You’ve passed your first interview, and the hiring manager has just called you to see if you would be interested in coming in for a second one. First, take a moment to congratulate yourself! Being called in for a second interview means the company sees you as a good fit for the job.
You may be excited about your next interview, or perhaps a little scared about what’s to come. Whatever the case, you may be wondering what’s the best way to prepare for and thrive in this second interview. Keep in mind that there are a few key aspects that apply specifically to second interviews.
In this guide, we discuss second interviews, how they compare to first interviews, and what you can do to make yourself stand out from other candidates.
What is a Second Interview?
A second interview gives the company an opportunity to learn more about you and your skills after you successfully completed the first interview.
During the first interview, the company gathers a large amount of information about your skills and experience. In the following interview, the employer will follow up on some key points they wish to explore further and ask a few more questions to determine if you are a good fit.
Most companies conduct multiple interviews before extending a job offer. They do this because one screening interview is usually not enough to ask the candidate all the questions they have about experience, skills and suitability for the job.
First Interview vs. Second Interview
In the first interview, the employer wants to know about your experience and skill set.
It may consist of questions such as “tell us about yourself,” and “why did you apply for this position?” These questions help the business learn more about you and what you expect from the role. Toward the end of the interview, you may be given the opportunity to ask questions about the company and the role,
In the second interview, you may be asked similar questions. However, the company will want to discuss your expertise in more depth. The interviewer will likely ask behavioral and situational questions to learn more about who you are and how you navigate common workplace scenarios.
By the second interview, the company will already have a basic idea of your skills and what motivated you to apply. This interview is therefore used to find out what makes you the ideal candidate.
During this interview, you may also be introduced to the team members you’ll be working with if you get the job. Depending on the size of the company and the position, you may also meet senior executives.
How to Prepare for Your Second Interview
Preparation is key. You will be asked a wide range of questions, and you will be expected to provide detailed answers. After all, there will still be a lot the employer wants to know about you.
To help you prepare for your second interview, consider the following tips:
Tip #1: Practice common interview questions
Just like for the first interview, you should spend some time preparing for a few common questions. The questions asked during the second interview, however, tend to focus more on assessing your skills and how you react in common workplace scenarios.
You may want to ask a friend or a family member to conduct a “dry run interview.” They will ask you a few common questions to help you prepare for the interview and give you feedback. Dry run interviews are a great way to get constructive criticism on your answers and help you experience what an interview actually feels like.
Tip #2: Review your notes
If you took notes during the first interview, now is the time to revise them. If you jotted down the day-to-day responsibilities or what the company culture at the business is like, you should read over those notes ahead of the second interview. You want this information to be fresh in your memory so you can make a strong impression during the second interview.
You may want to read over the job description again to refresh your memory about what the business expects from the new hire.
Tip #3: Prepare questions
Toward the end of the interview, you may be asked if you have questions. You could come with a few questions, but this may distract you and make it more difficult to provide the best possible answers to the questions you are being asked.
Come up with three or four questions you want to ask the interviewers. They can be about the position or your colleagues. Having these questions ready means you will not have to come up with them on-the-spot.
How to Thrive in Your Second Interview
Second interviews can be stressful, but they are an important part of the process. You may have made a good impression on your potential employer—now you have to maintain that impression under pressure.
Here are a few tips you can use to thrive in your second interview and show that you are the ideal candidate for the job:
Tip #1: Use examples in your responses
“Show, don’t tell” is a good technique that will help you stand out in an interview. Rather than telling an interviewer what skills and experience you have, show them. Discuss situations where you have used a particular skill. This will help the employer learn more about how you apply your skills at work.
To help you structure your responses, consider using the STAR interview method. STAR— which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result—makes it easy to create a narrative around your examples, which will help the employer connect the dots between your experience and their expectations.
Tip #2: Prepare to answer different versions of the same question
During the second interview, you may notice they are asking you variations of questions they already asked you. You may be asked about a time when you used time management skills in your career. Later, you may be asked about how you have used organizational skills in previous jobs.
Before the interview, prepare a few different examples you can use to show your experience. This ensures that you don’t run out of examples even if you are asked similar questions.
Tip #3: Be confident
Like in the initial interview, you should be confident. As soon as you meet the person or persons that will be interviewing you, speak confidently and show that you are excited for this opportunity.
There are two ways in which you can show your confidence during an interview.
You should answer every question with conviction. When you say something, stand by it, and don’t ruminate over any mistakes you make. Also, remember to use the right body language. Focus on the interviewer at all times and assume a confident pose while sitting.
The second interview can be nerve-wracking, particularly if you have not participated in a second interview for a while. This is not something you need to worry about. With adequate preparation, you can thrive in your second interview.
The fact that a business has called you in for a second interview shows they are interested in you. Only a few people will be called in for a second interview—you are one of the lucky ones!
Think about your second interview as another opportunity to pitch yourself to an employer. If your second interview goes well, you’ll be one step closer to getting the job.