Here's what a second interview really means.

After successfully getting your resume into the hands of a real, live human (hurray!), passing the phone screen, and acing the first in-person interview, you may think the job offer is in the bag. After all, why would they invite you back for a second in-person interview if they weren't planning to offer you the job, right? But, as the saying goes, don't count your chickens before they hatch. Here's what a second interview means and how you can prepare for this next round in the interview process.

What does a second interview mean?

If you get a second interview, does that mean you're going to get the job or is this just the regular interviewing process? — Spencer J.

Congratulations on acing your first interview round! Take a second to pat yourself on the back — you've earned it. However, don't start celebrating just yet

A second interview is a great sign, but it does not mean you got the job. Every company is a little different when it comes to their hiring practices. Some organizations require multiple interview rounds before extending an offer to anyone, while others only require a second in-person interview to seal the deal. The number of interview rounds can also depend on the type of role that's being filled. For instance, if an employer is hiring someone for the C-suite, you can assume the interview process will be quite lengthy.

The second interview means that the employer believes you meet the core job requirements and seem interested in the opportunity. The next round — or rounds — of interviews will be spent determining whether you are the best fit for the team.   

At this point in the interview process, you may be asked to meet with additional members of the company, including peers, potential direct reports, and even your prospective manager's boss in order to gain their approval. 

The questions you'll be asked during your second interview round will likely become more in-depth, designed to drill into a particular area of your experience or skill set. Expect more behavior-based interview questions to be thrown your way. Your interviewers will use this opportunity to get a better grasp of your personality and what it would be like to work with you on a regular basis. You could have the right skill set to perform the job, but if you're not a good cultural fit with the team, things won't work out in the long run. 

Also, this second interview means it's time for you to more carefully evaluate the job opportunity. Don't get caught up in the excitement of nailing the first interview that you forget to use your next meeting to ask more questions of your own. You've already proven that you are qualified for the job. Now, it's time to make sure you truly want to do this job, should they extend an offer. Use part of the second interview to ask questions that will help you determine whether this is the right decision for your career path. This comprehensive list of questions is a great place to start. 

At the end of the day, a second interview means that you've successfully made it through one more stage of the interview funnel — you're one step closer to getting the job. Appreciate your progress and start preparing for this next round. The “Recommended Reading” section below has loads of tips to help you prepare for (and ace) your second interview.

Having trouble getting past the first in-person interview? An interview coach can help you overcome this hurdle

Amanda Augustine is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW) and the resident career expert for Talent Inc.'s suite of brands: TopResume, TopCV, and TopInterview. On a regular basis, she answers user questions like the one above. Have a question? Take a look at her career advice or ask a question on her Quora page.

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