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INTERVIEWS: How to Prepare for Your Second Interview

Written by Jacqui Mills, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Don Mills

Congratulations! You’ve impressed the hiring manager in your first interview and now you’ve been invited back.  They’ve narrowed their selection down to just a few candidates and they want to decide which one to make an offer to.  Whatever the reason, you’ll need to approach the second interview in a slightly different way to the first one.

Prepare: Start by looking at the points you made about your skills and experience during the first interview and try to identify what impressed them. In that way, you can give them more of the aspects of you that went well and respond to questions you felt you struggled with before. Greater focus on detail.

Be confident: Second interviews can be a bit more intense. It could be a different format with different interviewers to ask you about your skills. If that’s the case, be confident in talking about relevant parts of your background. Have a few examples ready to illustrate to them, so that you can be more specific about your answers.

Tricky or challenging questions: Some interviewers ask them, others don’t. But be prepared for questions that apparently come from nowhere, as the panel may just want to see how you deal with it.

Don’t forget to ask your own questions: Second interviews are a better time to ask lots of questions as you can make them more relevant. Always ask hiring managers what they like about the company, what they think its goals are and how well it achieves them.

Fitting in: The second interview can often include meeting a few other people in your potential department or taking a short tour. The main reason for this is to make sure you’re going to fit. If you are a good fit, show it; but if you aren’t, you probably wouldn’t be happy working there, anyway. This is your chance to work out if you’d get on with your future team mates too and if you’d accept an offer.

Taking the offer: If they don’t make you an offer, ask about the next step and how soon they might be able to give you a decision. But if they do, no matter how much you want to say yes, say thanks instead and ask for some time to consider. You want to avoid spending the next few months of your life in a role that isn’t right for you, so you need to think about it.

Lastly: Don’t forget that all-important thank you note. Even if you don’t take this particular job, you have made new contacts who might remember you when they move on and networking is valuable.

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