What to Expect in a Second Interview

FT Contributor  | 

If you’re invited back for a second interview, it could mean a few things. For one, the potential employer might be extremely interested in hiring you, but you’ve got some competition from the other people they’ve interviewed. A second interview could simply mean you’re meeting with different human resources employees so they can get to know you better.

Regardless of the company’s reasons for bringing you back, a second interview is another chance to impress more employees with your background. A second interview shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will typically involve more specific questions about your experience and what you’ll bring to the team.

Moreover, a second interview commonly means you’ve got a great chance of landing the job. It’s important to be prepared, so read on to calm the pre-interview nerves and understand what you should expect out of a second interview.

Preparing for a Second Interview

Just as you did with your first interview, you’ll have to take the time to prepare for your second interview. It’s important to consider that your second interview could take longer than your first one did, as you’ll most likely be meeting with more people. If you can, ask the recruiter or previous interviewer for an agenda detailing who you’ll be meeting with. This will give you a chance to research the individuals and craft relevant questions and talking points.

Plan accordingly and carve out plenty of time for the second interview because it may go beyond the allotted time. In addition, you should also bring plenty of resumes or portfolio examples to your second interview. Again, you may not get an agenda or preview of who you’ll be meeting with, so it’s important to be prepared for anything.

Research the Interviewer(s)

If you know who is conducting your second interview, take the time to learn everything you can about their professional background and their role within the company. If their position works closely with the position you’re interviewing for, craft some questions to get a better understanding of how the roles correlate.

This is also the time to research the company culture as well as how they brand themselves. Social media is an excellent way to find this information. Look at their social media channels for a closer glimpse of any recent events the company took part in or simply what their daily operations look like.

Review Previous Notes

Consult the notes you took during your first interview to refresh your memory with the questions you already asked. These topics could resurface, so prepare to have a more in-depth conversation about aspects you previously discussed.

Additionally, take this time to review the original job posting. This will give you an idea of the expectations the company has and allow you to come up with relevant questions to ask during your second interview.

Prepare Your Responses

Second interviews will include plenty of in-depth questions about your relevant experience and what you can bring to the table. Prepare answers that showcase your skills, accomplishments, and the career goals you have in mind. It’s okay to make notes that you can turn to during the interview. Jot down specific things you want to mention so that you don’t leave anything out.

Dress Professionally

Your appearance in an interview is important. That’s especially true in your second interview. Whether your interview takes place in person or digitally, dress professionally so that you come across polished to your potential coworkers, managers, and even the owner of the company. There are plenty of looks that men and women should sport in their interviews. Look online for some styling tips and tricks.

Thank the Interviewer

Once everything is said and done, plan to send a thank you to the people who conducted your second interview. Before you leave your second interview, remember to ask for everyone’s name and email so that you can follow up.

Whether it’s sent via snail mail or email, sending a thank you note demonstrates your respect and allows you to stay fresh on the minds of the people who interviewed you. It’s also a great time to ask any follow-up questions that may have popped into your head after the fact.

Questions to Ask in a Second Interview

Just as in any interview, asking questions during your second interview is of paramount importance. Below are a few interview questions you can ask.

What Sort of Management Style Do You Have?

Ask about the boss’s management modus operandi. Understanding the management style of your boss is critical to your success in the role. Ask this question to figure out if you and your boss will get along and to get an understanding of how they give feedback. Express that feedback is important to your growth and that you place a lot of value in it.

What Are Your Goals for This Position?

Ask what type of goals the interviewer and the company have for this position. In a second interview, you’re most likely going to meet with the person who will be in charge of you. Asking about goals will give you a better idea of their future plans for the role and give you insight as to what skills you’ll need to tap into in order to succeed. This is also a great time to address your career goals and aspirations.

What Are the Biggest Challenges of This Job?

Ask the interviewer about the most challenging aspects of the job. Regardless of whether you already asked this, everyone will have a different answer. You may be able to glean different insights, all of which are invaluable in making the decision to take the job or not. Ask this question to as many people as you can to get different points of view on the role you’re interviewing for.

If you’ve landed a second job interview, this is an exciting time. With enough preparation, you’ll have a better chance of getting the job.


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This post was updated December 11, 2019. It was originally published December 11, 2019.