21 May 2021

6 Tips To Ensure Your Second Interview Is A Success

Second Interview Tips | Exacta Solutions

Sail through your second interview with these handy tips and tricks.

Firstly, congrats! You’ve made it through the first round of interviews. After screening countless job applications and conducting an extensive series of first interviews, the recruitment manager has singled you out as one of a handful of candidates who is in serious contention for the role.

Now that you’ve secured a second interview, you may be feeling sufficiently prepared for what’s to come next. And while, yes, all your prep for the first interview will serve you in good stead, the second stage in the process deserves even more care and attention to ensure you seal the deal and land the job.

What to expect in a second interview

There are some key differences between a first and second interview. First interviews are usually carried out by a recruitment manager or HR person. These are often the gatekeepers who can best assess whether a candidate’s qualifications and personality make them suitable for the job and the company.

Second interviews take things a step further and explore a candidate’s skills and experience in greater detail. Oftentimes, second interviews will feature multiple interviewers, including managers, department heads, and potentially an executive leader. These key personnel will assess how well the candidate fulfils the requirements of the role as well as how they’ll complement the company’s wider culture and long-term goals.

Some organisations may also ask candidates to prepare a task to present in the second interview. Depending on the type of role you are applying for, there may even be a brief test held on the day. These assignments will give the interviewers a clearer insight into a candidate’s competencies and provide a jumping-off point to discuss various role-specific questions.

With all that in mind, how do you prepare for a second job interview?

Second Stage Interview Tips | Exacta Solutions1. Reflect on your first interview

In many ways, you’re at a greater advantage coming into a second interview than you were before your first. Your first interview will have given you plenty of insight into the company: what the role entails, how they conduct their business, what they are looking for in a candidate. Use these pointers to accurately calibrate your approach heading into your second interview.

By reflecting on your first interview, you may even be able to pinpoint areas you’ll be grilled on in your upcoming interview. Perhaps the manager focussed solely on your on-the-job skills, with little discussion about how you handle yourself within a team. There’s a good chance this topic will come up in the second stage. Maybe you weren’t satisfied with an answer you gave last time round. This is a perfect opportunity to anticipate areas rife for discussion, brush up your responses, and deliver them with composure when you’re put on the spot.

2. Know your interviewers

When an HR manager sets up your second interview, they’ll in all likelihood also inform you about who you will be meeting with. If they don’t, be sure to ask. Knowing who will be interviewing you is a great way to better prepare yourself for what’s to come. Look up your interviewers on the company website or check out their LinkedIn profiles. It might even be a good idea to search for any articles they may have written or are featured in relating to their work. All this information will offer invaluable insight into what you can expect in a second interview. Having a clearer understanding of who these people are and what makes them tick will make it easier to anticipate their line of questioning and the kinds of answers that will impress them.

What to expect in a second interview | Exacta Solutions3. Research and strategize

After your first interview, you will hopefully have a solid understanding of the projects and tasks that will be your responsibility should you get the job. Use this knowledge to carry out more in-depth research into the company. Analyse how the team is currently going about certain aspects of the role. This will enable you to bring your own ideas to the table and show the interviewers that you’ve already taken the initiative to think up solutions and strategies that will improve their processes or overcome specific challenges they may be facing. Your ability to pinpoint such areas and articulate a clear plan of action is a sure way to convince managers that your talent, skills, and vision will be truly beneficial to their business.

4. Get ready for more in-depth questions

Second interviews tend to dive deeper into your job experience. So, prepare for questions relating to your biggest professional challenges and triumphs. Be sure to cover all bases by preparing well-scripted answers that span the many various angles interviewers may grill you on. Think of moments from your career where you had to overcome a particularly tricky challenge at work: what was the situation, how did you deal with it, what did you learn from this experience, was there a member of the team who helped you overcome the challenge. Conversely, think of your greatest successes: why was the project a success, what did you contribute to its success specifically, why does the achievement mean so much to you. You do not want to appear as if you’re struggling to remember these instances. By preparing in advance, you will be able to confidently demonstrate specific competencies that prove why you’re the right fit for the role.

Second interview questions to ask | Exacta Solutions5. Prepare your own questions

As with any interview at any stage, you will also need to prepare questions to ask the interviewers. After reflecting on your first interview, questions or concerns may arise regarding the role as well as the organisation’s culture or how the company aligns with your career goals. It’s also likely that during the first interview, the recruitment manager would not have been unable to answer certain role-related questions. Now that you’re facing your potential direct manager, this is the perfect opportunity to drill down into the nitty-gritty of the role: tasks, projects, processes, software, etc. Stuck for question ideas? Check out our guide to intelligent questions you should be asking during job interviews.

6. Final tips

Finally, make sure to cover the practicalities. In all probability, the interviewers will have your CV and cover letter in hand. But in case they don’t, or there’s an issue with their office printer on the day, why not bring multiple copies along to hand out to those in attendance should the need arise. Likewise, have your references ready and be sure to bring along examples of your work or portfolio, if this applies to your role. The better prepared you are, the more likely interviewers will pick up on your confidence and composure and see you as an exceptional candidate.

Browse a great selection of open vacancies on Exacta Solutions today and get in touch to discuss your next career move.