How to prepare for the second interview for a job
You left them wanting more, now it’s time to deliver.
You’ve gotten called back for a second job interview—Woohoo!
But don’t get too cocky. This doesn’t mean you’re a lock; it simply means they liked what they learned in the first interview and want to learn more.
Keep in mind that your first interview was a step in the door—now you need to walk through it.
Cram for the test
Use the time between your first and second interviews to follow up on any pain points your interviewer mentioned and see what’s new with the company. Look for ways your expertise and achievements can address these issues, says Michele Gorman, managing director of Leveraged Potential, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC.
Know your (new) audience
If your first interview was with a hiring manager, you’ll likely find that the second interview is much more in-depth—you’ll probably meet with potential co-workers and managers, as well as key players in other departments.
If your first interview was a phone or Skype screening and your second interview is in-person, you might meet with the hiring manager or human resources representative as well as people in the department you’d work in.
You'll most likely be meeting with the big decision makers, so leave what you have in your resume and cover letter behind, says Tim Backes, hiring manager at Resume Genius in Wilmington, Delaware. Consider high-level problems that these more senior members may be thinking about and how you can help solve them.
“The big dogs want to see if you are as smart and qualified as those numbers claim,” he says.
Show you’re a cultural fit
You’ll likely also meet with possible co-workers and managers to see if they approve of the hiring manager’s decision.
“Be your best self,” Gorman says—you’re looking at a place where you’ll be spending a lot of your time if you get the job. Look for hints about the company culture, and draw parallels to your working preferences or interests to demonstrate fit during the interview.
“The second interview is the time to sell yourself as a person, and not as a list of accomplishments,” Backes says.
Everyone who gets to the second interview will be at least as qualified as you, so you need to show that you have what it takes to go above and beyond what your competition brings to the table.
Have your “number” ready
In this interview, they may use a question about the salary you’re expecting to help narrow down their decision. It’s fair to answer with a range until they decide that you’re the one they want, Gorman says—hold onto negotiating power as long as you can. Researching benchmarks before the interview can help you name a range that is competitive without pricing yourself out of the market.
Nail these steps and you may be asked back for a third interview, or—better yet—you may even land the job!