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How to Prep for a Second Interview

Want to show an employer that you are the right candidate for the job? Put your best foot forward with these five tips for preparing for your second interview.

Preparation is key to maintaining the hiring manager's interest during a second job interview. If you play your cards right and vigorously commit to second interview prep, you will increase your likelihood of becoming the company's next employee.

During a second interview, the recruiter will be looking for candidates who are reliable, hard-working and who have the right personality. The hiring manager will also expect you to convince him or her that you are the best person to meet the company's needs by being able to clearly articulate your past experience. To have made it this far, you are obviously a qualified candidate for the position, so take a deep breath and do all you can to wow them during this final step. Commit to making the second interview your best one yet with the help of these five second-interview prep tips and you will be on the road to getting the job of your dreams.

1. Find out what characteristics or skills you should emphasize. To pull off a really strong second interview, you first need to find out what characteristics and skills the interviewer is looking for. Revisit the job listing; this is the most reliable way to identify which skill sets you should talk up during your interview. Does the listing specifically mention that applicants should exhibit critical thinking skills? Does it emphasize being self-motivated and able to work without constant supervision? Write down all of the skills and attributes you see on the job listing and plan to incorporate each skill you possess into your interview answers.

2. Research the company, the industry, and the interviewer. Simply researching the job for which you are interviewing may not be enough to get you through the second interview. During this stage in the hiring process, recruiters want to see that you have done your homework and are familiar with the company and the industry. You should be able to find this information by searching the company website, looking through printed materials such as annual reports from the company, and talking to friends who work there. Also, reading recent new stories about the company and industry will provide insight into topics that could come up during your interview. Finally, research the interviewers as thoroughly as you can. The more you know about their educational background and professional experiences, the easier it will be for you to engage in conversation with them and come up with questions and interview answers that will interest them. Be sure to look on LinkedIn to see if you have connections in common. These could come in handy both for conversation and when the time comes to provide a reference.

3. Practice your responses. And then practice them again. Practicing mock interview scenarios is one of the best ways to cement your answers in your head and become comfortable answering a wide variety of questions. In addition to practicing alone in front of a mirror, recruit a good friend or relative to run through a few practice interviews with you as well. Give them free reign to come up with some unexpected questions so that you can rehearse how to quickly gather your thoughts and pull off award-winning answers.

4. Learn to analyze the real meaning of questions. The key to masterfully responding to interview questions is to be able to understand the purpose of the questions. What is the hiring manager trying to learn about you? If you carefully think about the goal of the question, you will be able to formulate a better response. Your goal when answering should be to incorporate as many real-life examples as possible into your responses to show your breadth of experience.

5. Be prepared for lots of behavioral questions. Almost every second interview will include lots of behavioral questions. As the name suggests, a behavioral question is designed to elicit a telling response about your behavioral tendencies. Questions like, "What would you do if faced with a difficult situation?"Â or "Tell me about a time you changed someone's mind with your presentation skills"Â are best answered with the S-T-A-R approach (Situation or Task, Action and Result).

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