Handling second interviews

second interviews

You have successfully negotiated the first interview only to find out that you have to go through it all again. How do you achieve success at the second interview stage and ensure that the desired job becomes yours?

There are five main areas to consider when preparing for a second interview.




Relief vs. fear

The first wave of relief slowly ebbs away to produce the realisation that another, bigger and more important, hurdle must now be faced. Competition will be fiercer but the good news is that you are now being seriously considered.

What else can you do to tip the scales in your favour? The key issue - as ever - is thorough preparation.

First and second interviews dissected

The first interview lays the foundations: it involves checking out your academic background, skills base and experience to see that they tie in with your CV and match the job specification.

The second interview goes a stage further and can take on different formats - you could be meeting several staff members (panel interview) or a series of one-to-one interviews. Alternatively, it could take the form of an all-day assessment centre - some have even been known to last even longer.

Whatever the format, the questions asked will probe two particular areas:

Your personality and the personal impact you make is what will really land you the job. Be yourself and let your personality shine through. Enthusiasm, positivity and honesty will go a long way.

  • Are you competent to do the job? This question focuses on your skills and experience
  • Are you going to fit in with the company? This is to establish if you will be suited to the company culture

Practical aspects

Walking into an interview knowing you have done your homework will give you confidence. Your preparation should concentrate on all the practical and intellectual aspects of the interview:

  • Find out the names and titles of the interviewers beforehand

  • Check the time and location and plan your route accordingly

  • Allow extra time for your journey in case of delays. Remember to take the phone numbers of those meeting you

  • First impressions count for so much so ensure that you look clean and always wear a suit unless the environment is particularly informal

  • Take a copy of your CV, a pen and paper - it is by no means certain the interviewer will have a copy from your first visit

  • Make sure you pick up business cards of those interviewing you, along with connecting on LinkedIn


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