Second Interview Tips

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These second interview tips will help you to make a great impression at a follow up job interview. 

This type of interview is fairly common. Selecting the best employee for the job can be a challenging task, and the decision can have big consequences for a business, so it is no wonder many employers often bring in candidates for a second (or even third) interview.

Why Are You Getting Called Back for a Second Interview?

Keep in mind, if you are called in for a follow up interview, you are probably very close to a job offer.

The employer wants to assess your personality in more depth.

One key thing to realize is normally, once you have reached this stage, the employer feels confident that you have all of the skills required to do the job. At this stage, employers are usually most interested in assessing whether your personality will be a good fit for the job and for the existing team of employees.

The employer needs just a little more information before committing to a final decision.

Often, at this stage in the hiring process, there is not a lot of competition standing between you and the job. In most cases, the employer will have narrowed the candidates down to you and maybe one or two other candidates. In fact, sometimes an employer only calls one candidate in for a second interview. In this case, the employer is almost certain he or she wants to hire you but wants to meet with you one last time just to ensure it is the right decision.

If your second interview is conducted by the same person who you met the first time, the employer is probably either having a difficult time deciding between you and another candidate and wants to gather more information, or the employer wants to hire you and just wants to meet with your one last time to ensure it is the right decision before offering you the job.

One person was responsible for prescreening candidates, and now other members of the organization need to meet the top candidates.

Follow up interviews are sometimes held to give other people in an organization an opportunity to meet the applicants. If you were interviewed by a single person the first time, you may experience a panel for the second time. The panel interview will give other staff members who would work closely with you an opportunity to meet you and provide input into the hiring decision.

Alternatively, you may meet someone higher in the organization. Some higher level managers let another individual complete initial, screening interviews, and then meet with a few, select candidates for the second round.

Questions to Expect on a Second Interview

The type of questions you are asked will depend largely on whether you are being interviewed by the same person you met the first time, or a different person or group of people.

If you are meeting with the same person again, expect to be asked different questions. The employer may ask you to elaborate on a question that was asked in the first interview. In this case, the question is probably particularly important to the employer, and he or she may feel that more information beyond what you provided in the first interview is necessary.

You can also expect to be asked questions that give the employer insights into your personality and work style during a follow up interview. As noted previously, employers are usually confident that you have the skills required to do the job by the time they call you in for a second interview, so questions tend to focus more on personality, work styles and decision making skills.

If you are being interviewed by someone different, the questions may be the same as or different from the questions you were asked the first time. Sometimes people conducting second interviews will ask a few of the same questions that were asked in the first interview. Sometimes they do this because they just want to hear the answer for themselves, other times they ask the same questions in order to check for consistency; that is, they compare what you said the first time to what you say in the second interview to ensure you are consistent. This technique is a way to help determine if a job applicant is giving honest answers.

If some of the questions seem to be similar to questions from the first interview, be sure to give a complete, detailed answer (do not assume you don't have to repeat things that you already said in the first interview), and be consistent with the answers you provided the first time.

Moving Forward

If you are invited to a follow up interview, be happy, you are doing a lot of things right in your job search. Review your notes from your first interview to remind yourself of the questions that were asked and the answers you provided; try to get a sense of what was important to the employer. Be prepared to provide more detailed answers to questions you already answered, and be ready to give work related examples that show your personality will be a good fit for the job and the organization.

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