How to Succeed at Your Second Interview
If you’ve been invited in for a second interview, congratulations! This means that you were chosen with a select other few candidates for the final stages of the hiring process. A second interview can mean different things depending on where you’re interviewing. It could mean you’re talking to:
- The hiring manager for the second time
- More members of the team you’ll be joining
- High-level or executive leadership
While each employer has a different hiring process, your second interview should add a level depth and understanding about the job because you’re now part of a smaller set of candidates they are seriously considering.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what you can expect on your second interview, how you can prepare and what steps you can take to succeed.
What to expect in a second interview
In a second interview, you should expect more in-depth discussion about how you will operate in the role. By this point, you will have already had an introduction with the employer during an application, phone screen or first interview. Your second interview is to solidify your standing as a strong candidate by showcasing your experience, skills and knowledge about the business and the problems they’re facing.
The company has an open position because they are trying to resolve an issue of some sort or grow in a certain way. Whether they are hiring to speed up a process, add specific skills or increase output, it is important to show them how you will bring value to their organization.
How to prepare for your second interview
To prepare for your second interview, you should think about yourself in the position and what you will bring to the company as a result. Take time to deepen your understanding of the job, the employer and the problems they’re trying to solve. To do this, take the following steps before your second interview:
- Review notes from your previous interviews. Before your second interview, you might have had one or more conversations with the recruiter and hiring manager. Take time to carefully read through your notes from those interviews so you can feel prepared to have more in-depth discussion and ask informed, thoughtful questions to your interviewers. You should also review the job posting to refresh your knowledge about the position and what the employer expects in an ideal candidate.
- Prepare responses to common interview questions. During your phone screen and first interview, you were likely asked questions like “tell me about yourself” or “why do you want to work here.” For your second interview, you should expect more in-depth interview questions more specific to the role. For example, you might be asked about how your experience has prepared you to perform specific tasks or how you might respond to a given situation on the job. Take time to think of answers to behavioral questions to feel prepared and confident when having these conversations.
- Learn about your interviewers. Depending on the employer you’re interviewing with, you might be interviewed by the hiring manager, members from the team you’ll be joining or upper management including executives or founders. If you haven’t received an agenda from the recruiter with your interviewers names, ask them to send it to you. This allows you to do a bit of research on your interviewers, which might help you when planning your conversations.
- Prepare questions for your interviewers. At some point, your interviewers will likely ask if you have any questions for them. You should take time before your interview to think of questions that show you have taken time to think about the position, the company and how you might fit into the role. If you’re having trouble, imagine you were starting the job tomorrow. What would your first questions be? Who would you want to meet? What problems should you solve, and how?
Tips to succeed at your second interview
Here are a few additional things you can do to make your second interview as successful as possible:
- Be confident. Communicate both with your body language and your voice that you are confident and excited for the second interview. Stand when your interviewer enters the room, greet themwith a medium-firm handshake and answer questions with a strong speaking voice. Keep your feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, your chin high and your shoulders back when answering questions.
- Be genuinely curious. Let the conversation flow naturally between you and your interviewer, displaying your knowledge about the organization and genuine curiosity about how to succeed in the role. While you should save your questions for the end, write down notes that might help you explore certain topics deeper when you have the chance to ask questions.
- Strengthen your answer with examples. When answering questions, you should go into detail about how your past experience has qualified you to take on the challenges of this job. You can use the STAR interview method to prepare stories and examples ahead of time that can be used to answer many different kinds of questions.
- Send thank-you notes to your interviewers. After your second interview is over, send follow up notes or emails to each of your interviewers immediately. If possible, recall topics from the conversation in your note to show that you are attentive and genuinely interested in the position.
Preparing for your second or third interviews can seem daunting. Taking time to prepare can help you feel confident and calm. Remember, they’ve chosen you out of many possible candidates, so feel proud and excited about the opportunity to move forward in the hiring process.