Tips for Navigating a Second Interview
Most jobseekers know how to prepare for a first interview. They research the company and potential interviewers, develop key talking points, and rehearse responses to common questions. But how do you prepare for a second interview? And what exactly is the point of a follow-up meeting?
Why have a second interview?
A second interview allows an employer to dive deeper into a candidate’s background and personality than the first interview. Additionally, there tend to be more people involved in the meeting who ask more detailed questions. Take notes during or after your first interview so that you can build on the original concepts and skills discussed. It’s easy to forget details from interviews because of nerves and adrenaline, but you must remain consistent in your responses while approaching the same concepts with enthusiasm and confidence in a second interview. While follow-up interviews tend to be more intense, don’t let that scare you. You’re closer to the goal; interviewers are simply trying to discern who can handle the pressure and who can’t.
Who is involved?
During a second interview you may speak with some of the same people from the first meeting, but you’ll probably also speak with other team members. Be prepared to rehash and expand on concepts you discussed in your initial interview. Many follow-up interviews are also conducted by a panel, so it’s important to review techniques for speaking to a group. To showcase confidence and out of respect, it’s critical to make eye contact with and give each panel member a portion of your attention, for example.
Where does it take place?
Most follow-up meetings take place in an office, but occasionally (and depending on the role) some prospective employers opt for dining interviews. These meetings tend to be less formal, but they can be just as nerve-wracking. The usual interview protocols apply, but be sure to brush up on your dining etiquette, as well (i.e. don’t order messy food, don’t consume alcohol, etc.).
What can jobseekers do?
A 30/60/90-day plan is an effective tool for differentiating your second interview from the first. It’s a great strategy for conveying specific, tangible value to a prospective employer. In the first interview, you probably learned a few of the employer’s pain points that you can address, for example. A 30/60/90-day plan can help you really stand out from the crowd by providing a snapshot of the positive changes you could implement once hired. Read here to learn more about a 30/60/90-day plan!
A second interview is another chance for you to dig deeper into the organization and determine whether it’s a good fit for you, as well. Remember, you can take control of the conversation and ask questions, just like you did in the first interview. Learn everything you can about the employer, just as they’re trying to do about you.
Initial interviews are typically structured around a set of standard questions for each candidate. Second interviews are much more individualized and focused on personality. During the second interview, the goal is in sight; you just have to dig deeper and close the deal.