Don't let a second interview intimidate you — it's a good sign! Here's how to walk in prepared and confident.

Congrats! You nailed your first interview, and now the prospective employer or hiring manager is calling you in for round two. Congratulations. Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back because this is a great accomplishment.

Now, it's time to start preparing.

What to expect in a second interview

You might be wondering: What does a second interview mean? Wasn't your first one adequate enough?

Don't question your performance. There are a few common reasons a company might call you in for a second round interview, including:

  • You dazzled the socks off the hiring committee, and now they're having a tough time deciding between candidates. In this case, you'll likely face a round of more in-depth questions so the team can make their decision.

  • There are one or two areas the managers want to explore further with you. Maybe they want to know more about your current job position. In this case, expect specific clarifying questions.

  • The hiring process could be divided into two interview parts. For example, the first portion might focus on your skills and qualifications, whereas the second round is more of a behavioral interview, which assesses how you would handle certain situations. In this case, expect questions about your attitude and work preferences.

No matter the reason, a second interview is good. A hiring team wouldn't waste their time calling you back in if it didn't see strong potential.

How to prepare for a second interview

Because there are a variety of reasons a company could call you in for a second interview, be prepared to answer any number of questions. Typically, though, you can expect them to be more specific in nature.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your second interview:

1. Review questions from your first interview

During the second interview, don't be surprised if you're asked some of the same questions you already answered during the first interview round. Again, sometimes hiring managers want to clarify your answers from that first round or explore them more in depth. Or perhaps you will meet a different group of team members during this second job interview.

To prepare for these types of questions, simply explore each of your answers in more detail. Remember, honesty is the best policy. If a company detects that you're embellishing details or if your story has changed, that could ruin your chances of securing this position.

2. Consider behavioral questions

This second interview is a chance for a company to get to know you even better. For that reason, expect to answer behavioral questions, which explore how you've performed in past positions and how you'd operate in this new position.

One common behavioral question is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” To prepare for these types of questions, use the STAR method, which refers to a situation or task you've faced, the action you took, and the result. Think through the details of four or five situations and list the specifics as well as what skills you had to apply to reach the solution.

3. Map out an action plan

Why are you the best person for this job? Why should we hire you? What can you do for us?

Expect some tougher questions to come up in this second interview, and be prepared to sell yourself. At this point, you should know enough about the company and the job requirements to map out some tentative goals. Help the hiring team see you in this position. Throw out some ideas you might have, but don't get too eager or step on anyone's toes. Instead, show that you can really picture yourself taking on this job.

4. Expect to address the salary question

If you haven't already faced the dreaded salary question, you can probably expect it to come up now. Be sure to walk into this second interview armed with the information you need to give an informed answer that also takes into account your worth as a possible employee.

Sure, there are still ways to deflect the question at this point. If you can, try to get the employer to disclose their range first. Perhaps you politely suggest: “I'm sure you have a budget in mind, so I'd love if you could make an offer based on my experience and qualifications. Then we can discuss it from there.”

5. Prepare your second round of questions

During the first interview, you probably had a list of questions prepared to ask your interviewer. Well, it's time to prepare more questions. Because you know more about the company and the position, these questions should be more detailed in nature.

At the end of the interview, be sure to ask about next steps and an estimated timeline. Chances are the company will be getting closer to making a decision, so you'll be eager to hear back.

In conclusion

Always remember that getting asked in for a second interview is a good thing. The hiring manager simply wants to ask you more detailed questions to get to know you better and determine if you're a good fit.

Walk in with confidence (after all, you've already done this once!) and honestly answer each question with as many details as possible.

You've got this!

Got past the first round of job interviews, but want to up your game for the second? Let one of our career experts and TopInterview coaches help you out.

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