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What is a Second Interview?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A second interview is an important stage in the job application process. It indicates that a company has enough interest in an applicant to call him or her back to talk with other decision-making staff in the company. Depending on the organization, an offer of employment may be extended after the second interview, or an applicant may be asked to return for another interview. The goal of a second interview is to glean more information about the applicant, usually from a different perspective to see if he or she will fit in well about the company.

There are several steps which an applicant has to go through before being asked to a second interview. First, the applicant must create a strong application which encourages the company to ask him or her to a first interview. If the applicant does well in this interview, the staff who performed the interview will recommend a second. This means that the applicant has gone through two cuts, one to establish basic qualifications through the review of a resume and other supporting material, and one to determine whether or not the applicant has potential.

Generally, the people who conduct a second interview are higher up on the company food chain. They take the screened applicants they interview very seriously, as other members of the company believe that the applicants may perform well in the company. These staffers may ask an entirely new set of questions or pose new challenges, or they may go over previously discussed material; each interviewer has a slightly different style and perspective on the applicants, and applicants should try to remember this.

As with a first interview, applicants who have been called to a second interview should prepare themselves. Dressing professionally is a must, as is making sure that one's appearance in general is neat and presentable. It may help to generate a list of potential interview questions and review them, and if possible the applicant should find out more about the company and the specific people performing the interview. This ensures that the applicant is knowledgeable, and it means that he or she will have comments or questions during the interview, showing interest in the job and the company.

It is also an excellent idea to write thank you notes after a second interview. Applicants should take the time to thank all of the people they interacted with, and they should ask a secretary of member of the administrative staff about how to spell names, if they are unsure. Thank you notes do not have to be elaborate or excessively florid, but they should convey genuine appreciation.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon345994 — On Aug 24, 2013

I was interviewed by President and EVP after I solicited them through a friend of the company about developing a type of business de novo. I had a follow up in person in an online web demo and was told they will need to discuss internally and be back to me in one week. I didn't hear back so I left a voice message regarding any updates.

How long should I now wait if I don't hear back and should my next communication be via e-mail with, "you mentioned you would get back to me by -- and as I haven't heard back, have you had the follow up meeting and if so, have you reached a decision?"

By anon338189 — On Jun 11, 2013

I have an interview for a counselor position. I'm nervous but I'm going to think positive and try my best. I always got hired after the first interview so I do not know what to expect.

By anon280443 — On Jul 17, 2012

@anon89139: Your future employer is not allowed to ask your age.

By anon271382 — On May 26, 2012

I had three interviews for a job in Afghanistan. I just got done with the third interview. The third interview is actually a good thing. Always remember the more interviews they request the more interested the company is in you. Wish everyone good luck!

By anon127047 — On Nov 15, 2010

Thank you. I'm so nervous for the second interview as i really would like this job as it has exciting prospects but I'm glad that i made a positive impression on the 1st interview, so thank you.

By anon110283 — On Sep 11, 2010

This is very well detailed. After my first interview I was told to come to a second interview. I was thinking, "A second interview? That's new! Like why not just hire me!" hahaha. Now that I've read this, everything is very clear to me and I have no reason to be anxious. Thanks a million!

By anon103534 — On Aug 12, 2010

I went into an interview at Biggby Coffee a few weeks ago. Then I got a call asking for a second interview to talk about scheduling, and if our schedules were compatible, the manager wants me to start training on Tuesday. Does this sound like I'm likely to be hired?

By anon89139 — On Jun 08, 2010

I was looking for a job at Popeye's. I sent a job application in. The next day they called me in for a interview. He asked me a few questions. Age, what school I am at, and why would I like to work there. Easy answer, I love to make money! The manger is a slacker and he cusses at the employees, its hilarious haha.

Well, the second interview is with another person on thursday, and I know she is going to be tough. I need a few tips.

By overreactor — On Dec 25, 2008

A second interview is a good sign for the job seeker, but still he is not a sure hire. Maybe there are some questions left that need to be clarified, but the first interview definitely left a positive impression on the interviewer.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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