How to Crush Your Second Interview (With Example Questions)

The average corporate job opening attracts approximately 250 resumes. Of those 250 resume senders, only about 4-6 people get called in for an interview, and even fewer people get called back for a second interview. At HIRECLOUT, we make sure you only match up with the best opportunities for your skillset and background, ensuring that you’re already on a path to success. 

It’s a huge accomplishment to get a second interview, but it can also be very nerve-wracking. Wondering how to leave a great second impression? Here are some effective tips to help you crush your follow-up interviews and ask the right second interview questions.

What to Expect in a Second Interview

A second interview is often much more in-depth than a first interview. During this meeting, the hiring manager will ask more pointed questions about how you will operate within a specific role. They’ll want to find out more about your work experience, knowledge, and skills, as well as how these things apply to the position and the company as a whole.

How Can You Prepare for a Second Interview?

Don’t be fooled – there are lots of steps that you can take to prepare once you’ve been invited back for a second interview. The following are some of the most effective strategies to implement to ensure preparation and avoid surprises:

Review Your Notes from the Previous Interview

Second interview tips

It’s always a good idea to review notes from past interviews before the day of the second interview arrives. 

A first interview, whether in person or over the phone, can give you a lot of information that will no doubt be referenced again if you have the chance to sit down for a second interview.   Taking the time to review notes will help you feel prepared to dive deeper into the topics touched on during the first interview (or interviews).

It’s also best to review the job posting. It will refresh your knowledge regarding the position (especially if you’ve been applying for multiple jobs).

Prepare Questions to Ask

Prepare for second interview

During the second interview, job seekers are almost always asked if they have any questions for the interviewer. It’s important to have something to say in response to this question (beyond “no”). 

Asking questions shows engagement and genuine interest in the position. It can be hard to think of questions on the spot, so it’s a good idea to have some in mind before the interview takes place.

Think of Stories About Your Accomplishments

The second interview almost always includes a question about past accomplishments in the workplace. Just like coming up with questions can be hard to come up with on the spot, sometimes questions about your accomplishments can also leave you stumbling. It’s always smart to have some accomplishments ready that are related to the position you’re going for. 

Spend some time brainstorming work-related accomplishments to help you feel more prepared. When the interviewer asks you about your victories, it won’t take you by surprise.

Review Your Resume so You’re Speaking About Your Experience Consistently

Before sitting down for your second interview, take some time to review your resume. Look at your listed jobs, the dates, and, most importantly, your listed accomplishments and duties. This will not only create a sense of consistency and credibility but allow you a chance to expand on what’s written. It’s a great way to remind yourself what tasks and projects you’ve done in the past to land this interview — and there’s no harm bringing it up again with more detail when the time comes. 

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter That Lands More Interviews

Learn About Your Interviewers

Do your research! Before going into your interview, do your best to learn about the person who will be interviewing you. It gives you a chance to determine whether you have any shared interests or past experiences (attended the same school, worked for the same company, volunteered for the same non-profit, etc.) with the interviewer. 

Tips to Succeed at Your Second Interview

When the day of the second interview arrives, it’s completely normal for candidates to feel nervous. There are some things they can do to feel more confident and increase their chances of success, though, including the following:

Dress Professionally

Professional dress is always a must. It shows interviewers that the candidate is taking the interview and hiring process seriously and really wants a particular job. 

Dressing to impress can also help the candidate to feel more confident and prepared as they sit down for the interview. A change of clothing can be very powerful. 

Speak with Confidence

This isn’t always easy to do but it makes a big difference. If you communicate with confidence, both in the way you speak and in the way you present yourself, your statements will have a bigger impact.

Sitting up straight, using a medium-firm handshake, and limiting the number of “ums” and “uhs” that a person uses shows confidence and competence. It helps interviewers have more faith in the candidate’s abilities, too.

Show Genuine Curiosity

Job seekers should also show genuine curiosity in the position for which they’re interviewing (as well as the company as a whole). Asking questions and being eager to learn more shows the interviewer that they’re serious about the role and want to contribute to the company in a meaningful way.

Potential Second Interview Questions

The following are some common second interview questions that a hiring manager might ask:

  • Remind me again what interests you about this position/company?
  • Is there anything from the first interview that you’d like to revisit?
  • What would you say is your greatest weakness?
  • Can you tell me about your greatest professional achievement?
  • What sorts of things could your past employer have done to be more successful?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a group?

Many interviewers also ask targeted questions about salary expectations as well as what candidates hope to accomplish within their first year on the job if they’re hired.

Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer

When asked if they have questions for the interviewer, these are good ones to consider responding with:

  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • How do you measure performance in your employees?
  • What is the greatest challenge I’ll likely face in this role?

It also helps to ask about the next steps in the hiring process. This helps candidates know what they can expect moving forward.

Start Preparing for Second Interviews Today

It’s not easy to prepare for a second interviewer. Keeping this information in mind — especially the list of potential second interview questions to expect and ask — can help job seekers to feel more ready to tackle the interview head-on and make a great impression.

Ready to search for the perfect job and nail that interview? Check out HIRECLOUT’s jobs and vacancies to discover your dream job today!

Related: 3 Reasons to Accept the Counteroffer, 10 Reasons Not To