You nailed your first job interview, and they’ve asked you to come for another one. It’s a great feeling, but it also means you have to go through the whole process again. Here’s how to nail that second interview and bring something new to the table.
Title photo remixed from bpsusf.
The second job interview is typically all about getting to know you on both a personal and professional level. When you’re interviewed, your prospective employer wants to know if you can handle the details of the job, and if you’re going to fit in with the company in general. That’s really it. The second interview might be more relaxed and conversational, or more hectic with a full panel of people talking to you. Either way, your preperation and composure are the same.
Review Your Performance on the First Interview
You did well on your first job interview. Otherwise they wouldn’t be asking you back for a second. This likely means you have the behavioural aspect nailed, but the second interview is all about getting to know you better. Before you head into the job interview, think back to the first interview and the key points your potential employer made. Take another look at the job description and start coming up with responses to the same sorts of questions you already had. Basically, you already had an inside look at the job, the people and the workplace. Use it to your advantage.
You also had a chance to scope out the overall “feel” of the office on your first trip. Use that to decide what to wear for the second. You still want to look nice, but use your new inside knowledge to decide what “nice” really means. Photo by samantha celera.
Prepare Yourself for Deeper Questions
The second interview is all about digging into real details about a job. This means you’ll likely meet with your immediate supervisor if you haven’t already. It also means you’re asked deeper questions about your work history, personality, and how you’ll handle the job. Your potential employer might quiz you on your technical skills, go in-depth into your work history, or even want you to dig into the reasons why you think you’d fit in at the company. The only way you can really prepare for this is research. As Forbes points out, it’s all about preparation:
Have as clear a sense as possible of the department’s purpose and challenges. Your main goal in this meeting will be to show how you, with your particular skills and background, will help the department succeed. You can only do that if you know what the department’s needs are. Of course visit the company’s Web site, but that’s just a start. Read company press releases, related news stories and other general industry news to find out about the whole sector. Learn about any competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
You can get away with a little ignorance about the job in the first interview, but it’s not going to fly in the second. Since you reviewed your performance on the first interview, you can also look back at the more detailed job description and start coming up with specific examples where you can apply your work history to this job. Don’t be surprised if you get some of the same common job interview questions, but prepare for them with more specific answers.
When you’re applying for a technical or creative position, you’re also often asked to showcase your skills on the spot. This is in addition to any portfolio or samples you might have already brought in. It probably won’t be anything too complicated, but make sure you’re prepared for the demands of the job. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
Get Ready to Meet Future Coworkers
It’s not uncommon for the second interview to include a few other people in your potential department or to end with a short tour. The main reason for this is to make sure you’re going to fit in. You can’t really prepare for this, but be ready for it. As Southeastern Louisiana University points out, it’s both for the employer’s benefit and yours:
A major reason for the second interview is so the employer can see how well you fit in with the company culture. realise that the interviewers at your second interview want to learn how well you will get along with other team members with whom you’ll be interacting every day. Deploy your very best interpersonal communication skills. But — remember that it’s OK not to fit. If you aren’t a good fit with the employer, you probably wouldn’t be happy working there anyway. And remember, that this interview is also your opportunity to determine whether the company is a good fit for you.
The second interview is partially about making sure both parties will be happy. When you’re getting that tour or meeting coworkers make note of their behaviour, dress, and even their workspaces. You should have an idea whether you’ll fit in by the time you shake hands and walk out the door.
Now’s the Time to Really Ask Questions
You probably asked a few questions in your first interview, but asking questions is just as important in the second interview. If you didn’t ask them in the first interview, Fortune’s common questions you should ask is a good place to start. Talking with Forbes, career coach Debra Wheatman offers up one set of questions you should always ask on the second interview:
It’s a marriage. Always ask hiring managers what they like about the company, what they think are the firm’s short-, medium- and long-term goals and how it has delivered on them. That will give you a sense of how organised they are.
Basically, make sure you really want to work where you’re interviewing at, and ask any questions that will help make you feel confident in your choice. Photo by bpsusf.
Yes, You Should Send Another Thank You Email
Chances are you interviewed with different people in your second round. This means you should send out another round of thank you notes when the interview is over. Before you leave the interview, grab a business card for the person (or people) that interviewed and follow up the same way you did in the first interview.
Of course, you also want to prepare yourself in the same way you would for the first interview. Get a good night’s sleep and eat well ahead of time. Be nice, keep your answers concise, and don’t shy away from small talk. If you need some help remembering everything, fill out a sheet to get all your points in one place.