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The Importance of the Second Interview

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What it means to reach this stage of the process and how to prepare for it

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What it means to reach this stage of the process and how to prepare for it

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Career Resources

Interviewing

What it means to reach this stage of the process and how to prepare for it

By Kirsten Malenke

Perhaps you're still breathing a sigh of relief after finishing your first interview, when you receive a call inviting you back for a second interview. Congratulations! This usually means you are being seriously considered for the position. However, maybe panic is kicking in as you realize you don't know what to expect from a second interview. How does it differ from the first interview? Will you meet different people or be asked different questions? Though second interviews differ from one company to the next, ADVANCE shares some insight here on what a second interview might entail and tips to help you prepare.

What does it mean to have reached this part of the process? "Being asked to participate in the second interview is significant because it means you've made it past the gatekeepers from the first round," says Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster. "Being asked to participate in the first interview basically tells you that the door has been opened a crack. The second interview essentially says, 'We like what we see here. You're a potential fit and you passed all of our screening mechanisms thus far. Welcome to our living room -- sit down and chat some more."' It's also an opportunity to further establish a relationship based on the rapport you built with the prospective employer during round one.

What should you expect in a second interview? According to Salemi, most of the questions posed by the interviewer will probably require answers with more depth and examples, possibly building on discussion points from the first interview. It might involve another meeting with the hiring manager, and could also include interviews with people in leadership positions. Be prepared for possible group activity like a lunch, during which you might meet several people from the team.

Second Interview

How can you clinch the job? Salemi suggests preparing for the interview by having anecdotes ready that illustrate your answers in order to show, not just tell. "Instead of just saying you're an incredible team player, share an example of a time when that was truly the case," she explains.

Another tip that Salemi says might seem obvious but is important to remember: be likable. "If you go out with a department for lunch, one way to clinch the job is to show that you get along with everybody. When similar candidates are compared side by side, their technical skills are likely at the same level as one another. What really stands out? Their ability to get along with and be well-liked by the team."

Don't be afraid to show your passion and enthusiasm. "Yes, it's okay to tell them that you really want to work there!" assures Salemi. "Show some 'fire in your belly,' as hiring managers used to tell me. They're looking for that spark with someone who's excited about working for them. Make it clear that you did your homework on the company by asking inquisitive, thoughtful questions." Salemi's last piece of advice for clinching the job: be self-assured. Exude confidence in your ability to succeed at the company.

As Tiffany Gibson, lead talent acquisition specialist and creator of the "Get the Job" app advises, be consistent and remember that you're still the candidate and not the hire. Gibson says, "The best advice for a candidate is to approach each interview as the last chance to make a great impression with the business on why you should get the job!" To that end, prepare for the second interview as much as -- or more than -- you did for the first interview. Practice commonly asked questions, research the company, bring your resume, and develop new questions to ask now that you know more about the job and company. Lastly, though there is no guarantee you will be chosen for the position, bring a confidence that the hiring manager sees potential in you -- now you just need to convince them that you're the right one for the job.

Kirsten Malenke is a staff writer at ADVANCE. Contact: kmalenke@advanceweb.com


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