Second Job Interview: What to Expect and Tips to Prepare

Congratulations, you made it to the second job interview! A call back like this is a good sign that you’re on the right track, but don’t make the mistake that the job is a done deal — the employer may still be far from a decision.

young man receiving good news about a second job interviewA second interview is an opportunity for you to meet more people within the organization, learn more about the job responsibilities and to begin to understand the dynamics of the organization. When you get the call to come back for a second job interview (or third interview), ask who you will be interviewing with and how long you should plan to be there. These two things will help you prepare.

Two Types of Interviews You May Encounter

There are two types of second job interviews you will likely encounter in your job search:

  1. If your first interview was brief, your second job interview will likely be more rigorous — possibly with new and multiple interviewers. Though these are not usually meant to be true stress interviews, they can be stressful. Many companies use a behavioral interview approach in this setting, where you are asked to provide specific examples of how you handled different types of situations in the past. Preparation is key for these interviews, review to our list of questions for guidelines that will help you prepare.
  2. If your first interview was more detailed, you may be called back to a less formal second job interview. These interviews can be more casual than the first conversation, where you will likely meet members of the team, discuss specific responsibilities of the job and how you fit in. Don’t be fooled by the casual tone, you are still “on” and being evaluated — alongside other candidates, most likely.

Second Interview Tips

If you did not ask about whom you will be interviewing with when you were notified about your second job interview, you may call the company back to ask. Knowing this will help you be prepared for a successful second job interview.

Be prepared to for more detailed questions about the company as well as your impressions so far. Do as much research on the company as you can in advance. Most of this information can be found right on the company web site or gleaned from your earlier conversations. You may also want to do a Google news search for the latest company news and industry trends.

Sharing a Meal

If you are going to be there most of the day, your interview may include lunch. The good news is that you typically would not be invited to a meal if you were not a serious candidate. The bad news: This can be the toughest interview situation you will face. It incorporates all of your social graces and casual conversation in addition to traditional interview etiquette. Topics that might be tough to address in a traditional office setting often arise in these settings. Your table manners and interview behavior say more about you than answers to an interview question. Treat everyone with the utmost respect, including waiters and waitresses. Be aware that you are being watched and listened to inside and outside the main interview process.

Some quick tips for the meal interview:

  1. Never talk with your mouth full.
  2. Remember to listen; this is an environment where you can learn more about your host. Ask questions and listen as much as possible.
  3. Order something simple to eat — no spaghetti, finger food or other messy entree.
  4. Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu, keep it reasonable. Keep in mind that you are there for an interview, not to treat yourself.
  5. Never send your food back or be fussy about the restaurant, food or other detail. Even if the situation would normally cause you to complain — don’t.
  6. Be courteous and polite above all.
  7. Do not pick up the check. Even if the check is left by you, do not pick it up or offer to share payment. It is customary for the interviewer to pick up the check.
  8. Always thank your host for their time and the meal. You may want to ask for the job (in a lighthearted way) as well…

Second Job Interview Preparation

Here are some additional second interview tips.

As you prepare for your second job interview, review how your first interview went. Think about the questions you were asked and the information you provided about yourself. Consider the information you were asked to give about yourself and what you can add to make your second job interview more notable.

You may choose to make notes before your interview such as questions you might have forgotten to ask or thought of after your first interview or areas you would like to explore. If you have these written down on a note card or small notebook, you can use these questions to help show your interest in the position.

Taking notes during your second job interview is a good idea, too. You may write down questions as others are speaking so that you may revisit your thoughts and questions to ask once they have finished talking. Also, you can write down the interviewers’ names as you meet each one. This will help you remember them later (for thank you notes). You may also write down any information that will help you with the duties of the position. On the other hand, you can overdo the note taking, so keep it simple and be sure your focus is on the interview, not the notes.

If you have any certificates or letters of recommendations, this would be the time to share them with the company. You may offer the company a copy of them so they may review them again after the interview is finished.

During your second job interview, remember always to be gracious. Shake hands and make eye contact with the person or people who are conducting the interview. Remember to say thank you for the time they have spent and the opportunity they have given you. Finally, this last bit of career advice should be automatic by now…As soon as you arrive at home, write a thank you note (a separate one to each person you spoke with) and mail it right away. They should receive it within one to two business days and will appreciate the time you took as well.

Good luck!

Honing your interview skills is one of the keys to a successful job hunt. If you are looking for additional resources to prepare for your interview, you may also like these articles: