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What is a second interview?

Second Interviews

Rod Cornwell (International Director, Thomas International) gives expert video advice on: What should I expect in a second interview?; What does offering me a second interview mean? and more...

What is a second interview?

Picture this: you've got to the end of the first interview and you've been in control of the process, you've done all your homework, you've gone through the interview procedure, you've answered lots of questions and the interviewers really quite like the look of you. They may, at that time, ask you to come back for a second interview. Alternatively email you or even telephone you later on in the day and request that you come back for a second interview. This essentially means that the interviewers haven't quite made up their mind yet and they want to know more about you. A second interview is a very, very positive sign.

What is the purpose of a second interview?

The whole idea of a second interview from an interviewer's point of view is to see if we can see a consistent performance from you. You've done your first interview, and you've obviously done really well because they're seriously considering you for the role. They want to get you back in for a second interview now to see if there's a consistency in behaviors -- the way you answered your questions, the way you conducted yourself, the way you performed, how much research you've done, how prepared you were, how professional you are. What they're looking for is a mirror of the first. What they're looking for is to dig a little bit deeper in order to find out if that was the real person we saw the first time. Is this person consistent?

What should I expect in a second interview?

What you can often find at a second interview is that your original interviewer will try to make you feel more relaxed. Please don't fall into that trap. "Hello, nice to see you again," all that sort of stuff, "really pleased you could come back and see us again," you're thinking, "ohh, I feel quite confident!" Forget it! There after you and they want to see consistent performance. What you need to do is go through all the process that you had with the first interview, i.e. preparation, making sure you've got all your questions ready, and that you've rehearsed the entire process. Don't think that a second interview is going to be any easier because it isn't. The second interview is going to get right under the skin of you as an individual. Some of the answers that you gave in the first interview that you thought were okay, they're going to want to know more about. They're going to want more clarification, and they will want to dig deeper into some of the responses that you gave the first time around. So be absolutely prepared. Be really, really sharp. Don't be over-familiar with these people, even though you've already met them once.

What does offering me a second interview mean?

You finished your first interview and they've responded with a telephone call or an email or a letter saying, "Please come in. We'd like to see you for a second interview." What they're really saying is, "We like what we saw in the first instance. We see some promise in you as an individual. We're seriously considering you for the role, but we want to make sure that we've made the right decision." That's what a second interview is all about; it's clarifying and making sure that they're not going to make a mistake. They want to know more. They're interested in you.

Do I need to prepare anything differently for a second interview?

When preparing for a second interview, you need to consider some of the answers that you gave in the first interview and what the interviewers could interpret those answers as being. They may want to dig a little bit deeper into some of the responses that you gave the first time around, so make sure that you have notes available that hopefully you've made at the end of your first interview in order to prepare from those, thinking about the way the interviewers reacted to some answers that you gave. They will seek further clarification on some of the points that were raised in your first interview, so be prepared to approach questions a little differently.