The Second Interview (aka The Second Round Interview)

Congratulations on making it to the second round interview. At this point, you’ve made it from the resume stack, through the preliminary screening, and you are now a serious candidate for this position.

Unfortunately, so are all the other candidates that are being considered for the job. What does this mean for you?


You can’t let up in terms of your preparation for the upcoming second interview. If anything, you should work much harder to land the job, as the company is now considering you far more seriously.

Compared to the first, the second interview is more likely to be conducted by the hiring manager (the person you will work for) accompanied by potential co-workers, rather than just the human resources representative you encountered during the first interview.

You now need to prove several things to this person. First, you need to demonstrate that you can do the job.  Your confidence and presentation is one way to demonstrate ability.

In addition rather than just saying you can do something, you will deliver better results if you can give proof. Providing examples of your past successes can make a huge difference. Even if the job will require you to complete types of that you’ve never done before, you will still want provide examples from your past that at least somewhat relate to this responsibility.

Note that you can use some examples from the first round interview, but you do want to have several new ones ready as well.

Second, beyond demonstrating just the ability to do the job, you need to prove that you are someone this person can rely on to deliver results. You need to show that you will put in the time and energy to get the job done, and that if something goes wrong, you will be standing there trying to fix it.  If there was anything mentioned in the first interview that you can research and discuss better in the second interview, do it.

Trust in the workplace is very important to a successful working relationship. Recognize that the hiring manager’s credibility is partially at stake in this hiring decision. Think about what they are afraid of and prepare answers that address those fears.

Third, you need to show that you actually care about this job and this company.  Hiring and training employees is an expensive investment. You need to demonstrate that you are worth it. Doing homework about the company before you walk in the door can make a huge difference.  You need to be able to speak to what makes you excited about working there and how this company is unique from others in the marketplace.

Finally, you need to demonstrate that you are someone who they would like working with.  The people at this company are going to spend a lot of time with the person who they bring on. So a strong personal fit is important.  Knowing and using the lingo the company uses will help your cause.

Research the people who you would be working with can make a big difference as well. It will help your cause if both you and the hiring manager are Duke basketball fans or Beatles fans. If you do find a common interest, feel free to list it on the bottom of your resume and provide the hiring manager with this updated version.

In general, practice, practice, practice. Practice will provide you with crisper answers for your second round interview questions.