A second interview can be anything from a very brief chat with a more senior executive to assess cultural fit to a day-long programme of panels and tests. They might invite you to meet the rest of the team, either informally or as a formal interview, or for a tour of the office. The content of your second interview may be informed by the content of your first; for example, if there was no skills test at the first, there’s likely to be at the second.
Preparation is key
Much of the advice for a second interview is the same as that for a first interview. Be professional and prepare, prepare, prepare!
You can prepare for the second interview as soon as you’ve finished the first. As soon as you can, sit down and take time to
- note down everything you were asked,
- think how you could expand on your responses, and
- think about anything else you wished you’d said or explained better, and write it down.
If the panel asks some of the same questions as previously, don’t worry about repeating anything you said in the first interview. The new panel may just want to hear your response for themselves. However, if you have completed the step above, you should be able to expand on and polish your previous answer.
A common question at the second interview is whether you would like to revisit anything from your first interview. Never say no! Always have something prepared to expand on about yourself but don’t say, “I forgot to say..” or “I wished I didn’t say that..”. Spin it as a positive. For example, “there wasn’t time in the first interview to go into the detail about…” or “now that I feel I know more about your company and your processes, I might do this instead of that”. If you feel there was any aspect of your previous experience or a particular previous role that didn’t come up in the first interview, take this opportunity to introduce that.
Prepare more questions to ask the interviewer. You should have spent time looking through the company website, social media, and any news items prior to the first interview to generate questions. Make sure you do this again for anything that has changed or updated to ensure you seem up-to-date and you’ve done your research and anything that you might see with a different perspective after the first interview.
A second interview is often when the employer will get another member of staff to give you a tour of the office or place of work. Always treat it like part of the interview. The person doing the tour has been picked so that they can give their opinion of you later. Make sure you always remain professional.
You might be thinking about what to wear. Depending on the type of role you are going for, you might only have one interview outfit. Do not panic about wearing the same outfit twice. Unless the outfit was particularly outlandish, it’s unlikely the interviewer will notice! But always be smart and professional.
Most importantly, be yourself! The professional version of you, of course. Cultural fit is an important consideration and can only be assessed accurately if you are yourself.
And finally! Give yourself a huge pat on the back for making it to the second interview stage. You’ve done really well!