Tips for Acing a Second Interview

Woman meeting team at job interview
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You've done it! You passed the first interview with flying colors, and you just got a call or an email to schedule a second interview. What happens next? How can you use a second interview as a means to get a job offer?

It's important to be aware that the company is seriously interested in you, or they wouldn't have called. You are definitely in contention for the job! Here are suggestions on how to use your second job interview to help secure an offer.

What is a Second Interview?

Many companies interview candidates for employment twice, or even more often. When companies have a multiple interview process, the first round of interviews are screening interviews that are used to determine which applicants have the basic qualifications required for the job.

The candidates who pass the screening interview are selected for a second round interview. Second round interviews typically involve more detailed interview questions about the applicant, their qualifications, and their ability to perform for the company. Second round interviews may include interviewing with multiple interviewers including management, staff, executives, and other company employees.

Second Interview Tips

Get the Agenda
Sometimes, a second interview can be a day-long interview. You may meet with management, staff members, executives, and other company employees. Ask the person who scheduled the interview for an itinerary, so, you know upfront what to expect.

For example, at some companies the second interview process involves meeting with people from different product groups. Candidates usually meet with four or five people who are geared to provide an idea of what it's really like to work for the firm.

Research, Research, Research
Learn everything you can about the company.

Review the About Us section of the company web site. Use Google and Google News (search by company name) to get the latest information and news. Visit Message Boards to research what's being discussed. If you have a connection, use it to get some insider information on management and staff, as well as the company in general.

Review Interview Questions and Answers
You may be asked the same questions you were asked during the first interview. So, review the questions you will be asked and brush up your responses.

Also review additional questions you may be asked during a second round interview and have another set of interview questions ready to ask the employer.

Like the first time around, it's good to take some time to practice interviewing, so, you are comfortable with your answers.

Dress Professionally
Even if the workplace is casual, until you get the job, you will want to dress in your best interview attire, unless you are told otherwise. If the person scheduling the interview mentions dressing down, business casual attire would typically be most appropriate.

Lunch / Dinner Interviews
When you are scheduled for a full-day of interviewing, lunch and/or dinner may be included on the agenda.

Dining with a prospective employee allows the company to review your communication and interpersonal skills, as well as your table manners. It's important to dine carefully. The last thing you want to do is spill your drink (non-alcoholic, of course) or slop food all over the table. Order appropriately and brush up on your dining skills, and your manners.

What You Didn't Say
Was there something you thought you should have mentioned during your first interview? Or was there a question you had difficulty with? The second interview will provide you with the opportunity to expand upon your responses from the first interview. Review the notes you took during the first interview, to see what you might have missed talking about and what you can clarify or add.

Ask Questions
When you're invited to interview a second time, the chances are good that you are in contention for the position.

It's appropriate to ask for a copy of the job description to review, as well as to ask about the organization structure and how you will fit in. Here's a list of questions to ask at a second interview. Review the list, and have some of own ready to ask the interviewer.

Is There a Fit?
Sometimes, whether a particular job is a good fit is hard to define. I've been in a position where I had an uneasy feeling that I really didn't want the job. It wasn't anything I could pinpoint specifically, but it was there. If a voice is telling you that you are not sure about this job, listen to it. You don't have to turn down the job, but you can ask for additional meetings with staff, especially the people you are going to be working with, to make sure the job is a good fit for you.

If You Get a Job Offer
In some cases, you may be offered a job on the spot. You don't have to say yes, or no, immediately. It actually makes sense not to say yes right away, unless you are 110% sure that you want the job. Everything may seem perfect while you're there, but, once you have a chance to mull over the offer and the company, it may not seem as wonderful. Ask for some time to think it over and ask when the company needs a decision by.

Say Thank You
You have, I hope, already sent a thank note to the people you interviewed with the first time. Again, take the time to send a thank you letter (email is fine) to everyone you met with and reiterate your interest in the company and in the position.

Second Interview Articles and Advice