Second interview - what to expect and how to act in a second interview

second interview
First things first - give yourself a pat on the back!

You've managed to get past the biggest hurdle of the interview process, you have your foot in the door and it's now time to 'seal the deal' during that second interview.

Whilst you have impressed the interviewer(s) enough to be invited back for a second interview, don't be fooled into thinking that all the hard work has been done. It can be tempting to get complacent, but remember, there are still other candidates vying for the exact same job.
A second interview is an opportunity for your prospective employer to 'delve a little deeper' into your personality. They have more or less satisfied themselves that you have the right skills and experience for the job, so during the second interview expect to be asked a few more probing questions than in your first.

This interview may contain additional 'off the wall' questions that may leave you wondering what kind of answer your interviewer is looking for. They will be looking for answers that give more of an insight into your personality, abilities, sense of morality and plans for the future, rather than more straightforward answers you can expect to give in an initial interview.

Below are just a few examples of the sorts of questions you may be asked in second interview in order for you to start preparing:
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and tell me how you coped?
  • Give an example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you needed to prioritize your tasks.
  • Have you ever had to deal with another colleague who did not personally like you and how did you overcome this?
  • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  • What do you consider to be your biggest mistake?
  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
Be aware that you may not be meeting with the same interviewer as in your first interview, and that you may even be joined by one or two additional interviewers who are perhaps more senior.

It's important to keep all the notes you have made from your previous interview preparation and any that you made during the first interview itself. This will help you to remind yourself of the most important points to reiterate during the second interview. Take another look at your job description and at all the points you made in order to sell yourself.

Don't worry if you feel you are repeating yourself by bringing up certain aspects of your personality or past experience that you think will help to sell yourself. Your interviewer(s) may have seen a lot of people since meeting you for the first time and may not remember everything that was said, so take this opportunity to ensure that they are well aware of all of your relevant talents.

Make a new list of examples of how you have overcome various problems in your previous job and update your list of strengths and weaknesses. You may find that the second interview will consist of more questions regarding past weaknesses and ways of overcoming them, which will require more thought on your part.

A second interview is a great way for you to gather more information about what the job entails and whether you feel you would fit in within the company. Any questions that you feel were left unanswered in your first interview, can now be asked, so look back at the list of questions you initially prepared and pick out the ones that still need clarifying.

If you had any doubts about the job or the people you met during your first interview, now is your chance to settle those doubts. If you're being offered a great salary and benefits, don't feel pressured into just taking it if offered. Listen to your instincts and pick up as many signals as you can from the people you meet.

Your second interview may entail meeting many more people than you did at your first interview. You may even be taken on a tour of the building and introduced to the rest of the team. The people interviewing you will undoubtedly want to see how you interact with others and gauge whether or not they think you will fit in with their organisation.

Finally, as with your first interview remember the basics such as what to wear, use plenty of eye contact and remember to get a good night sleep beforehand. At the end of the interview, ensure that you thank your interviewer(s) and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them again soon!

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