Preparing For A Second Round Interview

Making it to the second round of a job interview can feel like you’ve already hit the jackpot. It can be easy to think the position is already yours, but without preparing just as thoroughly as you did for your first interview, your second can cut you from the running.

Second interviews usually tend to be more technical, where interviewers will go into greater detail about how your skills will transfer to the job you’re applying for. It’s also a chance for the interviewer to see how compatible you are with the company, team and culture. You’re most likely not the only candidate to be called back for a second-round, so bringing your best is key to stand out above the competition. While your first interview was most likely conducted by a member of the HR team or a Hiring Manager, your second may see a high ranking executive in attendance to ask you more technical questions about the role you will be filling which means your answers need to be more detailed then they were in your first round.

Taking mental notes in your first interview (and then physical ones once you’ve left) can give you prior knowledge of what questions may be asked in a follow-up. It’s a good practice to get into as the information is still fresh in your mind.

If you have never had a second-round interview before it can be tough to know what to expect as they vary throughout industry and position. Some may be with a group of colleagues you will be expected to work with if you are successful in your application, more often they are with senior management and presentations are becoming popular as a tool in second-rounds, but this does depend on the role you’re applying for. The hiring manager or recruiter will advise you on this.

Highlight Your Skills:

  • Begin to prepare by going through your CV and noting examples of your achievements in each area of your previous (relevant) responsibilities. Take a moment to think about what you’ve learned from the challenges you’ve previously faced, both good and bad to show your motivation to learn and grow in your new role.
  • Be prepared by having multiple (relevant) examples of how your skills were used to assist you with tasks and projects in your company, focusing on those that relate to the job you’re applying for. Keep in mind you need to outline how you will transfer your skills and expertise and use them to be a success in your new role. Be technical in doing so by including figures and statistics to highlight your achievements.
  • Outline how you will get up to speed within the role and how you plan to generate results during your first couple of months.
  • If you’re meeting different interviewers, have different examples to give. Refrain from telling the same story multiple times as it may come across as not having a variety of experience.
  • Expert more open-ended questions that may challenge you about your experience.
  • (*Insider Tip*) – prepare cue cards ahead of your interview with key information points you wish to remember to keep them fresh in your head while you’re waiting to go in to your interview.
  • You may be nervous but aim to keep your answers short, relevant and to the point to avoid rambling. Practice your key talking points outloud beforehand, this will help you feel more comfortable and ensure your points make sense (a good idea is to say these to a friend or family member.) It also helps you be more confident in what you’re saying.
  • Show that you can hit the ground running in terms of facing the current challenges of your new role, demonstrating awareness and understanding of these challenges and having solutions to them in mind shows insight and understanding.

Show Off Your Personality:

  • Keep positive and enthusiastic throughout the interview, even if you are finding the questions challenging or you’re not sure about how the interview is going. Show your personality as this can be a deciding factor for management when assessing your compatibility with the company and team.
  • Leave on a positive note and show your interest in not only the position your applying for, but the position in that company.
  • Make a connection with your interview(s) and show that you’re knowledgeable committed and a perfect fit for the company and role.

Does The Company Suit You?:

  • While your interviewer is assessing your suitability to the role, it’s important you also assess your suitability to the company. Ask yourself why you wish to work there and keep your mind open.
  • Ask questions to get any answers you may need when considering your suitability to the company. Discuss what will be expected of you, your daily responsibilities, the company culture etc.
  • Once the interview is completed, have a think about whether you’d be happy to work there. If you’re not feeling comfortable then it may be time to discuss this with your recruiter.
  • Second round interviews can be seen as a opportunity to deal with any second thoughts you may have had after your first interview. Draw up a list of things you’d like to clear up when you have a chance to ask questions near the end.
  • Don’t fight any instincts if you feel the company may not suit you. It’s better to be honest with yourself, the company and your recruiter ahead of time and talk through issues rather than pulling out last minute once an offer has been put forward.
  • Feel comfortable to ask about the company, the team and management and what will be expected of you in your new role, the answers will give you a better insight into what it will be like to work for the company.

Finally, once your interview is over, don’t forget to follow up with your interviewer just like you would have after your first interview. Send a quick email of thanks to each member who was present outlining your appreciation for their consideration of you for the role!

At Recruitment by Aphex, we’re with our candidates every step of the way, from the submission process right through to the acceptance of an offer. We’re on hand to answer any questions you may have about your role, potential company, CV, or interview technique. We also provide our candidates with mock style preparation interviews with our in-house experts and engineers to ensure you’re feeling completely prepared and confident in your abilities. Want to find out more about how we can help you in your search? Contact us to set up a conversation with our team to discuss how we can help you.