Congratulations, you made it through the first round of interviews and are invited for a second interview.
Chances are, the hiring manager has made several cuts after the first interviews, and you are one of the final candidates they are considering for the job.
You did your homework for the first interview, but what should you expect from a second interview?
Before you walk into the second interview, assuming the same tactics you used in the first interview will work again, keep reading to understand why the next interview is different.
Why the second interview is different
The first interview is a screening process to weed out the obvious misfits for the company. The people who move on to the second interview have a basic understanding of the company and the minimum job requirements needed to succeed.
The second interview is a way for the hiring manager to understand the candidate more as a person, rather than a basic set of qualifications and experience. You will be questioned on more than just your skill and experience; your motivation and personal skills will be judged more in the second interview.
The second interview likely will also be comprised of more decision-makers for the organization. You may see an executive-level leader and other high ranking team members who ultimately will make the final hiring decision.
According to Twin Employment, there are several factors employers look for during an interview:
- 36% of employers look for multitasking skills
- 31% of employers look for initiative
- 21% of employers look for creative thinking skills
- 12% of employers are looking for something else in a candidate
While a second interview and higher-level employers may be intimidating, you have a much greater chance of impressing the board if you prepare ahead of time.
How to prepare for the second job interview
- Do your research
If you have not done it already, go back to square one and do your homework on the company. Know when it was established, the core mission statement, and how you relate to it. It’s common for a second interview to require you to prepare a presentation such as a brief campaign or overview of a system.
If the second round includes a presentation, keep your points clear and concise, and be sure to include engagement and visuals to keep the board interested. By practicing ahead of time, you will be confident about your speaking points and be prepared to give a flawless presentation.
- Have a plan in place
While the second interview is more about you as a person, don’t be fooled into thinking it is more casual. The questions may be less structured and allow for more open responses, which you should have a template for ahead of time. Be prepared to come to the table with ideas of your own on how to solve the current issues the company is facing and why you are instrumental in implementing a change.
By knowing the current struggles, goals, and direction of a company, you can not only applaud how far the company has come thus far, but you can show how you can complement their business plan.
- Use your first interview to your advantage
Every time I leave an interview, there is always something I later remember I failed to mention. While we all have talking points and specific examples we want to provide, it’s common to forget one or two main points under stress. If time and circumstances allow, let the panel know you thought more about a previous question and want to expand upon it during your second interview.
Buttoning up any loose ends shows you are competent, thorough, and like to ensure every task you approach is completed.
- Utilize a 30, 60, 90-day strategy
If you are applying for a management position, you should have a 30, 60, and 90-day plan for what you expect and how you will achieve it. Having a plan in your mind ahead of time, shows employers you have visualized yourself in the role and how you will be successful.
Having a plan for success before you even get the job will set you apart from the other candidates.
- Use previous real-world examples from your experience
Hiring managers don’t want to hear what you think you would do in a situation; they want to know what you have done in the past and how previous success or failures have prepared you to succeed in their organization. Rely on your past experiences to guide you through the interview and reference what you have learned to add additional flair to your answers.
- Be ready for the “why you” question
Most interviews will include a question that allows you to talk about yourself. This question can be uncomfortable for some people who struggle to talk about themselves. Do be prepared for this question. Have an outline in your head of your previous accomplishments, experience, education, and how it ties together to succeed in the employer’s company. Have a structure to visualize what you want to say and how you want to say it ahead of time.
The second interview is just as important as the first one
While the second interview may feel more relaxed, you are still competing against other candidates.
Take the second interview as seriously as you did the first and dress for the position you want. Stay professional, prepare ahead of time, and remain confident in your answers as you show them why their company needs you.