Advice For Your Second Round Interview

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You’ve made it to the second round of interviews, congratulations. Now what?

The odds are in your favour, but the job isn’t in the bag yet. Your initial interview is all about creating a strong first impression, the next phase of growth is where the real competition starts.

In your second interview, you need to show that not only are you a great fit for the company but the best of all other candidates. Do more than tick the boxes of the hiring manager – stand out.

The likelihood of receiving an offer after your second interview is thought to be between 25% and 50%, so are you ready to rise to the challenge and secure your dream job this time around?

1. Reflect on Your First Interview

While it’s clear that you hit the mark in your initial interview, reflect back on even the smallest, niggling missteps to improve your chances the second time around.

Rectify your overall presentation and style of response if your answers were too brief or detailed, arrive on time if you were a little late.

Your second interview is by no means a do-over, but it can help to alleviate any concerns of the hiring manager. On the flip side, it’s also important to recognise which aspects contributed to the success of your first interview, that way you can continue the approach into the second round.

2. Plan Your Answers in Detail

It’s always best to act confident and natural, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t prepare for any potential curve balls that could come your way. It can be useful to make an immediate note of the line of questioning that directed the first interview, as the second round is likely to build on this.

Be sure to research the business in further detail in the lead-up. Read through the business LinkedIn profile, company website and social channels to understand the workplace culture and brand pillars. This should shape your answers to position you as the ideal candidate for the company.

3. Prepare For Curveballs

Between interviews, the hiring manager will often get in touch with your references. This is to gain further insight into your professional character and validate any claims you made in the first instance. As a result, you can expect in-depth questioning.

To prepare for difficult topics, start by making a list of the questions that pose the greatest challenge for you. This will be different for each individual, but ‘why did you leave your last company,’ why should we hire you’ and ‘why is there a gap between your recent jobs’ can top the list.

Answer any of these tough questions with an honest and positive response. For example, if you spent a few months on the job hunt and, during that time, enrolled in adult education courses, it is better to mention the latter. This is more valuable to a hiring manager and can incite a more positive reaction than explaining that you were unable to land employment.

4. Ask Your Own Questions

Your second interview is an opportunity to ask some questions of your own. Best practice is to prepare a few before you head in. Questions around workplace culture, challenges in the current business and growth opportunities display a keen sense of interest in both the company and position.

By demonstrating initiative and genuine interest, you reveal to recruiters that you are not willing to work in an environment that isn’t right for you. This can establish greater trust between you and the interviewer, who will understand that, if hired, you would only accept if the desire was mutual.

5. Check For Updates in Between

Always take an interest in the business you are hoping to secure a job at. Between interviews, you should keep an eye on both company updates and trends in the wider industry. This will come in handy during your second interview and can be great for broader discussion.

Keep your knowledge current to show the interviewer an invaluable professional practice – adult learning. Too often, established professionals believe they know all there is to know and this can stunt the growth of the business.

If you continue to make the effort to learn during the interview process, this can set you apart from other candidates.

6. Leave on a Positive Note

Regardless of how your second round turns out, leave the interview with a positive vibe and smile. Your last impression could just push you over the line. It’s also key to wrap up all of your answers with an uplifting response and forward-thinking attitude. At the conclusion, thank your interviewer for their time and the opportunity.

Finally, often overlooked by candidates (but never by recruiters), is to clearly state that you are excited and really want the job! In an age where job seekers rush from interview to interview on the daily, this emotional intelligence could be just the thing to help you stand out.

Written By
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning , she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas.