You prepared for your job interview extensively. You did your research, you thought out answers to likely questions and did everything you could in order to present yourself in the best possible light. Now, instead of an offer or a rejection, the company has contacted you to schedule yet another interview. What should you do now?
The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that preparation for interview callbacks should be just as strenuous as for a first interview. Even if you feel that you aced your previous interview, this is not the time to sit back and rest on your laurels. There may be several reasons why you are being asked for a second interview, and none of them are pro forma.
Reasons for Additional Interviews
Your preparation for your second interview should take into account the reasons you may be getting a callback. In some areas, such as large law firms, callbacks are a standard part of the job application process. In these cases, the first interview was more of a preliminary step. At your second interview, you will likely be meeting with more senior personnel who will subject you to a rigorous assessment of your skills and your ability to fit in with the firm’s culture.
In other areas, you may get interview callbacks if you generally seemed like a good candidate but interviewers had specific concerns about your ability to perform in a given area. If you are aware of any potential weakness in your background or you feel that you failed to adequately showcase your skills at your first interview, be ready to demonstrate your strengths in this area. At your callback, you can also ask the interviewer if she or he has any particular concerns that you can address.
An additional reason for scheduling another interview is that you are being considered for a different position than the one you applied for. You will not always be informed if this is the case. If you believe that this is a possibility and you are interested in this position, be sure to thoroughly research its requirements in order to best highlight relevant skills and background.
Yet another possible scenario is that your first interview put you on the list of second-choice candidates, and the first-choice candidate did not work out. In this case, you need to make an effort to stand out and improve on the impression from your first interview. Think back and see if you omitted or failed to emphasize important qualifications – you now have a second chance at making the impression you want.
Finally, if you were initially interviewed by a panel of several people, they may have trouble reaching a consensus about your performance. Even if the majority feels that you are the best candidate for the position, if one person has misgivings it may be enough to lead them to ask for a second assessment. In this case, as well, it may be helpful to ask about potential concerns and to be prepared to address them.
Tips for Handling Second Interviews
Treat your interview callbacks with at least the same rigorous approach that you took at your initial interview. Make sure your research is extensive and up-to-date. If your second interview will take place before more senior or specialized personnel, prepare to be questioned extensively and specifically. In fact, your second interview may be more difficult than the first one. Whatever the reason for your callback, assume that you have to improve upon and perfect your first interview performance.
As always, pay attention to your demeanor and the impression it is likely to make. Confidence is an asset, but take care not to let it escalate into off-putting arrogance. You should be sure of your skills and abilities without seeming as if you think you know more than anyone else, including the interviewer. This second interview is not a mere formality, and you should not treat it as such.
There are many reasons why you may be getting an interview callback instead of a definitive answer from your prospective employer. Every interview takes time and staff away from the company’s regular business, so none of them are scheduling additional interviews just as a rubberstamp. Prepare for your callback with the mindset that you have to surpass your first interview, as well as address and correct any potential deficiencies you may have shown earlier.