Dealing with a Second Job Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Published: Aug 04, 2023

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Nowadays, the job interview process can be far more protracted and complex than it once was, and it’s not unusual to go on multiple interviews for the same role. Being asked to attend a second interview is a good sign, but you’re not at the finish line yet. Here’s what you can expect from a second job interview, as well as how to prepare.

What to Expect

Depending on the company or the role you’re interviewing for, the details of your second interview could vary quite a bit. Typically, the purpose of a second interview is to get more in-depth about a candidate’s experience, and how they might apply their skills and knowledge to the role they’re interviewing for. Additionally, the hiring manager might test your ability to solve certain problems, or might ask a series of questions that are designed to determine whether you’re a good fit for the company’s culture.

In almost any case, you’ll be speaking with the same hiring manager or HR representative you spoke with on your first interview; however, you might also be asked to sit with members of the senior management team, or perhaps members of the team you could potentially be working with. The bottom line is, a second interview will likely require more stamina, so there’s some things you might want to do to prepare.

How to Prepare

The first thing you should do when asked to attend a second interview is take note of the agenda. This will give you an idea of how long the interview might be, who you can expect to be speaking with, and other details such as the time and the location. The contact person will usually provide an agenda during the process of setting up your second interview, but if they don't, just politely ask that they send one along. Studying the agenda will help to eliminate any surprises that might throw you off guard during your second interview.

If you’re a regular reader of our job search and interview advice, then it should come as no surprise to you that research is one of the keys to success. You’ve probably already conducted at least some research in preparation for your initial interview, but now that we have an agenda to refer to, we can go even further. Take a look at the names of the people you will be speaking with, and do a little detective work. What does their social media presence tell you about them? How long have they been with the company?

In the event you haven’t conducted any research and you managed to squeak by on your first interview, now is the time to get prepared. Read about the history of the company, its products and offerings, its leadership team and core values, charitable endeavors, and any other information you can find. Having knowledge of the company you’re interviewing for will show that you’re engaged and interested, and might help to set you apart from the other candidates.

Along with your research, think back to your initial interview. What questions did the interviewer ask you? Was there anything more you wanted to ask the interviewer? What did you learn on your first interview that stood out to you the most? If you took notes during or immediately following your first interview, you’ll have the great advantage of a perfect memory that you can refer to later on. If you didn’t take notes, do your best to recall your first interview so you can better anticipate what might come next.

If you’ve been out of work for a while or you’re feeling particularly rusty, now is the time to get re-acquainted with those skills of yours. You might be tested on your second interview, so you want to make sure you’re sharp and in tip-top shape. Find ways to practice your trade, or ask a friend to quiz you on your skills and abilities. Perhaps most importantly, don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your second interview—take your time and be deliberate so that all the information sinks in.

Tips for Success

With all that knowledge you gained during your research, you’ll not only come off as being highly motivated, but also genuinely interested in the prospect of working with the company. This sort of energetic curiosity can go a long way, so don’t be afraid to show your excitement and interest. Always smile, as it will exude positivity, and stand up and sit up straight to show confidence. Understanding body language can be extremely beneficial during a job interview, so if you want to learn more, check out our previous two-part blog.

Get to know your resume very well. Talking about your work history effectively is incredibly important during a second interview, and you want to be able to connect your answers to certain questions with your previous experience. For example, if the interviewer asks you how you would solve a particular problem, do your best to provide real examples from your past, rather than hypothetical scenarios.

On your second interview, you’ll probably be doing most of the talking, so take the time to conduct some practice interviews and get used to speaking at length about your experience and skills. Speak slowly and clearly, and don’t worry if you need to pause to gather your thoughts—this is far better than trying to rush through an answer.

There’s still some more ground to cover when it comes to a second job interview. Next time, we’ll be going over some common questions you can expect, as well as how to answer them, so keep your trusty internet browser locked in here!