Congratulations, you’ve nailed your first interview at your dream company! Now you have the opportunity to sit down for a second interview.
So what can you do to ensure everything goes without a hitch?
Second interviews are more in-depth than first interviews. You not only need to be consistent with your answers from the first interview, but you also need to elaborate and be as detail-oriented as possible with your answers.
These second interview tips will help you prepare for your second, third, and fourth interviews.
What to Expect in a Second Interview
The more knowledge you possess of what to expect during your second interview, the stronger you’ll perform. You can expect to revisit questions from your first interview, offer more specific answers, and possibly even interview with more than one person.
Revisiting First Interview Questions
There’s a good chance your second interview will be with someone other than the initial recruiter or HR representative. And even though this new interviewer may have the answers you gave during the first interview in front of them, you’ll want to offer your original answer — and then elaborate on them.
During a second interview, the interviewer will be looking for you to expound on your original answers. Specificity is the key here. This is why it’s not a bad idea to take notes during a first interview (especially if your first interview is a phone interview or a Zoom interview).
You’ll want to keep the first interview questions handy so you can think about these questions in more detail.
The first interview is usually a formality, and the interviewer is poised to possibly eliminate any candidates that don’t meet the minimum criteria for the position.
Most questions don’t require long-drawn-out answers. The interviewer simply wants to discover any potentially disqualifying information.
But in a second interview, the interviewer will want to know if you’re a good fit for the position. While you’ll be asked similar questions (or in many cases the same questions) as you were during the first interview, the questions will probably be more tailored and specific to the position or to you in general.
More Than One Interview/er
Expect to spend plenty of time interviewing during your “second” interview.
For one, a second interview takes longer than a first — and you may end up interviewing with multiple interviewers, meaning the second may also be the third, fourth, and fifth interviews, too.
Consider every person you might interview with, and tailor your answers to each interviewer’s position.
Yes, you’re probably going to be answering some of the same questions over and over again. No, you shouldn’t offer different answers to each interviewer. But you should add more detail and specificity each time you answer each question.
Second Interview Tips
Add — Don’t Repeat
You’ll likely visit some (or rather a lot of) information you covered during your first interview.
The difference between your first and second interview is that you’ll want to give consistent answers, but you won’t want to be as brief or to the point as you were in your first interview.
Be as specific as possible. Think of a time when you used specific skills to better your workplace. Show you can consider both minute details and the “big picture” by talking about your specific skills and possible strengths and weaknesses of previous employers.
Tailor Your Answers
Tailor your answers to the interviewer. Your answers may change based on who is performing the interview.
Answers given to recruiters or HR could be brief and to the point. Ones given to senior managers or your potential bosses should be more thorough and focused on the specific tasks overseen by those positions.
Ask About Company Culture
Most companies are a little stressed about the potential loss of company culture in the future of the workplace.
Many employees have gone remote or moved to a hybrid workplace model, and company culture is harder to convey when employees are offsite.
Showing you care about company culture can give you an edge over other candidates. A great time to ask about this topic would be in response to the following questions:
- Do you have any questions for me?
- Is there anything you’d like me to clear up from the first interview?
- Are you familiar with our company culture?
Of course, you should show you’ve done your homework by talking about your research into the company’s culture. Just ask the interviewer to elaborate on what you already know.
Show (Don’t Tell) Your Soft Skills
One of our most valuable second interview tips is to show (don’t tell) your skills. Interview questions are often thinly veiled attempts to find out if you possess soft skills.
While telling an interviewer you have strong communication, organizational, and empathy skills, showing them through your answers is a better way to land the job.
If you’re asked a question about a past challenging workplace relationship, the interviewer really wants to know if you work well with others (and how you might troubleshoot challenging situations). If you’re asked about a time you were forced to do something unethical, the interviewer wants to know if you can be trusted.
Use your answers as a way to convey that you possess these skills.
Offer Honest Answers (but Not Too Honest)
But don’t be too honest. Of course, you don’t want to lie — but you also don’t want to highlight weaknesses, either.
If you’re applying for a technical position, you’re probably not someone who loves being interrupted every other minute to make small talk. But you will need to be able to effectively communicate with others.
Don’t love working with others all the time? Think about times when you did enjoy collaborative efforts and highlight those achievements.
The same goes for sales or project management positions. You’ll probably be expected to spend most of your time working with others (which is probably what you love about your job), but you will also need to show you can work independently, too.
If you need some help preparing for your first, second, or third interviews (or just experiencing difficulties finding a job), join Rise. We have a team of professionals who can offer even more second interview tips and help you prepare for your interview — no matter where you are in the interview process.