A job seeker recently wrote to tell me that she got a second interview (wuhoo!) and then asked what kinds of questions she should expect to be asked by the employer this time around. Here are some of the things she wanted to know and what she says they asked the first time around:
“Not sure if you will be able to answer, but how does a second interview differ from the first? What kind of questions can I expect? The conversation during my first interview mostly focused on my resume, work experience, and what the role I’m applying for would be like. So what can I expect this time?”
A few basics to know if you do get a second interview
Some companies actually go with only one in-person interview, but it’s reasonable to expect that most likely you will be asked to come back at least one more time after that first interview. Some general things to know:
(1) Every employer is different so there’s no way to know for sure what they are going to ask.
(2) Of course they call in candidates they’re very interested in. But they may also call you in if they’re not sure (maybe even leaning toward “no”) but something about you makes them want to give you another chance.
(3) Don’t be surprised if you get asked some of the same questions — especially if there’s at least one new interviewer. But also don’t be surprised if they really zero in on technical questions, if appropriate.
(4) Usually the focus is to narrow in on specifics of the job and how well you fit – both in skills and as a person they’d enjoy working with.
So what about questions they might ask?
I had a client who recently got called for a second interview, this time with the owner of the company. The discussion was mainly about where the company was heading and what skills he had that would especially help propel them forward. But the critical part of the interview was the fit … would my client fit well with the culture and find challenge / excitement with the boss’s vision. Luckily the answer was YES!
But you really can’t prepare for the latter part. Even the most perfect fit on paper might not click with the company culture. Still you can make sure you review everything you can about the company and remember what was discussed first time around, looking for cues as to who they really are — and ways that match who you really are well.
And if you’re being called in as a candidate who is seen as “iffy” or maybe liked by one previous interviewer but not all, you can still get the job. Just be yourself (natural conversation is best). Listen carefully to what they’re asking, trying to connect with each one (remember eye contact) as best you can. Let them see your positive energy and excitement for the job — and the ways you can mesh with the environment and potential co-workers.
Preparing for the second interview
You prepare for a second interview as you would for the first, with the addition of anything you learned first time around or perhaps found out about them afterward:
Come prepared with some new questions for them. Here’s a post on that topic to help spark ideas:
It also might help to review standard questions (and basic methods of answering them) just in case:
But mostly be fully present (to them and their questions), engaged with energy and enthusiasm, know inside that you can do the job well and want to, and just bring back the same person they already liked. The rest really is about the fit … all you can do at this point is help them see it and feel it.