Acing Your Second Interview

Congrats!  You nailed it on your first interview. You prepared a thorough resume, gave polished and professional answers to the tough questions and made a good first impression. You’ve gotten that call for a second interview…now what? 

The first interview is the first impression your prospective employer gave you and you to them.  It can be a nerve-wracking examination of your personality and experience.  Now you’ve gotten that first time out of the way, the second interview is a very different animal.  The rules have changed and there are new expectations for you to meet.  The questions will be deeper and maybe you’re meeting with an executive or supervisor for the first time.  Let’s turn your anxiety into excitement and confidence.  

It’s important to congratulate yourself that the company is seriously interested in you, or they wouldn’t have called you back. You’re definitely being considered for the job or perhaps a different role in the company.  The point is, they’re interested in learning more about you.  That’s a good thing!

Many companies use the first interview as a screening process to determine which applicants have the experience for the job and will be a fit in their company’s culture.  Then, the second interview involves more detailed questions about you and your qualifications, with a much deeper dive into your ability to do the job.

Be prepared.

A second interview can be a much longer interview with you meeting management, staff members, executives, and other company employees. Ask what the interview entails so you can be ready to invest your time and to prepare.

Do more research: Take the time to do some more research and learn everything you can about the company. Review their website, particularly the about page.  If you’re going to be meeting executives and co-workers, take a look at their LinkedIn profiles to familiarize yourself with their experience and position in conjunction with yours.  This allows you to speak comfortably with them about your own skills and how you are a good match for the company. You might also find things you have in common, or similar connections to people, that can help to start a conversation.

Review possible interview questions and answers: Review the questions you were asked in your first interview and note any corrections you may want or need to make in round 2.  Remember, if you’re meeting with multiple people you may be asked the same interview questions again, so be sure your answers are consistent.  If there’s something you thought you should’ve said in your first interview, prepare to mention that now.  Prepare for second interview questions that go into more detail about your experience, often asking more about specific projects you’ve completed or difficulties you’ve encountered in your other positions.

Keep up your energy and interest:  Many second interviews are longer in duration; some may last anywhere from two to eight hours. There may be a series of meetings or interviews.  You may be making more than one first impression today, so get a good night’s sleep and stay active and engaged.

You are always being evaluated: Perhaps you’ve been asked to lunch or dinner as a part of the interview process as well.  Remember, even when it seems like you’re in a social situations and individuals are not asking the tough, probing questions, you’re still being evaluated on how you interact, speak, carry yourself, and interact with others.  Everyone who meets with you at your second interview will be asked for their impressions, so don’t let down your guard.

What to Do After the Interview

Is the job a good fit for you?  While you’re investing a lot of time and energy into your hope that the company will like you and extend an offer, remember, you’re also assessing your fit with the company.  The second interview is your chance to come prepared with questions you have for the employer and you’re making your evaluations of the personalities and cultural fit as well.  After the second interview, take the time to assess your own continued interest in the position.

Say thank you…again: Hopefully, you sent a thank note to the people who interviewed you the first time. Take the time to send a second thank you letter to everyone you met with.  Email is fine also if you have their email address.  In the letter, thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in the company and the position and mention why you continue to think you’re the right person for the job.