Congratulations! You got called in for a second interview. This puts you among the chosen few, the remaining candidates who have advanced to the final stages of the hiring process.
So, what can you expect from a second round?
Taking place with other members of the team or senior management, the second interview is meant to demonstrate additional levels of understanding about the job you’re applying for. From your perspective, this means it’s time to solidify your position as the most competent candidate.
Before we get into how you should go about successfully preparing, let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons why candidates fail their second interview:
Don’t get too comfortable with your potential employers. You and the hiring manager might have gotten along like two peas in a pod during the first interview, but you’ll probably be conducting your second round with an entirely different group. Acting too chummy with the Chief Financial Officer is a great way to end the interview prematurely.
- Lack of preparation
Depending on the hiring manger, the first round can often feel a little, well, easy. This time be ready to talk specifics. If it’s clear that you’re as familiar as possible with the company, it demonstrates that you’re thorough and organized.
Your employer also wants to know that the person they see on your resume is the same person sitting across from them, so being 100% confident with your work history is a must. This might seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how often it’s a stumbling block.
- Not researching new interviewers
Expect a batch of new faces this time around. This may include a mix of higher-ups, managers and team members, all of whom are assessing whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company culture.
Point being, not knowing who you’re talking to or underestimating their importance is an interview killer. Everyone you meet will potentially have a say in whether you get hired or passed over.
“It’s like you were a completely different person.” This one is extremely personal and hard to hear. It’s also a pretty common reason interviewees don’t make it past the second round.
We all have a tendency to try and protect ourselves when we meet those in positions of authority: we get nervous, our mind starts racing, and pretty soon the interview’s over and we have very little memory of what just happened.
Remember, your personality is part of what got you asked back. Don’t lose that sense of self-assurance. Just relax, stay calm and believe in yourself. There’s a reason you’re here.
- Ignoring the basics
You would think this goes without saying, but showing up on time, being prepared with intelligent questions and wearing something other than jeans and a t-shirt are things that some interviewees just don’t consider.
The basics matter. A little bit of preparation goes a long way and can make the difference between getting a new job and printing off a new set of resumes.
5 tips to succeed in the second interview
- Review previous interview notes
Take a look back at your first interview and – as objectively as possible – review your performance. Were there any questions that made you stumble? Did you have to search for an answer a few seconds longer than you would have preferred? Take a moment now to refresh your approach to answering interview questions with our previous blog Answering Behavioral Interview Questions using the STAR Method.
Use any previous discussions from the first round to inform your second interview. This attention to detail will separate you from the rest of the pack by a mile.
- Research all interviewers
Whenever possible, know who’s going to be in the room. No matter their level of seniority, this round’s interviewers are assessing how well you’d get along with the people you’d be working with. So, if you’ve got great personal communication skills, show them off!
Remember, this is also your time to determine whether this company is a good fit for you. Knowing who you’re talking to (and being able to build a micro-relationship with them) during the course of the interview will leave a memorable, lasting impression. It will also give you a much better idea of whether this is somewhere you want to work.
- Ask specific questions
The second interview will typically provide you with more opportunity to ask specific questions, so now’s the time to get some answers related to the key deliverables of the role as you understood them from the first interview. Besides demonstrating your engagement in the process, this shows that you’re current with what’s going on with the organization.
- Personality orientation
Contrary to popular belief, job interviews don’t have to be boring, nor should they be. Whoever is sitting on the other side of the table is just as interested in your personality as your resume.
Of course, you’re going to want to act like a professional. If you’re interviewing with members of your potential team – those you’d be working with daily – they’re going to want to see that you’re someone who loves to collaborate and is easy to get along with. If you’re sitting down with executives, demonstrate your ability to get things done, as well as a desire to take ownership and drive results.
- Send thank-you note
A little thank-you goes a long way! Many interviewees are hesitant to do this following their second interview, thinking it comes off as needy and annoying.
Our advice: don’t play into the fear. Take a few minutes a send a note to everyone you met with. It will only make you stand out more. Read our previous blog How to Write a Winning Thank-You Note in 5 steps