Well done! You smashed your first interview and have now been invited back for a second. Whilst this is a good thing, the second (or even third) interview can cause some nervousness and anxiety as where you knew what to expect from a first interview scenario, you have no idea what format a second is likely to take.
Doing well in an interview is all about preparation, so what should you expect from a second meeting?
Whilst first interviews often follow a similar format, second interview formats will entirely depend on the assessment needs and culture / style of the company.
Some companies will run with a super relaxed approach where the interview is more about meeting the team and determining cultural fit, others might dive into your history as deeply as possible delving right into your projects to determine specific appropriate skillsets and some companies like to employ a panel scenario in a second interview to determine not just fit, but how you respond to a pressure situation.
Whatever the approach, you need to be prepared to face it. Be flexible, thoroughly prepare examples from your own history and also research in as much depth as possible about the company you’re interviewing with.
If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to simply ask your company contact or recruiter what format the interview will take. Most companies have no issue providing this info, as in a second interview situation, they want you to feel comfortable.
2. Technical Questions
Technical questions in a second interview are usually much more in depth than the first. Where in the first interview the objective was to determine if you might have the right skills for the job, the objective in the second is to confirm it without a shadow of a doubt.
Questions will tend towards specific career examples like “when you worked on ____ project and encountered ____ problem, how did you solve it?” or “provide an example of a significant conflict and how you resolved it?”
When answering these questions, be as specific and clear as possible. The second interview is the time to really showcase the depth of your knowledge and ability.
3. Behavioural Questions
Many companies take a behavioural analysis path in the second interview. Having established a good grasp of your technical capabilities, they now want to determine how you might react in certain situations / if you will be a good cultural fit for the team.
It’s hard to prepare for theoretical / soft skill questions – i.e. “what would you do if confronted with ____ issue” or “employee a and employee b are having a major internal conflict, how do you resolve it?”
There is no right or wrong answer in this scenario. It entirely depends on what the company needs for the role. The best thing you can do is to be yourself. Think about the questions being asked in the overall context of the role / mission statement of the company and answer honestly and consistently.
How long is a piece of string? Not necessarily definable – just like the length of a second interview. Many more formal second interviews will be longer but if they are just bringing you in for a meet and greet, it could be quite short. Don’t stress if this is the case. Short can be sweet. Just focus on showcasing your skills and personality in whatever time you are given.
5. Court the Interviewer
A second interview is where you want to spend a bit of time really courting the hiring manager. People love to talk about themselves so don’t be afraid to ask questions that helps to cement you as someone they genuinely like as a person and not just professionally.
Ask what they love about the culture of the company, what their achievements have been, how they feel they have made an impact and how they were supported to do so. They will feel your interest and in return, you will get a first-hand picture of what it is like to work there. This will help you decide if you want to work there should you receive an offer.
Finally, the ideal scenario after a second interview is for both parties to know exactly where they stand. Ensure that you ask what the next steps after this interview are should you be successful and likewise, provide them with the necessary information (salary expectations, start dates, notice periods, if you’re interviewing with anyone else etc) that they require to move to the next step.
As always, finish the interview with a smile, a thank you and a hope to hear from you soon.
Moving jobs? Or looking for further career advice?
Feel free to get in touch with the ALRA team. We will help however we can. 🙂
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