Second Interview

So you’ve been summoned to a second interview. The good news is that they’re pretty impressed with you already. In fact, you can allow yourself a little bit of smugness. You’re on their shortlist of possible candidates for the role, so go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve fought off the masses and now it’s down to the select few.

Unfortunately, now’s not the time to kick back and relax. Many people just breeze into second interviews without doing any preparation, convinced that the hard part is done. Well, it probably isn’t. For starters, you might not face the same interviewers; there might be a whole new set of people to impress.

What will the second interview involve?

Although some second interviews might simply consist of an office tour and a meet and greet with some of the company’s employees, others will involve a second round of tough questions. Alternatively, you might even be invited to an assessment centre; a day long affair, which will really test if you’re the best person for the role or not. They might ask you to give a presentation or complete psychometric tests.

Whatever form the second interview takes, it’s up to you to pull out the stops to impress them. Even if you’re pretty sure that you’re the only one being asked back for a second interview, the job isn’t in the bag yet. Companies won’t hire you if they don’t think you are right.

How should I prepare for a second interview?

First of all, don’t let your interview basics go out of the window: practise answering questions, and check out our interview body language and interview techniques articles. Brush up on your commercial awareness, see if you can talk to people who have previously worked there and draft a new set of questions to ask during the interview. Push your previous interview preparation a bit further: scour the web for more information about the company, research its competitors and the industry.

Best of all, come with some concrete ideas yourself on how you think you can help improve the company: whether it’s improving existing processes or activities in the department, or ideas for the company as a whole. For example, if you’re applying for a role where you’ll be managing the company’s website, you should know the website inside out and have a whole list of suggested improvements for it.

What kind of questions will they ask at the second interview?

Be aware that some of the questions you will face might be pretty similar to the ones you have been asked before, particularly if you are being interviewed by a different person. It is worth reviewing the questions you were asked before though!

Were there any questions they might want to bring up again? Was there something you didn’t say in your last interview or a question you struggled with? The interviewer might be briefed to follow up on an apparent weakness or lack of motivation flagged in the previous interview. Think about the hardest questions they could ask you and how you would respond to them.

Equally, the interview questions could be completely different to the ones you had in your previous interview. There could be more probing questions; for instance, asking about your personality to see whether or not you’d fit in with the team. There might be more situational-based questions, or they could give you real life examples of work situations and ask how you would respond. For a technical role, they might push you with harder technical questions.

Don’t be too daunted by this: the fact that you’ve been asked back for a second interview should give you a boost in confidence. They obviously think you are up to scratch and are a serious contender for the role. It’s also another opportunity for you to check out the company and make sure it’s the right place and environment for you. So don’t be fazed if the kind of questions they ask increase in difficulty. Give your best stab at them and you should be fine.

After the interview, remember to send them a thank you email to follow up and keep those fingers crossed that you get the role. Good luck!