Want to make a lasting impression during your second interview? Of course you do! After all the preparation you did for your first interview, you may feel like you are already very well prepared for your second interview but not so fast. You may not be familiar with some of the unwritten, lesser-known rules of second interview etiquette. Even if you have mastered the S-T-A-R technique and have committed dozens of possible interview questions and responses to memory, you could still jeopardize your interview if you show any etiquette infractions.
Remember, the way you act and carry yourself during your interview is just as important as the way you answer the behavioral questions that will surely be thrown your way. Reviewing and implementing these ten second interview etiquette best practices can help you put your best foot forward and make a positive impression on the hiring manager.
1. Come prepared. In addition to being comfortable answering behavioral questions, hiring managers also expect serious candidates to come to the second job interview prepared with their own materials and questions. Over-preparing is always better than under-preparing, so consider bringing a copy of any document you think you could possibly need. Examples include resumes, cover letters, portfolio samples, additional questions and blank paper and a pen. You already passed out your resume during the first interview, but there is a possibility that more people will be present during your second interview, and they may want to see a copy of your resume as well.
Build My Resume2. Know the names of your interviewers. Commit the name and title of your primary interviewer to memory and try to find out who else will be interviewing you. Make sure you only address interviewers by the title and/or name they use to refer to themselves. For example, if the interviewer introduced himself as “Stephen”Â during the first interview, always refer to him as “Stephen”Â and not “Steve”Â unless instructed otherwise.
3. Arrive early, but not too early. You should plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your interview to ensure that you aren’t late. However, you do not want to walk into the building where the interview will be held until about five minutes before your scheduled meeting time.
4. Shake hands firmly. A “dead fish”Â handshake is quite off-putting and can give the impression that you are weak and impersonal. Make sure you show your confidence with a handshake that is firm and impressive, but not so strong that it causes discomfort.
5. Don’t sit until invited. When you enter the room where you will be interviewed, make sure you remain standing until you are invited to sit. This shows respect and attentiveness and will likely make a positive impression on the hiring manager.
6. Maintain eye contact. If you have ever spoken to someone who seemed distracted or disinterested in what you were saying, you know firsthand how off-putting it can be. Letting your eyes wander around the room while you are being interviewed could give the impression that you are disinterested or bored. Maintain a comfortable level of eye contact at all times, especially when you are being asked a direct question. If you are being interviewed by a panel, you should make eye contact with each person on the panel when answering each question.
7. Don’t initiate salary negotiations. Don’t be the first one to bring up salary negotiations during your interview. If the hiring manager is planning to extend a job offer, he or she will bring up salary and benefits. Do be prepared to engage in friendly negotiations if you are not willing to accept the terms offered to you.
8. Ask a few questions of your own. You are not only welcome to ask questions at the end of your interview, but you are expected to do so. Do your research before your second interview to deep dive questions about the company and the role you are interviewing for, or ask for more specifics about things that were touched on during your first interview. When you ask questions, it signifies to the interviewer that you are excited, engaged, and interested in the company and the position.
9. Ask about next steps. Hopefully, your interview will end with a job offer, but you may be asked to attend a third interview, or you may not be given any instructions at all. If the interview is coming to a close and you aren’t sure where you stand, make sure you ask the interviewers about the next steps in the hiring process. Ask when you should expect to hear from them and if there is anything you can do to prepare for your next meeting.
10. Send a thank-you note to each individual. No matter how many people assist with your interview, make sure you send each one of them an individual thank-you note. Although you (hopefully) completed this step after your first interview, it is still good etiquette to do it again after your second interview and any subsequent interviews.