The Second Interview - What to expect

Second Interview

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the second stage of what might have felt like the hardest interview of your life. The good news is that you have to do it all over again, but this time with harder questions and potentially tougher people. Let that sink in a little bit; but don’t worry, we’ve got it covered!  

What’s the difference between a first and second interview?

Second interviews differ from company to company, however, the majority will be different from your first interview. Most of the prep work and will be the same as the first, and possibly some of the questions too, but you’ll need to answer them with more passion and enthusiasm the second time around.

Like any first interview, the company will want to find out about you, your work background and your basic capabilities. This is taken up a notch in a second interview when your technical abilities and what makes you stand head and shoulders above the other competitors is placed under more intense scrutiny.

Expect the people in the room to be different, too. Many companies take the opportunity to introduce senior staff, such as a line manager in a big organisation or the CEO in a small business.

Some second interviews may take place off-site to take you out of your comfort zone. Employers use this tactic to get to know the real you, rather than the nervous person in an interview room. It’s also a great opportunity to catch you off guard and to say something out of character. Remember, you’re at an interview so remain professional.

As a result of interviews evolving over the years, most recruiters will now ask for some kind of presentation or pitch during your second interview. This will all be dependent on the type of role of course, however, most interviews for sales, marketing or a business development positions, require some kind of presentation. We suggest limiting your to 20 minutes max.

Common questions

  1. Why are you the best person for the job?
    This is a common question to expect in a first or second interview. The tip here is to take the answer to the next level. The question they want you to answer actually is ‘Why are the best fit for this position rather than another candidate?’ Use previous experience to answer the question by explaining your previous role and how you solved a problem.
  1. What can you contribute to this company?

This question provides a perfect opportunity to sell yourself: your skills, your abilities, the kind of person you are, and how you are going to fit into the team. Companies always looks for a team player who can quickly gel with others to make their team stronger.

  1. What is it about this job that interests you?
    You might have already been asked this question in your first interview, but it’s always good to prepare a similar answer with some added flavour into the mix. You want to impress them even more than you did last time. Be passionate and well-informed to leave a brilliant lasting impression.
  1. Can you give an example of your problem-solving abilities?
    All companies want to know how you cope under pressure to solve problems at work, regardless of the role. Demonstrating your problem-solving skills is a big tick in the eyes of an employer who is looking for a reliable employee who can think on their feet. Whatever you do, don’t rack your brain trying to come up with something fake. The answer might be as simple as a past project with a tricky task that required your input. Explain how you stepped up to the plate, and better still, how you came up with a better way of doing the task which was more convenient for the team.
  1. What are your salary expectations?
    This is one dreaded question that nobody likes to be asked. Here’s our advice. If you are currently doing a similar role and you are moving to a different location, we suggest looking at salaries in that area for the role you are going for. If it is a more senior role, and you think this is a step up from your current role, we also suggest researching salaries and associated bonus schemes. Always be transparent with this part of the interview. Never lie about your salary and ask for an over the odds offer which could potentially damage a great interview. If the role offers more than you’re on now, be honest and just say.

Always be prepared with questions to ask the interviewer. It demonstrates that you’re prepared and that you are keen to find out more about the role.

What next?
Some second interviews will end with a job offer on the spot. Others may ask you to come back to discuss an offer with a line manager or CEO. Never accept on the day. Some people will try and argue otherwise, but we recommend leaving the interview, digesting all the information, then asking for an offer in writing. Always discuss your options with friends and family members to ensure that you don’t make any rash decisions.

We hope that this guide has helped you feel slightly more confident about a second interview in the future. It’s going to be a daunting, but being called back for a second interview means that you must have done something right in the first! Good luck and fingers crossed.

If you are successful, you’ll need to consider how you handle your first day, which can be just as daunting. Don’t worry, is here to help with a handy infographic on everything you need to know.

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