Falling victim to common interview fails could have disastrous effects on your job search. You have put countless hours and considerable effort into searching and preparing to get a new job. From creating and polishing your resume to pulling off a top-notch first interview, your extraordinary efforts have gotten you this far and now it’s time for the next step: the second interview.
Be proud of your performance so far but don’t relax completely or you are at risk of falling victim to some common second interview mistakes. Even the most promising candidates can quickly be discarded from the qualified applicant list if they are not careful to steer clear of clumsy interview gaffes.
But don’t fret. These common blunders are completely avoidable. You have made it this far, and you have a good chance of receiving a job offer if you learn to recognize and avoid the following second interview mistakes:
Build My Resume1. Being underdressed. You made a fantastic impression on the hiring manager during your initial interview or you would not be invited to return for a second. However, landing a second interview does not give you a free pass to dress casually. Your attire should be just as professional and clean as the outfit you wore to your first interview.
2. Showing up late. Whether it’s your first interview or your 50th, always plan to arrive at the location 10 to 15 minutes early, and walk in approximately five minutes before you are scheduled to meet with the hiring manager. Showing up late to your second interview is a huge red flag to recruiters and could very likely cost you the job.
3. Failing to take care of personal hygiene. No one wants to smell your body odor while during an interview. Make sure you are freshly showered and have taken care of your other hygiene needs (applying deodorant, brushing your teeth, etc.) before you head out the door. A spray of perfume or cologne is also appropriate but use a light touch.
4. Getting too comfortable. During your second interview, you will probably feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed around the hiring manager. You may even feel like it would be appropriate to tell a funny story or crack a few jokes. Although you may feel a strong rapport with your interviewer, it is important to remember that you are still being analyzed and considered for the position. Always act professionally and never bring up subjects or stories that could be considered inappropriate. Avoid any discussion of politics, sex or religion unless these topics are directly related to the position at hand.
5. Asking questions you should already know the answers to. The second interview is not the time to ask basic questions like, “Will you remind me what the company does?”Â At this point in the process, you should be very familiar with what the company does and the type of products or services it offers. You should also be familiar with the basic details of the job for which you are interviewing. It’s OK, however, to ask deeper questions about the finer details of the position.
6. Failing to ask questions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need to ask any questions at all during the second interview. If anything, you should have more questions at this point because you are even closer to landing the job. Make sure you ask relevant questions that will help you prepare to accept the job if it is offered to you.
7. Being unprepared to answer behavioral questions. You are almost guaranteed to be asked at least one behavioral question during the second interview, so don’t make the mistake of being completely unprepared to answer. In the days leading up to your interview, you should identify at least five distinct experiences where you were faced with a challenge or task and rose to the occasion masterfully. Learn how to rely on the S-T-A-R technique to prepare top-notch behavioral answers that will get you noticed.
8. Asking how soon you can take a vacation. Inquiring when you will be able to take your first vacation is a quick and easy way to be dismissed as a viable candidate. Never ask questions that make you appear lazy or uncommitted to the job and your employers. However, if you already have a vacation planned, let the hiring manager know in advance.
9. Badmouthing your previous employer. Don’t use the second interview as an excuse to badmouth your current or previous employers. In the hiring manager’s mind, if you badmouth your previous employers, you will probably end up badmouthing your new employers if you are hired. Badmouthing others will also make you seem like a grouchy, negative person. Remember to always remain positive during your second interview and steer completely clear of any form of negativity.