Preparing For Your Second Interview

During your second interview, you have an opportunity to let the employer see why you’re best for the job. You can strengthen the good impression you made during your first interview by preparing well for this one. This article will show you how to prepare for a second interview so you can move to the next hiring stage.

How to prepare for your second interview

Follow these steps to prepare for your second interview:

1. Firstly, prepare for a more extensive interview process

The second interview will likely be longer than the first and may include more interviewers. You may attend several meetings with different people or possibly a group interview.

Second interview tips to help you prepare beforehand:

  • Remember to make eye contact. Speak to each person during a group interview. In high-pressure situations, it is natural to look for a friendly face and focus on that person, but all of the people on the committee are involved in the decision to hire you, so make sure to direct remarks to each of them during the interview. 
  • Using people’s names is a good way to make a personal connection. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for their name. This will show you’re trying to make a connection. After the person answers, use their name to address them. 
  • If you’re unsure about any part of the process, be sure to ask specific questions. You may need to submit tasks before or after this interview. The second interview could include tours of the workspace, lunch, informal meetings with team members and performance tasks. Keep in mind that you’re working during all parts of the interview, even lunch, and even if you’re meeting with people who would not be your supervisors. Those people may later share their impressions of you.

2. Secondly, review the job description

As you prepare for your second interview, go back to the original job description. Look for the verbs, which are the specific actions the employer expects you to perform. During the first interview, the employer may have simply been making sure that you were qualified. Now, they will want to see what those qualifications mean in practice. 

Tips on researching for a second interview:

  • Prepare specific examples of how you’ve accomplished the job description verbs. Your examples don’t have to be dramatic one-time examples, although if they are, that’s great! They can also be regular, recurring events that show how you consistently accomplish the actions highlighted in the job description. 
  • It’s also helpful to have examples of how you operate in a group to show teamwork and examples focused on individual initiative. 
  • Be prepared to explain how you intend to pursue these additional qualificationsin your own professional development if you feel you have gaps. In some cases, relevant experience is often an effective substitute for formal education. This might mean learning something on your own time or seeking mentorship. Rather than being seen as a weakness, this will show a commitment to continued growth and the ability to formulate a plan. You’re also showing an awareness of the employer’s needs for this position and the desire to meet those needs. 
  • Prepare an example of a situation when you identified and acquired skills to improve your performance. 

3. Next, review the first interview

Consider whether there are points from your first interview that you’d like to elaborate on or clarify. 

Tips to help you improve on your earlier interview:

  • Between your first interview and getting the call for your second one, you probably reviewed the questions and your responses. You may have evaluated what you said and didn’t say. Because you have a second interview, you can be confident that you impressed the employer, and you have the chance to put your ideas into practice. 
  • You don’t necessarily have to wait for a direct question or conversational opening to share your ideas. At some point, your interviewer(s) will likely ask whether you have anything you’d like to add. Make sure to use that opportunity. 

4. Then, bring a notebook, salary expectations and your input for the role

Come with a notebook. You won’t want to read directly from your notes during an interview, but having some brief key points sketched out can help you remember all the things you’d like to say. Research salary trends ahead of time so you know a reasonable range. 

What to bring to the second interview :

  • You can jot down notes during the interview. This might be especially useful if part of the interview includes a tour or informal discussion with future coworkers. When you reconvene with the primary interviewer(s), you’ll be able to refer to your notes for questions or points for further discussion.
  • Bring a clear idea of your salary expectations. 
  • Bring more knowledge about the company, the department and/or the role you’ll be working in. This will help you offer more concrete ideas on how you plan to bring value to the company. Ask questions to help get your bearings in the organization of the company. 

5. Finally, be ready to help your interviewers get to know you

In a second interview, the interviewers will be interested in how your personal qualities impact your professional life. They might ask about your goals, your definition of professional success and how you will pursue them at their company. They might also be interested in your side projects, especially if they have professional application, because these are often a sign of passion for a field. Activities outside your field or industry can come up in a second interview, too, so be prepared to talk about hobbies, volunteer work or other interests. This helps the interviewers get to know you as a person and can show positive personality traits.