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10 ways to take the stress out of the second interview

Take the stress out of a second interview

The odds are in your favor, the field has been narrowed and the final hurdle is in sight. Now is the time to rise above your remaining competitors and win your dream job.

By making it this far you’ve already demonstrated you have the right experience, skills and fit to be a serious contender for the job, but the second round is the real candidate battle – with possible presentations, group interviews and assessments to deliver in dazzling style.

You’re close, so keep your enthusiasm, attentiveness and interest levels high. It’s time to shine.


1. Review and reflect on your performance from the first interview

You’ve obviously hit the mark if they’ve asked you to return, but now is the time to think about any questions where you might improve or give a more relevant and detailed response. Were there any major achievements or milestones that showcase your particular expertise that you forgot to mention during the first interview?

2. Have a plan and know your interviewers

Go into the interview room knowing exactly who will interview you and what is expected of you. Research the individuals and continue to sell your achievements and experience in more detail than you did at the first stage.

3. Keep rehearsing your answers

Taking time out to run through your responses could be the deal clincher. Being clear, articulate and to-the-point in your responses shows you can think on your feet while communicating effectively under pressure.

4. Keep your answers fresh and think of new examples based on your first interview

It’s ok to go over old ground. But at the second interview, your prospective manager will interview you so offer a mix of old and new answers and examples to show your breadth of experience and expertise.

5. Be prepared for some tricky questions

This is essentially the last stop before being offered the job, so don’t expect an easy ride. New people may be interviewing you, and they will want to see how you respond to pressure. Keep your answers clear, concise and relevant.

6. Ask the right questions and lots of them

It’s likely you’ll have more opportunity during the second interview to ask questions. Ask about the team, company strategy and the expectations around your role. Some sample good questions to ask are, “What do you perceive to be the biggest challenges for this role?” Also, “What will success in this role look like to you within the first six months?”  Before you leave, ask about when decisions will be made and how they will let you know.

7. Check the company’s investor and social media channels for fresh insights and news updates

A good way of showing you’re interested in the organization is to discuss the news the company releases via their social media channels. Check their website, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds to get in the loop and start speaking their language. Also, how well is the company performing financially? If the company is public, you can check out their stock price and latest investor news on Yahoo Finance.

8. Are you the right cultural fit?

This is when you and the employer will make a final assessment about whether the organization’s culture is right for you. You’ll also get to interact with existing team members. Be sure to observe the interactions and language they use. Also be sure to take in the office environment. Is it really right for you?

9. Stay in selling mode

You are not ‘in’ yet so make sure you showcase your strengths and back up everything you say with an example. Hitting or overachieving targets and any statistical examples of how you’ve contributed individually or as part of a team are a great way of showing you can make a real difference to a company.

10. Leave on a positive note

At the end of the interview be sure to express your continued interest in the company (if that’s the case). Be sure to follow up with a thank you not to all interviewers. Stay positive and good luck!

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