Interviewing > Second Interview

Preparing for the second interview

Being asked back to a second interview means that you are qualified for the position, and that those who conducted your first interview think you have the potential be a "good fit" with the organization. The second interview is designed to:

  • see how you "perform" in a longer interview situation;
  • have you meet and interview with more people in the organization;
  • confirm that your background, skills and personality will, in fact, mesh with the job and organization.

Often a second interview will be used to make a final hiring decision between two or three finalists.

A second interview is structured as follows:

  • It is usually held at the employment site, is often several hours long and may include a meal.
  • Typically, time is scheduled so that you have a series of meetings, including one with personnel, one with the person to whom you will report, and one with a higher-level manager. You may also be introduced to recent hires to give you a sense of what an entry-level position is like.

Prepare for a second interview in the same way as you prepared for the first.

  • Use what you learned in the first interview to refine your ability to relate your skills, interest and experiences to the qualifications necessary for the position. Practice some more if necessary.
  • Read any information about the job/organization given to you in the first interview.
  • Use an on-line database and/or the Internet to search for recent articles about the organization. Keeping current on the organization may help in making conversation and answering questions.

Miscellaneous tips for second interviews:

  • Make any necessary travel arrangements before the interview. Get directions and a copy of the interview schedule, if possible. If you must fly or take a train to an interview, it is sometimes appropriate to ask for help in paying your travel expenses.
  • Dress as you did for the first interview. You can even wear the same outfit, if necessary, but try to wear a different tie or scarf to change the outfit a bit.
  • The same rules outlined above apply about what to bring in to a second interview.
  • Always be on best and most proper behavior, even if you are having lunch with an entry-level person and/or alum from your college who invites you to "go ahead and ask the questions that are really on your mind." This person is still a representative of the company and may have input into the hiring decision.
  • If a meal is part of your interview, follow the lead of the senior person present about what to order. If you are asked first, order something easy to eat (no soup or spaghetti). Remember you're there to talk, not to have a culinary experience. Never order alcohol, even if someone else does or if you are encouraged to do so. There will be time after you are hired to go to cocktail hour with your colleagues.
  • Send a thank-you letter to every person with whom you interviewed. If some of your interviews involved several people, it is appropriate to send the thank-you to the senior person, and ask him/her to thank the other members of the group on your behalf