Skip to main content

How to tackle second interviews

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 11 Jun 2019

2nd Interviews Hero Image

Second interviews are a frequent occurrence for most job-seekers, but you may still be wondering what to expect. Second interviews are often for finalist candidates and are used to find out more information about you as an individual. Whether that be a more in-depth conversation about your qualifications or if you are a good fit for the company environment.  You may think you have covered everything in your initial interview, but second rounds tend to be about tying up loose ends. The interviewer may want to know about your specific qualifications and how you have put them into practice. The recruiter may want examples of how you have worked in the past. It will be all about separating you from the other finalist candidates, so it’s a second chance for you to talk about anything you may have missed in the first interview. So how do you tackle a second interview?

Think back to your first interview

It’s important that you use the knowledge that you gained from your first interview. The interviewer will be happy to see that you have remembered what you both talked about the last time you met. Try to think about what you have already asked them and try not to repeat questions, unless it is vital to your needs at work. You can reference what they have said before and develop questions out of this. “You mentioned last time that…” You are showing them your continued interest in the job and the business, use this time to keep persuading them of that.


Thoroughly preparing for any interview is standard, especially if you are invited to a second interview, it is likely that you won’t get another chance after this stage. Make sure you have questions at the ready, just like in first interviews. You may have already asked a bunch of questions in the first round of interviews, but you have had time then and now to think of new questions. If you are really interested in the job, these may come easy to you. If not, don’t forget to plan these again, or you may be put on the spot. It’s also important to keep up to date with your research. Make sure the company information is fresh in your mind. It’s also good to read up on any news updates or new projects that have started since your last interview. Show them that you really care and review what you touched upon last time, as well as any new stuff that may come up. Always refer to the first interview and mention what either you or the interviewer brought up, keep the conversation flowing and keep engaged.

You may be repeating yourself

Understand that you may repeat part of what you have said in your first interview, in the second. The interviewer may ask different versions of the same question or you may find yourself mentioning things that you already said. They are simply trying to clarify what you have said before and potentially looking for a little more detail. Make sure you are answering all questions to the best of your ability, if there was something you forgot to mention the first time, this is your second chance! Discuss your qualifications in more detail, give them examples of how you have carried out a task and what you have done in previous jobs. Give them a reason to hire you. You may be repeating yourself a little but look for the opportunities to express yourself through this. It shows your passion for the job. Try and refrain from mentioning that you ‘have already said this’ or ‘I’ve already told you’, because they are probably asking again for a reason.

Be prepared to do something different

Some second interviews may include an activity or a different interview format. For example, if you had a group interview as the first stage, this one may be a little more personal and just be you and the interviewer. This can give you more of an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates. Some second interviews may even include an activity. They may ask you to go out into the work place and demonstrate some of your skills, or they may have asked you to do an activity before you came to the interview and the time may be spent talking about what you created. Don’t be surprised if they ask this of you, it is something that is very common in many industries.

Make it clear you are interested

Second interviews can be used to talk about the more nitty-gritty elements of hiring a new employee. They may ask you what you expect of this job role, if you can do and want to have this role and potentially your salary expectations. Typically, things that you might not have asked in the first interview. If you are interested in the job role, make it clear. They want to know if this is the role you want and to avoid wasting any of their time, make it clear of your intentions. The truth will never go un-appreciated, so if you have changed your mind about the role during this interview, make sure you tell them that it may not be the right job for you.

There aren’t really any set rules for a second interview, much like first interviews. There may be some questions that are likely to come up more than others and not all employers will ask about salary before offering you the job, so no one interview will be the same. They are likely to ask about start dates and notice periods but be cautious of any questions they may throw at you. Like first interviews, there is no set plan, just make sure you are as prepared as you can be. It is likely that you have been invited to a second interview because you are one of the best applicants, so be confident. They want to know more about you so give it to them. They are already thinking about hiring you, so give them every reason you can to do so.