How to Handle a Second Job Interview

second interview

It’s Time For The Second Job Interview!

You did it — you got the job interview! Now they want you to … come back for a second one.
What can you expect? What’s the main difference between a first and second job interview?
And how should you prepare?
“The first interview is a screening process, to make sure you’re qualified for the job. The second one is usually to see if they like you and to make sure you fit the corporate culture,” according to Carole Martin, the Interview Coach ( and author of the new book, “Boost Your Interview IQ.”
You can expect to meet different people each time. While the first interview may be conducted by your future boss, the second could be led by an HR manager. And every interviewer has their own agenda, so keep that in mind as you prepare.
“In the first interview, you may be asked more technical questions about the position itself, to see if you can really do it. In a second interview, someone from HR may ask you more about yourself, to gauge your personality. You can expect behavioral questions, too, such as ‘Tell me about a time you solved a problem for your last employer,’” says Martin.
Are you going to hit the ground running after you’re hired? Or are you going to be high-maintenance? That’s what employers want to find out.
Here’s another tip: on a second interview, be prepared for anything, including an unprepared employer.
“Many hiring managers do not have or use prepared questions,” says Steve Kobs, a human resource management professional from Shoreview, Minn.
“Candidate perception of these interviewers varies from bumbling seat-of-the-pants types to the confident, well prepared executive. Some people characterize these interviews more like ‘conversations,’ but be aware you are still being evaluated,” advises Kobs.
Managers with unscripted interviews are often looking for personality traits rather than specific knowledge, skills and abilities. They may rely on a gut feel to make hiring decisions by choosing a candidate who “feels right” to them.
With this in mind, what are your most valuable tools in a second interview? Your ears, according to Carole Martin.
“Employers will drop clues about what they’re really looking for in a new hire. If they keep asking about your experience using Microsoft Access, for example, you can be sure that your database skills are a critical requirement for the job,” says Martin.
Make sure you understand the employer’s key concerns, so you can address them. A good way is to simply ask, “Can you tell me more about the challenges you’re facing with databases?” for example. Then answer their concerns and prove you’re the one to hire.
Here’s the bottom line.
Employers will call you for a second interview (or any interview) because they have a problem. Whether it’s a need for more revenue, greater efficiency or better customer service, employers have an itch they want to scratch. To ace the interview, demonstrate that you can solve problems and make life better for your new boss.
And while you’re at it, emphasize your unique skills and experience. Doing so will give you an edge in today’s competitive job market.
“You not only want to focus on the employer’s needs and how you can help, you also want to tell them what you can do that the next candidate can’t. You should never go into an interview bland, like vanilla, and expect to succeed,” says Martin.
So there you have it.
A second job interview is as much about your people skills as your professional skills. To succeed, be sure to research the company, ask smart questions and act the part of “Miss Congeniality.” Doing so will help you get the right job at the right company. Faster.
Now, go out and make your own luck!
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash


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