Landing the Job: Tips for Your Second Interview

John Krautzel
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A second interview means you impressed a prospective employer with your personality, intelligence and thoughtfulness. That also indicates you still have some work to do before the job is officially yours. Land the job of your dreams by succeeding in one more step along the interview process.

Even More Preparation

If you think you prepared for the initial interview, you need to do more to impress people during the second interview. Research the company in the context of its standing within the industry. What kinds of customers does the business have? Has the company made any news headlines aside from its press releases? Review trade publications to determine the pulse of the industry.


One way to learn more about a company is to develop relationships with people who work there. That means head to LinkedIn and seek out employees who could have some extra information. Make sure these people are not the ones who will be interviewing you in the coming days. Network your way to more information. Now that you have a second interview, devote as much time as possible to securing this position.

New Formats

Get ready for some different formats for the second interview. Instead of one to three people asking you questions, you may have a group interview with other candidates. You might also have a lunch interview with high-level executives and a tour of the office, where you meet potential co-workers, colleagues and department heads. Your second interview may last all day.

Position Particulars

Know the particulars of your position and pose relevant questions to the people you meet. This way, you can hone in on the fact that your skills, qualifications, experiences and background mesh with the job. Show specifics as to how you fit with this new job. Everything on the second interview is designed to determine how you fit into the employer's big picture.

Situational Questions

During the second round, interviewers might ask you several situational questions as a way to gauge your personality. For example, "How do you describe your leadership qualities?" Another question is "How would you handle conflict among employees?" Prepare to answer honestly and be ready to impress every person you meet.

Know Everyone's Name

Every person you meet has a name. Learn and remember those names so you can send thank-you notes later. One way to remember people's names is to repeat the names a few times in the conversation. Get business cards and contact information to serve as retrieval cues for conversations you had with these people. As you write a follow-up  letter, bring up talking points from the second interview to give your note substance.

Once you get a second interview, you should be fully focused on securing the position. With the job just one step away from being all yours, make sure to give it your all.

Photo Courtesy of Thomas S. McDonald at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for your comments. The second interview is where you shine. You aren't asking questions like tell me about the position or tell me about your company, etc. You already have one foot in the door so that stuff is no longer needed. If you are back for a second chance, the company has already decided that you could be the one so you don't have to be desperate to please. Be yourself. How can you maintain calmness and composure.... take those deep breaths. Visualize how you want this interview to go and the results that you want at the end of it. Look, they know that you are going to be nervous even though you had already passed the first interview with flying colors. The second interview, in many cases, is a working interview where you will get to meet your team and find out what the position is really like. It will give you more of a sense as to whether or not you want to continue pursuing the position. Always remember that an interview is a two-way street. Ask the questions that need asked and, as @William stated, arrive with your briefcase plan and sell, sell, sell.

  • Sylvia L.
    Sylvia L.

    Throughout the second interview, it really is important to ask questions, as the article suggests. In my experience, the best questions demonstrate that you understand the position, that you want to grow and stay within the position, and that you may offer some insight that the company hadn't considered. This isn't to suggest that you ask endless questions because that's apt to be annoying. Instead, realize that each question is really an opportunity for you to discreetly boost your own skills and experience.

  • Duncan  Maranga
    Duncan Maranga

    There is a tendency to over-impress your interviewers due to the desperation to clinch the job. This could send the wrong signal to your prospective employer and may ultimately make you lose the chance to be hired. How do you proof your suitability for the job while, at the same time, maintaining your calm and composure?

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    The second interview offers a chance to show how motivated the employer and candidate are about the position. The candidate should probably arrive with a "briefcase plan" that he can show how he can take the company to a higher level in the first 90 days of his employment. Likewise, a business should put its best foot forward by offering the best possible onboarding package for the candidate.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Katharine it's a judgment call. Personally I think that the handwritten thank you note is the way to go. It shows that you really appreciate their time and that you really want the position. @Emma a second interview could be as you said but not all of them are like that. I have been on a second interview where they talk about the bigger picture and how I fit in. Sure I was taken around to see the place where I might work and to meet some of the people that I might be working with but my experience was opposite of yours where it was more of the bigger picture and to show where I fit into that picture. Every company is going to be different so if you get called on a second interview, be prepared for anything including testing on a particular piece of equipment or even being given a problem scenario and figure out how to resolve it.

  • Emma Rochekins
    Emma Rochekins

    In my experience, the intent of the second interview depends on the level of the position. For lower-level positions, the second interview typically is with higher-level staff with hiring authority. For higher-level positions, the second interview often is with potential subordinates and peers. So I don't agree that this interview is all about how you fit into the big picture, since the interview often is to determine how you fit into the smaller picture, such as the specific team or work unit. Also, this interview should be about how the company and its staff fit into your picture.

  • Katharine M.
    Katharine M.

    I agree that thank-you notes can make a huge difference- they aren't common and are a great way to make you stand out. Even more so if you refer back to what you discussed in the interview. Do you think handwritten is best, or can email suffice?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Catharine thanks for your comment. Think about what you would want. Would you want an email from that candidate or would you appreciate a handwritten thank you card. Personally I think that the going the extra mile is worth it because it is a great way to show that you really appreciate them and you really do want the position. Just my opinion.


    I've never heard about sending out follow-up letters to interviewers after the second interview where the applicant hits all the main points that were covered. This is a really good way to show them that you are really interested in the job, have great communication skills and can follow through with tasks. Would sending a follow-up email after the second interview also be appropriate or is it too informal?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Lydia thanks for your comment and a great idea. However, it has been my experience that you don't know ahead of time what you might be tested on. They might just bring you in, give you a project and have you go to town. But most of the time you won't know prior to the 2nd interview what will occur unless the hiring manager gives you heads up.

  • Lydia K.
    Lydia K.

    I would add to the list, that second interviews are sometimes technical interviews. In my field I often have to take a test or do a skills demonstration on the second interview. With this in mind if there's going to be a skills demonstration, make sure you know all the details about it. Do your research ahead of time to find out exactly what's required, and how you'll be judged or scored so that you'll be well prepared for the second round.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Shannon it is possible that you could call ahead to find out the names of the interviewers but I wouldn't count upon it. You would probably have more of a chance if you searched them online - check the company's website and use LinkedIn to try to find out some of the names. If not, then make sure that you ask for their cards when you are there. I would not contact them prior to the interview but would make sure to send thank you cards to each person involved. As for sending materials between the first and second interviews - I would only do that if asked. But what I would do is continue my research between interviews and be ready with my own list of questions for them in the second interview.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    I absolutely agree with the idea of knowing everyone's name during a panel interview. I'm curious if it is an acceptable practice to call ahead to find out who you will be interviewed by. Is it a good idea to contact the interview panel ahead of time to reiterate that you are looking forward to the interview? Is it frowned upon to send sample work or cover letters to all members of the committee before the second interview?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Hema so very true. By the time you get to the second interview, you know that it's not your skills that are in question but your personality. Thanks for the insight @Mike. It's great to know that taking time to really come up with good questions for the second interview pays off.

  • Mike Van de Water
    Mike Van de Water

    Very good article! I can tell you from personal hiring experience that a job candidate that does his homework about the company between the first and second interview ALWAYS gets bonus points. Prospective employees who have prepared relevant questions for me or my staff also get special consideration when it comes time to actually make a choice. Very good insight! I'd also add that if you can find a friend to do some practice interviews, that can really help the nerves when it comes time for the real thing!

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    I agree that it is really important to show that you are a good fit for the position. The second interview scrutinizes your personality just as much as your qualifications. Not only do you need to show that you have the skills to do the job, you also have to show that you will get along well with your coworkers.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jacob thanks for the comment. There is no set standard as to how much should elapse between the first and second interviews. Typically it is enough time that you could do at least some of the steps listed above. You may not be able to know everyone's name but you could make some contacts via LinkedIn. But one thing that is truly important is that after the first interview you send a handwritten thank you note to the hiring manager and anyone else you may have interviewed with. Have them in your car ready to go after the interview so that you can just write up a quick note and get the card in the mail. Yes you could send an email but that is just to impersonal. A thank you card shows that you really appreciate their time and that you really are interested in the position.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    There are some valid points made in this article, but how much time is elapsing in this scenario between the first and second interviews? Is it really likely you'll have time enough to extensively and subtly network on LinkedIn prior to a call back? How should one be sure the people with whom they are conducting recon work on social media are not those with whom they will interview? It seems like maybe these are some great things to try with a targeted company prior to any interview.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Abbey thanks for your comment. Linkedin is a great place to start your networking. I would think that it would be best to try to find someone who is in the same industry and same type job that you are seeking. You don't really have to "know" the person. Try sending an inmail and see if you get any response back. Most folks are happy to help out but, of course, there are exceptions to the rule. And remember, once you make the contact, that stranger is no longer a stranger. There really aren't any firm and fast rules for networking. The world changed with social media and it appears that just about anything goes. A friend of a friend or a stranger or a former coworker - networking is networking. Try it once and see what happens. Would be interested in hearing the results.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I know that networking is a huge part of getting ahead in your career, but just how far should you go with it? The article suggests to make contacts within the company, for example, by going on LinkedIn. Should you simply try to connect with just anyone that holds a position with the company, or should it be someone you have an existing connection with? Should you know the person you are trying to contact, or at least be friend's of a friend, or can you simply contact a complete stranger for information? My interpretation of the article is that you just need to find people that work there, outside of the one(s) that may be interviewing you. Is this acceptable if you don't know them?

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