What You Need For A Successful Second Interview

Robin Schwartz

What You Need For A Successful Second Interview

Being invited back for a second interview is a great accomplishment. You have clearly been able to show the hiring managers that you are a skilled and capable employee worthy of further consideration. You should feel confident in your abilities and hold on to that confidence for the next round – you will need it!

First interviews are trying to determine if you can do the job and fit in with the company. During second interviews, it’s common for more senior level staff to take part in the second round of interviews. While you may encounter similar questions, second interviewers are directly comparing top applicants against one another. For that reason, it’s important to come prepared!


A company not only wants to know that you can do the job and fit in with the company culture, but they want you to want the job. Be enthusiastic about the opportunity and openly discuss how it fits in with your desired career trajectory.

Second interviews may include short meetings with multiple people and have been known to stretch out the entire day. It is important to remain energetic and enthusiastic about your conversations with each interviewer, no matter how many times you have been asked the same questions. Be as enthusiastic about the opportunity with your last interview of the day as you were with the first. Expect that the interviewers will be comparing notes.


You should be prepared to ask a lot of questions during your second interview. You want to understand the fine details of the position and the day-to-day expectations. This is your opportunity to ask questions that are more in depth about the organization to ensure that it is the right opportunity for you. A second interview is a more appropriate time to talk in depth about company benefits as well.

If you know who you will be meeting with, prepare questions specifically for them. Examples might include asking how they interact with the position being hired, asking them to summarize their career path at the company or asking them what qualities they think the person in this role should have. Ask questions that allow your interviewers to see you have sincerity and interest in the role, the people who work at the company and the company itself.


During your first interview, you may have been asked a variety of questions that required you to provide examples of your experience. It is not uncommon for second interviews to have questions which are more behaviorally based and require a candidate provide relevant instances in their previous work. For that reason, it is important to think of examples you can provide that differ from what the interviewers have already heard.

When preparing for a second interview, think back to the initial interview and write down examples of projects or duties you cited. If you feel the need to bring them up again, you should build off the instances provided previously instead of using them as the sole example.


It is not uncommon for salary to be an open topic for discussion during a second interview. You should be prepared to answer questions regarding your salary requirements. In order to avoid pricing yourself out of a job offer, you need to be aware of your value in the job market. Do some initial research before the interview to understand some of the median salary ranges for someone with your level of education, experience and certifications in the local job market.

When asked about salary expectations, don’t just provide a number. Give the interviewer an explanation as to why you are asking for a certain salary amount without involving anything personal. You might cite your extensive certifications which are highly valued in the job market or your years of management experience.

A Unique Approach

You want to find something that sets you apart from the other candidates the interviewers are speaking with. The second interview gives you a chance to really sell yourself and your skills. The company wants to see why hiring you over another candidate is in their best interest.

Think about your current role or experience and how it makes you distinctive. If you have received awards for your work, be sure to highlight them and what they say about you. Consider whether you have any personal attributes that also make you stand out from your other colleagues. Maybe you have international business experience or are fluent in multiple languages. Any unique skill may set you above the rest.

Even if you have been invited for a second interview, don’t rule out any other opportunities coming your way. It is important to consider other options just in case it doesn’t work out. That being said, coming prepared for a successful second interview will greatly increase your chances of receiving an offer of employment!

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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