When you are asked to come in for a second interview, it signals that you’re on the right track. It means you’re doing a good job showing you meet the qualifications for the job and that you make a good fit for the company. However, a second interview is no guarantee that you’re going to get the job. More work needs to be done on your part to secure an offer. Get prepped for it now!
Often, the first interview is conducted by HR and possibly other staff members within the department of the job. By the time of the second interview comes around, more senior staff members get involved and there will be more questions asked to address your ability to perform for the company. Try to find out as much as you can about the second interview in advance.
At the second interview, expect to be asked more detailed interview questions where you will need to pull from your previous experience to make a supporting case. At this stage, you are vying for the job against other remaining good candidates. Determine how you may respond to questions so that you outshine other candidates. Think about your unique experiences and skills. What is it exactly that you bring to the table that will provide value to the company?
Personality is also an important factor at this point of the interview process. Companies will often go with a candidate with the best-fitting personality even if another candidate offers a stronger set of experience and skills. The fact is additional experience and skills can always be obtained with time, but one’s personality is not necessarily something that can be changed.
To ace the second interview, remember to:
- Sell your unique professional experience.
Each candidate offers their own unique professional experience. On the second interview, help make the connection for the employer. Why are you well-suited for the job? Why is it critical to have you as part of the team? Focus on what it is that you can achieve and accomplish for the company, while using your previous experiences to demonstrate such success.
- Connect at a deeper level.
When you are at the interview, make a deeper connection with the interviewer. Show a genuine interest in the job, the workplace, and what they do. Share what you’ve heard and learned so far about the company that gets you excited. Ask questions that show you’re thinking deeply about what you can do on the job. Approaching the interview in this manner helps strengthen the quality of the conversation and it also helps you gain valuable insight about the job and the inner workings of the workplace. For ideas on meaningful discussion points at the job interview, read: “3 Ways to Build Rapport and Ace the Interview.”
- Remain composed.
After the first interview, the interviews that proceed it are generally more challenging because now the company is testing what you know and your personality. The interviewer may present a situation and see how you go about handling it. Regardless of what’s thrown your way in the interview process, it’s critical to remain composed and have a positive outlook. Show you can handle pressure and that you have self-confidence. For more tips, read: “3 Ways to Stay Composed Even through Tough Interview Questions.”
- Obtain answers to any lingering questions.
While the job interview is for the employer to obtain information about the candidate, it is equally an opportunity for you to obtain information about the job and employer. When you ask questions, it expresses that you are making serious considerations about the job and not simply a candidate vying for just any job that comes along. Asking the appropriate questions can also help you determine if this is really the job and company for your next professional move. You want to avoid any unwanted or unexpected surprises when you are on the job.
- Conduct salary research in advance.
While some companies may conduct more than two interviews before deciding on which candidate to present an offer to, by the time of the second interview, you should be prepared to discuss desired salary, if asked. It’s always better to hold off on revealing what your desired salary is and to let the employer do the talking first. It will give you more leverage to reach the higher end of your target. Conduct your research in advance to know what to expect and what’s the industry standard. If you do need to reveal you desired salary, present it as a range rather than a specific number. For more tips, read: “Tips to Maintain Negotiating Power around Salary.”
Each interview will bring you one step closer to a job offer. Learn from your previous interviews and continue to build on it. Some questions asked during the first interview will come back again for the second interview. Sometimes this is intentional to see how consistent you are. Take the time to review the basics again. Many of the steps you took to prepare for the first interview will also apply to helping you prepare for the second interview. For more interview tips, read: “You Must Remember This: Information You Must Have before the Interview.”
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