Current Size: 100%

How to Succeed at the Second Interview

You made it through the first interview and they invited you back.  This means that you are one of their top candidates, which is a significant accomplishment.  So how do you convert this into a job offer?  Here are a few tips:  

Be ready to repeat yourself.  Since you will likely be meeting with a different person for the second interview, there is a good chance that they will ask you a lot of the same questions.  It is important that you answer these questions with the same level of energy and enthusiasm as you had the last time because the employer is looking for a candidate who is motivated to do this job.  

Be prepared with specific examples. The first round of interviews was to determine who has the basic requirements to do the job.  In this round, they may be trying to identify the strongest candidate.  In order to stand out, you need lots of detailed examples of you actually doing the job.  It is even better if you can talk about your accomplishments in quantifiable terms.  For example, you could say that 90% of your customers rated your service interaction as 'excellent'.

Do lots of research.  Often the second interview is less formal and involves you being introduced to several different people.  They may just want to have a conversation with you to gauge how you would fit in at the company.  If you have a strong understanding of both the company and the industry, you will be able to ask intelligent questions and make a good impression during these discussions.  A good start is to read the 'About Us' section on the company's website.  Also look at any news articles that have been written about the company and review their social media pages.  Look at social media groups that are specific to the industry and view the online discussions to see what people are talking about.  If you know anyone who works at the company or in the industry, talk to them to get a sense of what is happening in the industry right now.  

Have a few questions ready.  At almost every interview, the employer will ask if you have any questions.  If you have a few good questions ready, you won't have to come up with them on the spot.  The employer wants to see that you have been thinking about job and that you have a good understanding of the challenges.  Don't ask any questions about salary or benefits; for those questions it is better to wait until the employer is ready to make you an offer.  

Use it as a second chance.  With every interview, there is something that you could have done better.  It could be a key accomplishment that you forgot to mention, or maybe you answered a question poorly.  Usually, we only get one chance but this time you have a do-over.  Don't bring up anything that the employer might perceive as a weakness, but if you can find a way to address a concern that the employer may have by highlighting your strengths, it is a good opportunity to do so.

Regardless of what happens now, getting a second interview is a win.  It means that you are one of their strongest candidates.  There is a good chance that you will get an offer and even if you don't, it is evidence that both your resume and your interview skills are working for you.  Now you just need to send out a thank you email and start looking for other opportunities while you wait for them to call you back.  

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image by