How to prepare for a second interview

Congratulations on making it through to a second interview! You clearly impressed the HR or hiring manager with your work experience and professionalism and now you need to make a great impression with a supervisor and potentially, peers in the workplace.

A second interview is your chance to go a lot deeper and explore the talents you bring to the team and the company, the corporate culture and fit and the opportunities for you to grow in your career. Here’s what you need to think about as you prepare for a second-round interview.

Review Your First Interview

Was there anything you felt you should have emphasized more in your first interview? Or did you think of a better response to a question afterwards? Take some time now to review what resonated and what you could have articulated better in your first interview.  This review will help you to prepare to speak to those points fully and clearly in your second interview.

Expect Technical and Behavioural Questions

In a second interview, you can expect to meet with the direct supervisor and/or peers—the people you’ll be working with if you’re hired—since they often have the clearest picture of the skills that are needed from whomever is hired. You might be asked in-depth questions about your technical skills, or about your ability to handle certain types of situations. If you’re applying for a management role, you should also be prepared to speak about your management style and your approach to handling problems or difficult conversations involving direct reports.

Be Ready to Talk About Your Salary While you shouldn't initiate a conversation about compensation during the second interview, you may be asked about your compensation expectations. One way to test the waters is to ask the interviewer about the typical salary range for the role within the company, but if you’re pressed to provide a number, it’s best to offer a range. Do your homework ahead of the interview by searching salary ranges for similar roles at that company on job websites such as payscale.com and glassdoor.ca.

 

Ask Questions

A second interview isn’t just about how well you’d fit into the company and team—it’s also about how well the company and team suits you and your career plans. Take the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the company culture, team dynamics, day-to-day work, expectations, opportunities for advancement, and so on.

Think Big-Picture Strategy

One way to make a lasting impression is to share ideas that can help a company remove roadblocks and/or reach their business goals. You can start this conversation by asking your interviewers if they have any business goals that you could contribute to with your skill set.  You want to be careful not to seem critical, but if you take a soft approach and only briefly touch on the challenges before focusing on solutions, this can be a great way to show the interviewer that you understand the company and are interested in helping it grow.

Prepare a Last Impression

First impressions are critical, but final impressions count for a lot too. Take some time to prepare a strong, but brief pitch that reviews why you’re the best person for the job. Those details and how they’re delivered will be more likely to stick in the interviewer’s mind, so be sure they’re delivered with confidence and enthusiasm.

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