Second Interviews - What You Need To Know

Second Interviews – What You Need To Know

Have you been called for a second interview with a prospective employer? In most circumstances, it means that the recruiter is seriously considering you for the position. So take a moment, congratulate yourself and then get to work preparing for the important second interview. Here’s what you need to know.

Why a second interview?

There are a number of reasons employers ask candidates to return for a second interview. These may include:

  • The first interview will have covered the fundamentals of your CV but the recruiter may want to discuss it in more depth. They want to find out specifically what you can bring to the role.
  • The recruiter is looking for the right fit. The first interview determines if you have the qualifications for the role. The second interview is an opportunity for a recruiter to learn more about your personality and technical skills.
  • The recruiter might also want you to meet with more senior members of staff.
  • Additionally, a second interview allows the recruiter to identify the skills and abilities that make you stand out from the competition.


What to expect in a second interview?

  • The second interview session may be longer than the first one. Prepare for a longer session as the recruiter deep dives into your background.
  • Expect a different set of faces. Although the same recruiter may be present at both interviews, don’t assume this will be the case.
  • You will be asked rigorous questions that will challenge you and asked to be specific in your answers giving detailed examples.
  • You may be asked to solve a problem of some kind and/or demonstrate the skills you have already discussed in the first interview. In these cases, the recruiter is trying to determine which skills you use to problem solve.
  • Second interview questions focus on your career and you may be asked questions such as:
    • What are the main attributes you think are needed for this role?
    • What are your career aspirations?
    • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • What are your salary expectations?
  • The second interview aims to explore the strengths and weaknesses you were asked to list in the first round.  They may ask you to describe how you would handle a hypothetical situation where a project’s priorities change or how you would deal with multiple tasks with the same deadline.
  • You may be challenged in the second interview to discuss what you would change about the company. You could be asked to discuss the company’s mission, their competitors and why you want to work there.

5 Tips for successful second interviews

  1. Be prepared. Do your research on the employer and come to the interview ready to answer any questions about the company. If you haven’t done so already, learn about the company’s history, operations, products/services, employees, customers and competitors. Furthermore, know what their company goals are and how they plan to achieve them.
  2. Write out a few practical examples of how you applied your skills in your past roles. Think of the strengths you drew on to deal with a professional problem and which skills (soft skills and technical skills) helped you solve the problem. You can bring in notes to the interview to help jog your memory on the day.
  3. Don’t assume they know the answer. As you may be speaking with a completely different group of interviewers this time around, don’t be afraid to repeat something you already explained in the first interview.
  4. Always ask questions at the end. Asking questions demonstrates your genuine interest in the role and motivation to join the company. It can also be a good way to segway into a discussion about something on your CV that wasn’t brought up during the interview.
  5. Furthermore, be open and honest about your expectations for the role if asked. The second interview is an opportunity to discuss salary expectations, working hours, employee benefits and other employee package details.


Finally, remember to keep your interview attire business-like and read over the tips for how to convey positive body language throughout.

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