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What Happens at a Second Interview?

So you’ve passed the first interview, congratulations! But the work isn’t over yet; you’ve been invited to a second interview. Whilst this is great news, the prospect of another interview can often fill the candidate with dread and worry. What happens at a second interview? How is it different to the initial interview?

Here are a few questions you may be asked, as well as a few tips to hopefully land you the job.


Second Interview Questions

This is the portion of the application process that will help both you and your employer to better understand the expectations of the role.


1. What attributes do you think are needed for this role?

What skills do you think you’d need if you got the job? Would you need to be organised, efficient, confident, or excel in customer service? Whatever the role, make sure you highlight why you’d be a good fit, and offer examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills in your previous job roles. If you’re unsure of the attributes the job requires, check the initial job advertisement.


2. Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.

The interviewer isn’t as interested in the challenge as your response to it. It doesn’t have to be something too big, perhaps you felt there was something you were unsure of how to do in your last job, or there was a tense situation involving a customer that you had to diffuse. It’s more important that you focus on your response, how did you handle the situation? Did you implement anything to stop this happening in the future? Talk about what you did!


3. What are your salary expectations for this role?

This is a tricky one. Your answer should be realistic; the company most likely won’t be offering you your dream salary, so if you’re unsure of the salary the are offering, do your research. Look at similar job advertisements to gauge the average pay. Expect to explain why you’ve reached this figure. You can also focus on what you’ll gain from the job that isn’t monetary. How will the experience be valuable to you? What are you excited to learn?


4. What would you change about the company?

Again, this is a deliberately tough question. You don’t want to insult your potential new bosses, but you do want to show them that you have researched the company well and are interested in helping them achieve their goals. Research the company, find out about their practices and their projects. Their website may be difficult to navigate, or there may be too much information that’s difficult to read. If you can’t find much about the company online, don’t worry, this can be your answer! You can say you think a larger online presence would benefit the company and why this is important.


5. When was the last time you had to make an important decision?

If the job you’re applying for calls for decisions to be made on the spot, it’s likely that this question may arise. As with the earlier question concerning challenges, it’s not the situation that is the focus here. Your response is more important. How do you make tough decisions? What is your process? Did you face adversity for your decision? What did you learn? It’s important that you do not repeat the same example twice. You want to show how much experience you have, and using the same example twice shows that your skills may not be as developed as other candidates.


6. Where do you want to be in five years?

You want to show you’re ambitious, but humble. For example, telling your interviewer that you want their job is a bad idea. Alternatively, talking about how the job your interviewing for will help you to develop your current skill set and how you’d like to progress in the industry is a much stronger answer.


7. What’s your current notice period?

Make sure you’re aware of your current employer’s notice period. If you have any holidays or time off booked in the immediate future, let them know. This is not a confirmation that you’re being offered the job, this is just your interviewer thinking about what would happen if they did.




The interview starts when your interviewer first greets you. Be aware of your body language and speech when you meet the interviewer(s), even before you enter the interview room.

Plan your answers ahead of time. If there are questions you’re unsure about, jot down a few notes to help you remember your answers under pressure. However, you should avoid looking at these notes during the interview.

Even if you’re nervous, try your best to act confident. A confident persona can help distinguish you from the other candidates, and help the employer to decide whether you’d be a good fit with the rest of the team.

Prepare questions to ask the interviewer. If you don’t know what to ask, think about what you don’t know about the company. What’s the culture of the company like? Where do the company see themselves in five years?


Hopefully, preparing in advance for your second interview will help you to land the role. If not, remember you were invited to a second interview which is an achievement in itself! All interview experience is valuable, no matter whether you get the job or not.