The Second Interview

Congratulations – you’ve been called back for a second interview.  Here’s how it might be different from the first. 

One big difference is that you’ll get a chance to improve on what you’ve already said.  Before your meeting, take some time to remember the first interview.  Were there questions you wish you’d answered differently?  Were there details you wish you’d added to your answers?  You have the opportunity to revisit some of your best qualifications and strongest skills.  When you bring them up, you can start with, “As I discussed with Jim when we met…”

You can probably expect more people at the second interview.  The first meeting is usually about whether you’re qualified for the job.  The second is more about how well you’ll fit into the team, and the group you’ll be working with is often represented by one or more people in the interview.  The good news about that is that you’ll be able to get a real feel for how they interact and what’s important to the team members.

Pay close attention to body language and other non-verbal signals that pass among the interview panel members.  Do they appear to like and respect each other?  Is there some tension among them?  Don’t be afraid to ask what they like most about their jobs or how they deal with stress.  After all, interviews should be about give and take; this is your opportunity to find out if you’ll enjoy living with this group eight or more hours a day for the foreseeable future.  As you answer questions, be sure to address the entire team, not just the person who asked the question, or worse – the senior member of the interview panel.  Your ability to connect with everyone is one of the critical skills being evaluated.

The second interview may also be more situation-based.  The intreview panel will have thought about some of the challenging issues and situations you’ll face on the job, and they’ll be asking how you might have handled similar problems in the past.   Don’t forget the formula for situational answers: S*T*A*R (Situation, Take Action, Results.) Be sure to follow up this interview with a thank you note to each member of the team.  Make the notes different; mentioning what you spoke about with that member will show the team that you paid attention and listed carefully.

Even if you’re nervous about the second interview, take a moment to savor the fact that you got called back.  Katherine  Hanson, Ph.D., writing for Quintessential Careers, says that some experts estimate your  chances to be 1 in 4 to get the job at this point; some even say you have as much as a 50 percent chance.  It’s rare to get to this point, making it more likely that this might be your moment to succeed.

2 thoughts on “The Second Interview

  1. common interview questions…

    […]The Second Interview « @work: a career blog[…]…


  2. […] over your resume and your accomplishments. Plan out some of the answers or themes you want to develop during the interview. Review the job posting; prepare some ideas about how your […]


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