Congratulations! Not only have you made it to the interview stage, you’ve made it through to the second round. You’re one step closer to landing the job. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a pretty good indication that they like you. Think of it like a second date with someone you’d like to get serious with. Now’s your chance to prove to them that you have what it takes. That being said, here’s your comprehensive prep guide to help you prepare for a second job interview.
First step: Strategize
The stakes are obviously higher. You’ll have to kick your game up a notch to match the level of scrutiny you’ll be under. Make sure you’re well prepared. Make sure you know the exact name and function of the position for which you’re being considered. And make sure to ask in advance exactly who will be interviewing you, names and roles.
If you’ve gotten word of your second interview via email rather than phone, this gives you a bonus shot at drafting a superbly professional response. If not, no worries. Just plow forward into your prep work. The key to good prep is not to stalk them, but to garner enough knowledge to show them you’re keen and well-informed. Say no to friending or Facebook lurking, but yes to a bit of light LinkedIn recon and some company Googling.
As you’re preparing to sell yourself hard in these final stages of hiring, take a minute to make sure you want this job as much as you think you do. And what salary or other requirements, if any, you would have? Go in with a list of your dealbreakers in your head.
Once you’re settled with your purpose in mind, the goal is tailor your second interview precisely to this job. Use what you’ve gleaned from your research into the company and the position to show exactly how your qualities fit their bill. Reach out to any contacts who might be of help, or who might have an inside scoop.
Second step: Plan Out Your Second Interview
Double check that you have clean and crisp copies of your resume (yes, even if you’ve already given them one in the first interview). Then determine which type of interview you’re going to have.
This might be what you had before, or it might not. It might even be with the same person. But be prepared for someone different—potentially much higher up on the totem pole.
This can sometimes feel like you’re facing a firing squad. You against a whole row of interviewers. Remember to keep your cool; they like you—if they didn’t, you wouldn’t have made it to this round. But do be prepared to withstand an absolute barrage of questions.
This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your personality type. You’ll be interviewed along with the other second interview candidates. You might even be asked to work collaboratively or interact with your competition—so they can get a sense for how well you work with others. Preparing for this type of interview might require roping pals into help.
Third step: Ask Questions
No matter what the format, you must ask questions. Make a list of the things you want to know most—and which person in the company you should ask. I.e., if you’re speaking with HR, you can ask about orientation processes, advancement and educational opportunities, etc. If you’re speaking to someone who would be your direct supervisor, ask about structure and management style and expectations. And if you get a chance to speak with potential future coworkers, you can ask about challenges and workplace ethos and things like that.
Fourth step: Shine!
The most important things to remember are just to be yourself. To remember to smile and breathe, project confidence in your posture and body language, make sure to listen, not just rattle out rehearsed answers. To give a good handshake and make eye contact. Make sure you’ve done your homework, and then walk in there and get it done. Show them you’ve cared enough to come prepared. Bring fresh copies of your resume and business cards. And when it’s all over, thank everyone politely, and immediately send out thank you notes to each person you interviewed with. If you’ve done all this, you can relax and wait to get a call—knowing, at least, that you’ll have done your best.