Career Advice

6 Second Round Interview Tips to Help You ‘Table a Royal Flush’

min read
Mikaela Thompson

From feeling a heady rush that you cruised through the first interview round to relief you’ve been invited for a second Interview, you’re probably now gripped by a fear-tinged thrill with the dawning reality that you have a real shot at getting this job if you play your cards right. It’s this latter condition causing you to feel anxious and a little intimidated, right? Afterall, what does it mean? Relax, help is here! Follow our tips to dissipate those negative vibes and to trump your opponents. 

What is a second-round interview?

Companies that use a multiple interview process, base the first interview on whether candidates have the core qualifications/requirements for the open position and to weed out those who don’t. The second-round interview is employed to get more detailed information about you, your qualifications and ability to perform for their company. To this end, you may meet or be interviewed by other company executives. You should feel proud and excited that they’ve selected you to go further in their hiring process and rest-assured that they’re interested in you for the role. However, also keep in mind that others have been offered this same chance and are equally in the running. You need to prepare to do the best you can to stand out in this round of fierce competition. This raises the question, what will help me look exceptional in this second interview?

6 second interview prep tips:

1) Request the agenda from the person who scheduled your interview. This way you’ll know what to expect and there’ll be no nasty surprises.

2) Research, then research some more! Find out as much as you can about the company e.g., put the name of the company into Google and Google News; check out message boards to see what’s being discussed; use your connections to find out extra information from industry and company insiders on management and staff etc.

3) Review and strengthen your responses to interview questions using the STAR method to keep you focused. Brush up on your responses to questions from the first interview round, especially ones you found challenging. This next round gives you the opportunity to improve and expand on your previous responses. As well, remember to answer these questions as if it’s the first time you’ve been asked them. The first-round interviewer is unlikely to have shared your questions and answers with subsequent interviewers so impress with your enthusiasm and knowledge and don’t show any irritation or boredom at having to answer the same questions again. Additionally, prepare to answer variations of these questions.

4) At this interview, count on your technical skills being assessed. Prepare for specific work-related tasks they may ask you to perform e.g., when applying for a developer’s position, you may need to solve some associated problems; for a language-related job you may need to do a writing test etc.

5) Be ready and dress appropriately for a lunch or dinner interview. Some companies do this to assess skills in a social but professional setting e.g., how you get along with potential workmates and work in a group situation as well as evaluating your table manners. Be careful not to slop your food on the table or slurp your drink; order appropriately and don’t order alcohol. 

6) Prepare a set of 5-10 well-considered questions to ask the interviewers. Some provocative, interesting questions could spark the interviewer/s’ curiosity, make you a memorable candidate and give you an edge over other applicants. For examples of good questions to ask check these out: 

What to do during the interview:

1) Be confident, enthusiastic, and calm. Use both your body language and voice to show everyone you meet at the company how much you want this job, how excited you are to be there and to project confidence. Positivity is infectious! Interviews may take between 2 and 8 hours with various interviewers or a panel of them. It’s important to keep your energy up across this period.

2) Apply effective strategies for group/panel interviews. This includes making eye contact with, and directing your responses to, all members of the panel. You’re hoping to develop a good rapport with each of them since they’ll all be having a say in your selection.

3) Provide concrete examples of your qualifications e.g., how you’ve used your strengths and previous work experiences to overcome difficulties and achieve success e.g., in past courses, volunteer work, projects, internships etc.

4) Display your leadership and interpersonal skills in on-site group activities. Social interaction with other candidates may be expected of you e.g., case analyses or social receptions. You will be evaluated on associated skills, such as, listening to and including others, reaching a consensus, making incisive statements, and offering creative solutions - all of which will be valued.

5) Ask questions. This will show your genuine curiosity and interest in the company and role. Judicious questions can also showcase your market, industry and company knowledge and intrigue interviewers.

6) Be mindful that all eyes are on you and constantly evaluating your performance. Keep yourself in check no matter who you’re talking to.

Post-interview reminders:

Just as you should’ve done after your first interview, take the following steps:

1) Send thank you letters/emails to all the interviewers you met to show attentiveness, gratitude, and a sincere interest in the position.

2)  Follow up. Keep up occasional communication with the potential employer e.g., send any updated information, like, accomplishments, awards etc.; find out if there have been any updates concerning your status.

3) Reassess whether this position and company are still a good fit. Don’t ignore any niggling gut feelings to the contrary. This doesn’t mean you should say no to the job. You can ask for further meetings with people you’re going to work with to help you decide.

What to do if you get a job offer.

You don’t have to accept a job offer immediately, especially if it’s been made on the spot. Request some time to think about it; ask when they need to know your decision by. This will give you the necessary time to think-over the contract conditions etc.

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