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Reasons for a Second Interview

by Ellie Williams

Receiving an invitation for a second job interview means you passed the initial test and convinced the employer that it’s worth her time to learn more about you. However, it doesn’t mean the job is a done deal. At some companies, a second interview is reserved for only the top candidates, while at others it’s just one in a series of meetings. Approach a followup meeting as though it’s your last chance to sell the employer on the benefits of hiring you.

Taking a Closer Look

Even if the interviewer was impressed by what she saw during your first meeting, she might need additional information to narrow the applicant pool and accurately assess your qualifications. You’ll likely encounter a more intensive line of questioning than you faced during the initial interview. For example, this interview might consist primarily of “behavioral questions," where the employer describes scenarios typically encountered as part of the job and asks you to discuss how you would respond. She may ask how you’ve dealt with similar situations at previous jobs. The employer might also test your skills, personality and knowledge through aptitude testing, brain teasers, personality testing and even a psychological profile.

Obtaining Multiple Opinions

At some companies, candidates must meet the approval of several people from within the organization. Second-round interviews often include a panel interview or individual meetings with both potential colleagues and company decision-makers. For example, you might meet with someone from senior management, such as the vice president for the department, and also interview with the people you’d work side-by-side with every day if hired. At this followup interview, you might meet again with your first interviewer or interact with a completely new set of people.

Evaluating Your Social Skills

Even if you made a good impression during a one-on-one interview, employers want assurance that you’ll behave just as professionally in more social situations. This is especially true if the position requires frequent interaction with clients or customers, or representing the company at public events. During your second meeting, the employer might take you on a tour of the facility or ask you to attend a lunch or dinner meeting with prospective colleagues.

Discussing Details

Employers rarely discuss specifics such as salary, vacation time or other benefits during the initial interview. They also might not discuss the job in much depth, preferring instead to focus on your qualifications and experience. The second interview, on the other hand, is often time for ironing out these details. An employer might call you back in to determine whether you can accept the salary the company is offering or to discuss logistical details, such as relocation or training time. Prepare for a possible negotiation by deciding what is non-negotiable.

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