This is a great question. Often candidates struggle with the concept of the second interview, according to a number of hiring managers that I have supported in the past.  As a recruiter, I have received conflicting feedback about the results of second interviews with otherwise “would-be perfect” candidates.  In this article, I will provide simple yet sound advice for candidates looking to approach the second interview stage, as well as provide some reasoning behind the concept.

You’ve Already Sold Yourself!

A common misconception about the second interview is that it is simply a repeat of the first meeting you had with the hiring manager, but with different team members or other people managers.  While these new interviewers may have questions of their own, keep in mind that you have already captured their attention and sparked their interest.  Going into the second interview with a “sell yourself” approach will suffice, however, you also want to come across as unique opposed to repetitive.  The second interview will likely be less formal and more conversational; thus, you should do you best to turn this meeting into an intriguing conversation specific to the other individuals in the meeting.  Focus on how this potential job opportunity will interact with, depend on, or work alongside these professionals interviewing you in round two.

The Hiring Manager is your Advocate

You are invited to a second interview because the hiring manager likes you.  You have already been deemed qualified for the role; it’s safe to say that you are at least one of three candidates that will get the job.  The team members or managers you meet with in the second round will likely have your profile on hand and would have already been briefed on your candidacy by the hiring manager.  It’s important to rely on this element of the interview and use the hiring manager’s advocacy to your advantage.  To do this, allow the hiring manager to speak about what they know of you to the other members of the second interview panel – I’d even recommend asking the hiring manager to add anything that they have witnessed about your profile, or anything that you might not have touch on after you first introduced yourself to the panel.  This will allow the other interviewers to take confidence in the hiring manager’s advocacy, and further encourage a positive conversation.

Take Advantage of the Situation

While there will be some formal and informal questions from the panel of interviewers during the second meeting, it is important to use this time to ask questions of your own.  Too often, hiring managers tell me that they expect candidates to ask intriguing questions, especially if invited to the second interview.  Intriguing questions should be frank, honest and relate back to this job being a fit for you as well.  If you are meeting team members, ask them what they would expect from you in a day on the job.  Ask these people questions about your potential boss – figure out what it’s like to work with this manager. Ask the team, or even the boss’s boss, about their management style and expectations.  Ask about the team you might be responsible for or who you would be interacting with daily – and how that dynamic works.

Remember, if you are invited to a second interview, it’s because you are a likely candidate for the role, take advantage of this meeting by understanding how you can benefit this team, and also, how the team can benefit you.

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