The Second Interview 101: Everything You Need to Know

August 17, 2017 by
The Second Interview 101: Everything You Need to Know
Rodney Boman

So you went and scored yourself a second interview.  Congrats!  But if you thought the stress and pressure you felt during the first round was intense, just wait. Knowing you’re just a single interview and decision away from scoring that offer can jostle even the coolest, most experienced job hunter.

As it turns out, you’re in luck. We’re here to apply some serious confidence bug spray to those nervous butterflies that may be rustling around your stomach.  Being prepared for the particular hurdles you’ll face, and the approaches you should take to both questions and answers on both sides of the table will help dispel the nerves and improve your performance and ultimate chances for getting the job. Read on for the five essential tips you need to help you hit a home run during your second interview.

Revisit Your Successes…

In preparing for your second interview your first step should always be revisiting the stellar performance that got you the call back in the first place.  If you’ve been meeting with various recruiters, companies or individual HR or company representatives, the individual experiences can all start blending together.  Reviewing your notes can help you recall specific details that can potentially be worked into conversations in your next round to demonstrate your ability to retain information and attention to detail skills.

Going over your first interview with a fine-tooth comb can not only help refresh your memory on particular conversations with various interviewers, it can also help build your confidence.  Nothing says “I got this” to a self-doubting brain quite like knowing you’ve already conquered the interview hill once, and come out the other side a career making mountaineer.  Remember the way your potential new boss seemed genuinely interested in what you had to say or your prior experience.  Revel in a few moments of success; you did, after all, earn it.  This confidence will come in handy as it shows through in your easy, approachable manner during the callback.

…But Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Done congratulating yourself? Now it’s time to get back to the work of prepping for your interview. It is, after all, the last hoop you’ll have to jump through before landing that job. When it comes to performing like a rock star during your second interview, however, it turns out the power is in your own hands..or scrolling fingers.

Even if you’ve done a fair bit of research for your first interview, there is still useful information to be discovered about your new potential employer.  Your first pass probably involved perusing the company website.  For your second interview, look into news announcements, blogs, forums, and more. Knowing your interviewers, information about their background, education or specialties can help give you a leg up, especially if you uncover a commonality or two.  Having this information can help you ask more insightful follow-up questions and can also guide you in what qualifications or background details you should stress or downplay in the next round.

Know What You’re Worth

While the first interview is often a chance for you and the interviewer to get to know each other, the second round is where you’ll get down to brass tacks.  Specifically, here we’re talking salary and your expectations for the position you will be interviewing for.

Heading into the second interview you should have a few key salary figures in your arsenal.  First, check out the average salary range for your desired position.  There are a host of online forums, blogs and salary statistics sites out there but we’re partial to SimplyHired’s expert salary finder for this particular task.

The last two salary numbers you should know are your upper and lower range, based on the compensation you’ll need in order to accept the position and your research into the fair market value of the role.  While any job is better than no job, a company providing significantly lower than the average compensation for the role may be a red flag as to the quality of your new potential company or the expectations of the role. Be prepared to provide these numbers if requested and don’t be afraid to ask for a potential salary range at this point as one of your last questions. A quality employer won’t fault you for wanting to end the process with your eyes wide open.

Keep Those Questions Coming

Sure you may have come up with a few humdingers in the question department for your first round of interviews, but that’s no reason to stop now.  Most interviewers will often ask towards the end of your time together whether you have any questions about the position or company, regardless of whether it’s your first, second, third or tenth interview round.  Being prepared for this eventuality will avoid awkward stumbling while you frantically try to come up with snappy and relevant queries on the spot.

Since it will be your second time in the hot seat, be sure that your questions are more specific to the company, team and specific position.  Avoid asking anything that you should already know from doing your own research on the company’s website or by thoroughly reading the job listing.  Still need a few ideas for second interview questions?  We’ve got a few of our favorites below:

  • What is the next step in the hiring process? – Always a go to and shows that you’re motivated and have good follow through skills.
  • Do you have a projected start date for the position? – Another great question to show that you’re really, really interested in the job and already prepping for the eventuality of an offer.
  • Is there anything additional you think I should know about the position? – While this may seem like a bit of a cop out, asking for the interviewer’s perspective can throw the ball back into their court and also indicates that you’re truly interested in their opinions.

Remember, You’ve Got This

To modify a popular saying, confidence is the most attractive suit you can put on to your second interview.  Of all of the hundreds of applicants and fewer qualified first interviewees, you were called back for a second look.  This means the employer or company already thinks you’re qualified for the job, now it’s time to seal the deal.

If the opportunity presents itself, open a dialog about how you’d tackle a specific issue in the position.  If you’re knowledgeable in the subject, you’ll come across as a team player and show both expertise and investment in the company and role.  Each of these qualities will go a long way in helping your potential employer picture you in the position.

Just like in your first interview, preparation, and the confidence it inevitably brings will be essential to helping you earn that offer.  Cockiness is never an attractive quality, but having that knowledge that you’ve made it this far, already, can help put a figurative pep in your interview step.  Take a deep breath, do your research, get your questions ready and you’ll be prepared to excel and conquer in your important second round interview.


This article was written by Jolene Pilgrim August 16, 2017