How to Prepare for a Second Interview

In today’s corporate culture, it might not be a “one and done” scenario when it comes to interviewing for your next role. Multi-layered interviews have become increasingly common, especially in the areas of finance, accounting, and human resources. While the first-round interview will likely be more of a screening mechanism conducted over the phone or video call, with the purpose of gauging base level interest and business acumen, the second interview is the one that can make or break your hiring decision.

This is where you may be introduced to several key members of the firm, as well as be evaluated on a more stringent scale as to your qualifications for the role. If you make it to this stage at all, it’s safe to assume that you are being strongly considered for the position.

But what exactly will take place during a second interview, and how should you prepare? The recruiting professionals at AP share 4 key tips. 

1. Know Your Resume

In a second interview, you can expect to dive into deeper detail regarding your past work experiences. Be sure to be keenly aware of the responsibilities and job descriptions listed on your resume, and most importantly, be able to confidently articulate how you plan to apply what you have learned in this prospective new role.

While the initial interview may have involved surface-level questions about the experiences themselves, use your second interview as an opportunity to delve into the impact of those experiences on your skill set and acumen.

2. Be Ready for the Important Questions

The second interview is also where many employers will unveil the most important and hardest to answer questions. For example:

  • Why are you the ideal candidate for this role?
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • What are your greatest strengths – and weaknesses?
  • What is an example of a challenge you have overcome?

These questions may seem daunting at first glance, but having an idea of how to answer them is vital. However, don’t opt for a completely scripted response – instead, have a few mental bullet points regarding each topic, and speak naturally to fill in the details around them.

3. Don’t Be Caught Off Guard

Especially in finance, there may be a wild-card question thrown into the interview to gauge a candidate’s quick thinking skills and poise under pressure. For instance, your interviewer could ask you a puzzle question that does not have an easily identifiable answer, such as “How many tennis balls fit inside of a school bus?”

If you are confronted with a query like this, stay calm. The actual answer is not the important part – it’s how you get there. Your interviewer is simply looking to gauge 1) how you react, 2) how you go about solving the problem, and 3) how well you explain your reasoning. As long as you can swiftly, calmly, and confidently talk through the question, you will leave a strong impression.

4. Be Yourself

All in all, a second-round interview is an opportunity to see if a candidate is the kind of person that would be a good addition to the company culture; in other words, someone you wouldn’t mind sitting next to for the entire day.

Try to smile, remain relaxed and confident, and be yourself. The more natural and authentic you are, the more accurately and honestly you will answer questions, and the better the rapport you will develop with your interviewers.

Partner with AP Professionals to Advance Your Career

No matter where you are on your career journey, partnering with a trusted and proven recruiter can help alleviate stress and equip you for success in your career. AP Professionals can assist you in finding the ideal role that suits your skills and aligns with your career objectives. We will take the time to get to know you and your unique situation, then leverage our expansive and proven network to source a solution. Visit us today to learn how we can help you carve the path that’s right for you.