feel more comfortable. Remember that you're trying to attract someone who will be a good, hardworking employee, and you want to impress as well.

Never conducted a second interview before? No problem. Remember to formally invite them with a second interview email and schedule a date.

The rules are only a little different than the first interview. Before performing the second one, know ahead of time, the best etiquette during the process.

Invite other interviewees to attend if you've got a lead you think is especially promising. This doesn't have to mean managers and team leaders only, but also people within the department who will be working with the new person every day. A few different pairs of eyes can help you to see fresh perspectives that you had never considered before.

Change up what time you will be conducting the second interview. Was the first one at ten in the morning? Try the next one at quarter to four in the afternoon. This is a great way for the person interviewing to see what rush hour traffic is like commuting, and it can also help you to see what they're like at a different time of the day. Are they stressed from traffic? 'Hangry' from not having had lunch yet?

Pro tip: Repeat certain questions at different times of the interview. For example, ask about their previous job and why they left at the beginning and note the response. Try asking a second time towards the end of the interview and see if the answer changed. This doesn't mean that they're lying or being dishonest; on the contrary, it could mean they are more comfortable with you and want to expand on their answer a little bit.

Don't forget the end goal: You want a long-lasting employee who is a great fit!

It can be tricky to know how to hang onto employees for the long-term. What makes people want to stay in their jobs for a long time? If your business is very small, it can be especially hard to entice decent applicants to come work for you. Some simple, yet effective ways might include:

  • A competitive salary. Again, it's understandable that you can't pay a new staffer a boatload of money. That's okay. But again, check out what your competition is offering to new employees and see what's fair or even above average.
  • A traditional benefits package: Medical and dental insurance, a retirement package, etc. It can be a major draw to applicants if they see that you offer insurance.
  • Flexibility and trust. Micromanaging bosses are the worst, and the fact is if you trust this person enough to hire them, why would you want to dip your hand in every project of theirs? By being a mostly hands-off boss, you can often get better results since people feel less put under the microscope.


Remember, this is the future of your business that is coming into play here. Customers like to see employees who have been there for a long time, and it's nice to have a well-trained and valuable member of the staff for many years. When you start your search for the next person to add to your team, don't just slap something online and hire the first person who comes in. Take the time to carefully consider and understand each applicant until you find the one who is the perfect fit for your company.

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