Preparing For Your Second Interview

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Interviewing

From a job seeker perspective, a prospective employer would be at an offer decision after the first interview. While employers are trying to streamline their hiring process, most are still not at the decision stage after the first interview, and require additional conversations.

This then brings to the job seeker the challenge of preparing for the second interview(s).   A key is to be clear regarding who you will be speaking to in round 2. Your preparation will be different if it is the same person rather than someone different.

You may ask yourself why a second interview needs to occur. For a Hiring Manager, it may be done because they have multiple close candidates and differentiating them enough to select one has proven impossible.  Another scenario is that the company hiring process requires the Hiring Manager’s boss to do an interview to make sure everyone is on the right track. This could be a routine exercise that serves to reinforce the Hiring Manager’s initial assessment.

  • Learn from the First Interview: I am sure that there were aspects of the first interview that really resonated with the Interviewer, and other aspects that fell flat. All of this will be discovered when you do a post-mortem of the first interview. You certainly would want to make the necessary adjustments if Round 2 is with the same person, but regardless of who is doing the interview, the necessary changes have to be made.
  • Do Your Research: With Round 1, having a basic knowledge of the organization is typically acceptable. You will be expected to know much more during the second discussion as a sign of your interest level and engagement. This makes logical sense since as the company becomes more serious, then you would do likewise.
  • Keep Up the Energy and Enthusiasm: Don’t let the fact that this is another interview to deal with effect your mindset. Rather take this second interview as a positive, because it means you are moving forward in the hiring process. Even if you have interviewed already with the Hiring Manager, don’t let your guard down and stay profession like you would with any other interview.
  • Be Consistent: You may be asked the same (or similar) questions by a different interviewer during Round 2. Be sure to give the same answer each time. Do not edit your response thinking you are repeating yourself because you’re not since the person is different. Keep in mind that the interviewers will most likely compare notes on the interviews and responses that significantly vary will be problematic. Similarly, if the interview is the same and they ask the same (or slightly different worded) question, then answer it the same. The interviewer might just be signaling to you regarding how important this topic is, rather than trying to confuse or trick you.
  • Anticipate the Differences: You will almost certainly not be asked the same set questions in the second interview, regardless of who facilitates the session. It is important for your preparation, therefore, to come up with a new list of questions you are likely to be asked. I would suggest reviewing your list from the 1st interview and uncover what was not asked, and use any intel gained from that session to determine what the focus may be.
  • Get More Specific: In the first interview, the Hiring Manager is usually trying to get an overall general assessment of you as a candidate. The questions will typically be broader in nature around your skill set, leadership style, teamwork, etc. In the second interview, the Hiring Manager will drill down deeper into your work, so be prepared with examples regarding how you helped your current/previous organizations make or save money, or increase productivity.
  • Understand Next Steps: You don’t want to be left in the dark regarding the hiring process of this prospective employer. Before you leave the second interview, be sure to ask (if you have not already been told) what the next steps would be for you as a candidate. If you are a person that is speaking to multiple companies, you most definitely want to have a sense of where you are, since it may impact how you handle other job openings.

Take the news of a second interview as a good sign that you are moving forward in the process. This usually means that the applicants have been weeded out and you are on the short list of candidates that are being pursued further. The key, however, is to not let your guard down by thinking that you have the position and, therefore, not give your best effort. Every step in the process is critical, right through to the offer!

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein

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