You successfully made it through your first interview and were invited back for a second. Now what? How should you prepare differently this time around? Is a second-round interview substantially different from a first-round interview?
Below you will find some useful information explaining how your next interview will be a little different, and how you can prepare yourself.
First Round vs. Second Round Interviews
To get started, let’s compare and contrast between first and second round interviews, and then discuss what you can expect next.
As you probably know, given your recent experience, the purpose of the first interview is to screen applicants and narrow the batch of candidates to those who have the necessary skills, education or experience needed for the position. Thus, first-round interviews often comprise of general questions regarding the above-mentioned topics.
Second round interviews, however, focus more on personality and cultural fit to determine if you will work well with the organization and team. They also provide your potential employer with a more in-depth exploration into your skills and experience. As such, second round interviews often involve more wide-ranging and open-ended questions.
Another big difference is that while the first-round often involves a one-on-one interview, the second round may include additional interviewers, such as direct supervisors, department heads, co-workers, and other key players relevant to the role you are applying for.
How to Prepare for Your Second Interview
Now that we better understand the difference between a first and second round interview, let’s talk about how you can better prepare.
A. What is the same?
Believe it or not, there are several tips you relied on the first time that will still serve you well during a second-round interview.
Perhaps the biggest carry-over will be an ongoing reliance on the Star-Method of answering interview questions. This method is useful no matter what round you find yourself in.
Also, it is still important to ask what the format of the interview will be, whom with, and if you should do anything or bring anything specific to prepare. For example, second round interviews are normally in person, but given our new Covid-climate, it could very well be virtual, which presents its own set of preparation needs.
B. What is different?
Because of the different objectives behind a second-round interview, you should prepare yourself to answer questions that focus on fit. And so, you should do everything you can to learn about the organization’s culture. Spend time on the company website and social media pages, or if you can, talk with someone familiar with the organization. Then, once you have identified the type of qualities and attributes that mesh with the organization, come up with stories and examples from your life to evince that you possess them.
Also, because you will likely be interviewing several interviewers, you should prepare yourself for that setting. If it is in-person, learn how to look at each interviewer when answering a question, rather than just the person who asked you that question.
A second-round interview will often include questions regarding benefits and salary packages. Be ready for those conversations by researching typical salary ranges for similar positions in the industry.
Finally, practice and perfect your final pitch. By the second round, the number of candidates gunning for this position has dropped. You need to end on a high note and effectively communicate why you are the best person for the role. Reiterate your unique selling proposition, namely, what you can do that no one else can.
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