How to Ace a Second Interview

BUILD MY RESUME

Wondering how to seal the deal with your second interview? These five tips will put you on the path to success.

Do you feel confident in your ability to not only handle the second interview but master it? If not, you are not alone, and there are several things you can do to increase your confidence level. Many applicants are not quite sure what to expect during the second round of questions, but the more you study and prepare, the better off you’ll be. Questions asked during the follow-up interview typically dig a bit deeper into your professional past, so make sure you prepare by spending some time reflecting on your recent experiences.

Although the follow-up interview can be more challenging than the initial interview in some ways, you’ve proven you have what it takes to succeed. As long as you adequately prepare and follow these five simple steps, you will move that much closer to your ultimate goal of receiving a job offer.

1. Learn more about your interviewers. The more you know about the people who are interviewing you, the easier it will be to engage in meaningful conversation with them. Remember, you will be expected to ask questions at some point during your interview, so come prepared with questions that are designed to engage each of your interviewers. First, call the hiring manager to ask for a list of the names and titles of the individuals who will be interviewing you, then search for each individual online. LinkedIn is a great place to start and should provide you with details about each person’s professional accomplishments, educational experience, and job skills. Take care to see if you have contacts in common or similar interests. These will help you establish a connection during the interview.

Build My Resume2. Review your performance from your first interview. You obviously did something right when preparing for your first interview, or you wouldn’t be getting ready for your second. However, there is always room for improvement, no matter how impressive your performance may have been. When preparing for your second interview, carefully and honestly identify at least three areas from your first that you can improve on, then implement a strategy to help you master those areas. For example, if you had trouble maintaining eye contact during your first interview, practice mock interviews with people you trust until it becomes natural to answer questions while consistently looking your conversation partners in the eye.

3. Arrive early. Whether you understand the value of punctuality or you tend to think it is overrated, never make the mistake of showing up late to your second interview. Instead, arrive at the interview location at least 10 to 15 minutes in advance. While you are waiting for your interview, take the opportunity to review information from your resume, remind yourself of the names of your interviewers or practice answering behavioral questions. Job candidates who are consistently on time are much more likely to land the job than candidates who are sometimes tardy. Promptness is typically exhibited by the most reliable and hard-working individuals. Both traits are highly desired and appreciated by all hiring managers.

4. Prepare your S-T-A-R answers. Behavioral questions are part of almost every second interview, so plan on answering at least one or two of them. If you are unfamiliar with what a behavioral question is, now is the time to study up. Behavioral questions are utilized by recruiters to find out more about how you’ll respond in certain scenarios. Since past behavior is a fairly accurate prediction of future behavior, hiring managers hope to learn from your answers how you will behave when faced with challenges at their company. Learn more about the STAR method, here.

Some common examples of behavioral questions include questions like, “Tell me about a time you were given a challenging goal and the steps you took to meet it,” and “Describe a difficult decision you had to make at work within the last few months.” Although you have no way of knowing exactly what types of behavioral questions your interviewer will ask, there are still a few things you can do to be prepared for almost any question. Learning how to use the S-T-A-R technique will undoubtedly prove to be one of the most important things you can do to get yourself ready. The S-T-A-R technique is a three-step process that involves describing a Situation or Task that you were recently faced with, then identifying specific Actions you took and the resulting positive Results of your actions.

5. Follow up. Always follow up the interview by sending each interviewer a unique thank-you note. This thoughtful gesture may seem simple, but it will go a long way towards impressing your interviewers and getting you that much closer to a job offer. You should also make sure you understand the next steps to expect if you are not offered the job on the spot. Ask the hiring manager when the company expects to have a decision. This will help you determine how long to wait before following up with this hiring manager.

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