Job Interview 101: Everything You Must Know About the Second Interview

?second interviewIn an ideal world, candidates for open positions would submit an application, receive an interview request, show up and impress the hiring manager. Most important, they would immediately receive a job offer. In reality, this is about as likely as a one-eyed, one-toed, flying purple people eater showing up on your doorstep. So you need to prepare for a second interview.

The real world of applying for career-making positions will include plenty of rejection. It will also include numerous screenings and, most likely, more than one interview. For many candidates, it’s that second job interview when the nerves and uncertainty really start to kick in…

  • “How many candidates are they calling back?”
  • “Does a second interview mean they love you or have questions about your capabilities?”
  • “Do I need to run out and buy a second suit jacket?”

So how do you calm the nerves and answer these questions and others like them? To help, we’ve prepared this handy second edition of our interview education series.

Sit back and relax. Because we’re about to give you a crash course in “The Second Interview: Everything You Need to Know.”

Review Your First Interview

You know how we usually advise not to hem, haw and overanalyze your first interview after the fact? Well if you’re lucky enough to score a second go-round you can throw that advice square out the window.

Before heading into the interview room again, review your notes (we hope you took notes) from the first meeting. Pay special attention to names, details and important aspects of the job description. Focus on company goals and any particular problem or tricky areas of the field or position. Also, think about issues the hiring manager may have identified during your first interview.

Your goal? The ability to reference these issues or provide solutions during the second interview.

Learning from interview one is a critical skill and will score you big points towards getting a job offer.

Keep on Researching

Just because you did your researching diligence for the first round interview doesn’t mean you’re in the clear to rest on your laurels this time around. Successful candidates know they should continue to perform basic internet searches. They must look for the most recent news and events regarding their prospective employers. In addition to new info, they know to pick up nuanced details they may have missed in their initial dives.

On top of company research, a new round of interviews will likely mean additional interviewers. So conduct due diligence on the careers, background, and education of each person you’ll be meeting. This will not only proviude you critical details that will help you make connections, you’ll appear knowledgeable and approachable. Take a few moments to scope out each person’s LinkedIn page. In the process, pay specific attention to any articles, shares or likes they chose to make public.

(No, you shouldn’t “add” them to your network at this point. But knowing how they approach certain industry topics could prove useful come interview day.)

It’s Time to Talk Money (Maybe)

Another piece of oft-given advice you should consider throwing out for your second round interview? The avoidance of discussion of salary or compensation.

In the first round, talking dollars and cents can often be off-putting and is generally premature. The second round, however, is an entirely other ball of wax. Plus, if the hiring manager asks the critical question regarding salary range, you’ll need to be prepared.

So do your research on average salaries in your field. Handy tools, like Simply Hired’s salary calculator, provide insight into what other professionals in your field make. Compare this information with your current salary. Then try to anticipate a reasonable and fair offer that meets your needs and falls within budget of the employer.

Another area of salary talk that may be appropriate at this stage? The all-important benefits package.

If the time seems right, feel free to ask about items such as health care, yearly performance bonuses and retirement savings. With the attention these topics are increasingly garnering in the media and in government, employers are less likely to react with surprise when candidates bring them up during advanced rounds of interviews.

The bottom line when it comes to salary and benefits?

Avoid lowballing yourself into a less than acceptable financial decision. We’ve discussed before that it may make sense (and cents) to accept a salary cut in certain situations. But that should definitely not be your default approach. Know your value based on experience, education and comparable remuneration across the field. Then, make the most educated moves at this stage in the interview game.

Even More Questions

We’ve discussed at length the importance of having insightful and relevant questions to ask the interviewer. This is doubly true when it comes to second round interviews. Preparing a mental list of questions to ask each interviewer is a critical element to making a great impression. They also keep the dialog flowing during your conversation.

One of the benefits candidates will have in the second round? Bringing information they picked up during the first interview into play. Avoid generalized questions you may have asked, and had answered, during preliminary stages. In the second round interview, your goal is delve further into details. Items such as training, roll out and what you can expect during your first few days on the job. These targeted queries will go a long way towards helping interviewers picture you as a contributing member of the team.

As a final question at the second interview, consider asking about next steps in the hiring process. This will provide you with peace of mind after the interview is over. It will also let your prospective employer know you’re eager to start in your new role.

Be Confident

Sure, this is a quality piece of advice for candidates, regardless of where they may be at in the hiring process. The second round of interviews, however, gives job-seekers an extra boost in the props department. Out of hundreds of applications and dozen of interviews, you managed to land on the top of the would-be employee stack. Feel proud and accomplished about your call back. Use that energy to come off as cool, calm and collected when sitting across the table from your interviewer.

Congrats on your second interview. Now go out and close the deal like a pro!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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