Second Interview

How to succeed a second stage interview

Published on 14th September 2016

It’s great news you have secured a final interview – well done! However, do not make the mistake of thinking that the job is already in the bag. 


By getting to this stage of the hiring process, your potential employer must already feel that you have great experience for their role. Nevertheless, you are likely to be competing with at least one or two other candidates so this is where your preparation can make you stand out.

So how do you succeed in a second interview when you already covered everything you know and can do in the first interview? Get prepared by reading my top tips for success:

1. Establish whether the second interview is the final stage of the process

While for many firms a second interview will be the final stage of the hiring process, some organisations may require you to have several interviews before they come to a decision.

2. Find out what the interview style will be, who you will be meeting and what is likely to be covered

A good recruiter will be able to tell you all of these details. Some final interviews can be less formal and are more about assessing your personality and team fit so it is useful to know this in advance. Similarly, if the interview is likely to be technical then you can prepare on this basis. 

3. Don’t forget that it’s an interview

Some final interviews can be informal and perhaps involve coffee or drinks with the team. They are keen to assess your personality and team fit so relax and be yourself, but DO remember it is still an interview situation. Getting drunk is a big no!

4. Ask for feedback about your past interviews

Get detailed feedback from your other interview/s as it is useful to know what they like about you as well as anything they are unsure about. 

Any constructive feedback can be useful, for example, perhaps you didn’t give enough examples in your answers and they are looking for more detail. If you know this, you can ensure you include more detailed examples in the second interview. Perhaps they are looking for more clarity about your experience or your interest in the role. Again, knowing where you didn’t do so well the first time can ensure you are better prepared to impress in the final stages. 

It is often far easier to have these frank conversations through a recruiter but if you are applying directly it is perfectly acceptable to ask for feedback from the hiring manager.

5. Think about what was discussed in the first interview

There may have been a gap in time between interviews and if you have interviewed at several different companies it’s easy to get confused and forget elements of the previous interview. It is important to review your preparation for the first interview and think back what was discussed and what answers you gave as you want to be consistent. 

Hopefully you will have made notes during the first stage interviews – review these as it’s important you remember not only what you said, but what they said to you. It won’t go down well if you ask a question they already answered last time.

6. Prepare some final questions to ask

As this is the final meeting it is really important for you to review the opportunity and think about any outstanding questions that you may have as you might not get another opportunity to find out this information. How does this opportunity compare with your current role/other roles you are considering? How does this opportunity support your career aspirations?

7. Look at recent press to see if there is any current news about the firm that you could mention

This will help you stand out from the competition by showing you have done your research and have an interest in the company.

8. Think about your unique selling points

As in the first interview, you are likely to be asked again, why should they hire you? Prepare your answer in advance to ensure you portray yourself in the best possible light and get across why you have the relevant experience for their role. 

Good luck!