28 Dos and Don’ts for Acing a Second Job Interview
by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
It’s gratifying to be called for a second job interview because you are one step closer to getting the job. Don’t blow it now!
Here are our second interview dos and don’ts for jobseekers, which outline key steps for crushing the second interview. Following these expert tips can help you achieve success and land a job offer… or at least a third interview.
Do pat yourself on the back for being called for a second interview. Career experts estimate that once you’ve secured a second interview, your chances of getting the job are between 25-50%.
Don’t be late. Take a practice run to the location where you are having the interview. If this isn’t possible, at least be sure you know exactly where it is and how long it takes to get there.
Do think about what made you shine in the first interview, and plan to do more of the same in your second interview. Our article, Job Interview Post Mortem Deconstructing Your Job Interview’s Highs and Lows can help you identify what you did well.
Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Note any questions that you found difficult to answer during your first interview and plan out how you will handle those questions in the second interview. Further, brainstorm new information you can bring into the second interview, such as new accomplishments, new examples, and new evidence of how much you know about the employer.
Do prepare more than you did for the first interview. Before your second job interview, take the time to delve even deeper into that research using our Guide to Researching Companies, Industries, and Countries. Before your second interview, check your LinkedIn connections to see if you know someone who works for the company, or seek out your school’s alumni association to see if any alumni work for the organization. Ask them what you should know about the company. Consult our Informational Interviewing Tutorial to learn more.
Don’t forget about current events. Google the company and read recent news and press releases. Knowing about recent changes in company structure, acquisitions or culture will give you interesting talking points during your interview.
Do plan to bring several copies of your resume. Print out at least one for each person you will be meeting with. For professional resume styles, check out our resume builder tool.
Don’t be surprised if you interview with several people. The second interview might be several one-on-one interviews or one interview in a group setting. Ask the hiring manager for a schedule so that you know which scenario you’ll be facing.
Do look for common connections. Ask the hiring manager for a list of people you’ll be meeting with. Look them up on LinkedIn so that you are clear what each person’s role is in the company and whether you have connections in common, which could make for interesting conversation during the interview.
Don’t be underdressed. Research the company to know what to wear to the interview. Ask friends in similar jobs what you should wear, or check with company insiders for their opinion whenever possible.
Do expect to be tested. Some companies will ask you to aware that you might be asked to complete skills or personality tests during your interview. Since you can’t prepare for these tests, just concentrate on staying relaxed.
Don’t forget your manners. Use your best dining etiquette if you are asked to dine with representatives of the prospective employer. Check out our Job-Hunting & Business Etiquette Resources.
Do be prepared for a long day. Second interviews are typically longer than first interviews because you are often meeting with several people in a single day. Get a good night’s sleep the night before. If you have a break between interviews, take a brisk walk to get rejuvenated. Bring a snack in case there is no lunch break. Be armed with breath spray or mints since lots of talking can cause dry mouth.
Don’t forget – the second interview is about fit. The first interview confirmed that you have the requisite skills to do the job. The second is about whether you’re a fit for the organization and its culture so deploy your very best interpersonal-communication skills.
Do keep in mind that it’s ok not to fit. Remember, that this interview is also your opportunity to determine whether the company is a good fit for you. Think about whether you would accept if the employer extended an offer. Read more about fit with company culture in our article, Uncovering a Company’s Corporate Culture is a Critical Task for Jobseekers.
Don’t be surprised by in-depth questions. While you’ll likely be asked some of the same questions you were asked in the first interview, second interview questions may delve more into your personality and your specific technical skills. Keep your responses fresh yet consistent for each person you meet with during the second interview, and don’t worry about repeating yourself since you will likely have a different audience every time you respond.
Do expect behavioral questions, even if they haven’t been in asked in the first interview. See our article, Behavioral Interviewing Strategies for examples. Also, prepare for some off-the-wall questions with our article, Don’t Get Stumped by Off-the-Wall Job Interview Questions.
Don’t be thrown by case questions. The second interview is often a time case questions are put into play, especially in consulting firms. See our article, Mastering the Case Interview, for how to handle this genre. You may also want to prep with our Practice Interviews.
Do be prepared with lots of questions to ask. You should have more opportunity to ask questions in the second interview and will be expected to make more sophisticated inquiries than you did in the first interview. Although these questions are designed for informational interviews, many of them also work in a second interview situation in which you are attempting to make a personal connection. See our article, Make a Lasting Impression at Job Interviews Using Questions , and our Questions Jobseekers Can Ask at the Job Interview.
Do get a feel for what second interviews are like. The University of Kent in the UK offers write-ups that describe second and subsequent interviews at numerous major, international companies.
Don’t be caught off guard if an interviewer raises the subject of salary and benefits. This is the point at which the topic of salary will come up. Know your worth. Arm yourself by visiting our Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources, especially our Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tutorial. You may also be asked about your willingness to travel and relocate, so be ready with your responses.
Do ask about the next step in the process at the end of the interview. Ask how soon will a decision be made, and how will they let you know?
Don’t respond immediately if the employer does make an offer. Ask for a few days to think about it.
Do ask for the business card of everyone interviewing you. Keep a small notepad handy to write down names in case you meet someone from whom you can’t get a card.
Don’t forget to send a thank-you note or e-mail to everyone you meet with. That’s right — all of them. You can write the same basic message to all, but vary it a bit in case they compare notes.
Do take control if the interview process drags on. A jobseeker who had gone on six interviews with one employer and still had not heard a decision recently sought advice from Ask the Headhunter columnist Nick Corcodilos. Corcodilos’s first-choice response was to simply ignore the indecisive company and pursue other opportunities. But he also noted that the jobseeker could offer a polite ultimatum: “I appreciate that you have internal reasons for this taking so long. However, I need to make decisions about some other commitments I’m facing. I’d like to set a deadline for us both, say, two weeks? If your team can’t make a decision by that point, I need to withdraw my candidacy for the job and move on. I want you to know how much I’ve looked forward to working with you. I know I can do this job profitably for you, and I want to join your team.”
Do consult our Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.
Don’t forget to read more about preparing for a face-to-face interview in our article, Mastering the On-Site Interview: A Guide to Company Visits.
More Second Interview Resources
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Jobseeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Read all our job-hunting do’s and don’ts articles for job-seekers.
Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.
To view the original version of this article please click here.
Stay up to date with the latest salary information form LiveCareer’s Salary Calculator!