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Sep 12

Category: Interview tips

So, you’ve aced the first interview with flying colours. Congratulations! But you’re left with some unanswered questions. What’s the difference between my first interview and the second? Do I have to prepare differently? What are they going to ask me?

Relax. It’s not as daunting as you may think. Think of this as peace of mind – they clearly see potential in you otherwise you wouldn’t be prepping for the second interview. They like you and can see you succeeding in whichever role you have applied for. The sole aim of this interview is to provide clarity of just that.

Here is our guide on how to go about all things second interview.

What is the difference?

Often, the first interview focuses on you. It is the perfect opportunity for the hiring manager to get to know you, such as your skills and attributes, to see if you would fall into the role smoothly.

A second interview places more emphasis on what distinguishes you from other candidates. They will be looking at what you can bring to the company that no one else can offer and whether you will fit into the culture. You may have all the right skills to do the job but having the right personality and attitude is just as important. Understanding the difference is key to prep for the interview in the right way.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

You may have your foot slightly in the door, but this doesn’t mean it’s going to be a breeze from here. If anything, competition will be fiercer than ever as everyone is in an equal position.

Firstly, go over your notes from the first interview. Remind yourself of the company – their values, culture and any recent news or changes, no matter how small or significant it is. And make sure you know it. Not only will this come across to the hiring manager that you are passionate about the company and the role, it will give you some confidence before stepping into the interview.

Look back on the first interview. This could be a good starting point of where to begin your more detailed preparation. Was there anything you didn’t mention that you feel could be important to say? You don’t want to constantly repeat yourself, especially if the same person is interviewing you. It is a conversation at the end of the day and you want to keep the interviewer engaged and interested. Were there any questions you felt could have been answered better? This is something the interviewer may have picked up on previously and want to reiterate themselves, therefore prepping this could counter any hesitations they previously may have had.

Ask for feedback from your 1st interview. This will shed some light on areas of improvement, particularly useful if those areas are the parts you thought you excelled in.

Check out our blog to find out whether you are interviewing efficiently.

What to expect?

Depending on the role you are applying for and the company you want to work with, second interviews can be conducted in several forms. From group interviews, role play, to speaking with senior employees, it is important to make sure you clarify the type of interview you will have.

Also, don’t expect to be interviewing with the same person or even in the same office walls. To really know if you are right for the role you may have to speak with a number of people of various seniority. This is all good stuff, so don’t worry if you find yourself using similar examples or repeating yourself to other stakeholders.

Regarding what you will be asked, the questions will be a lot stickier and very specific. Of course, you will get the classic questions such as ‘Why do you want to work here?’ ‘What do you expect to be doing in the next 3 years? ‘What skills can you bring to the role?’ blah blah blah…

The tricky bit – the dreaded competency-based questions. ‘Tell me about a time when…?’ or ‘Give an example of when…’ may make your head spin but be sure to know some solid examples that you can adapt to anything they ask. Questions can be based on your ability to work under pressure, emphasising your communication skills or even how you are a team player. Make sure you master the STAR technique to really get this right!

And don’t forget about the whacky questions! From ‘if you were stranded on an island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?’ to ‘if you had to be a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?’. Strange I know, but they are used with the intent to showcase how well you think on your feet and use your initiative.

As long as you are prepared with solid examples/scenarios, no question should be too terrifying.

If it’s a marketing role you are seeking, read our blog on the top 10 interview questions marketers should prepare to answer for more information.

Remember, your previous interviewer sees potential in you. They like how you have presented yourself so far, making you one step closer to getting the job you want so bad. Do your homework, prepare and waltz into the interview knowing exactly what type of biscuit you would be!


3Search is an award-winning UK recruitment consultancy, specialising in marketing, digital marketing and tech positions. Whether you’re seeking new talent or looking for your next career move, we can help. Learn more at 3Search.co.uk.