2nd interview dynamics and how to succeed

The 2nd Interview Quandary for a Candidate.

When we attend the first interview of a process, whether it be a face to face meeting or a call, it’s inevitable that we take the necessary steps to be prepared. If we are excited by the prospect, we understand all elements of the person we are meeting, what the company do and the goals for the role.

Most literature on the matter tends to be fairly focused on that first interview, or be a generic piece outlining how you should prepare overall.

However, the dynamic of a 2nd interview is different. Presumably, if managed appropriately, both the candidate and the client have taken steps in the first interview to ensure the role and the candidate tick all the major expectations required to have a successful partnership.

Elements such as ‘values’, ‘basic skills’, ‘outlook’, ‘a discussion about vision and where this person would fit into the visions’ and the like should all have been established, as well as simple things, like the location, the start times, etc.

Therefore, the 2nd interview preparation, should be more about an opportunity for both sides to challenge their suitability for the role. To question what has already been discussed, seeking consistency and ultimately establishing if this could be an exciting match.

Therefore, how do you prepare for this sort of meeting?

  1. You get to know the people you are meeting. Pretty obvious you might say, but it’s vital to understand their background, their motives for this meeting and what they want to establish from the interview. Without this how can you prepare in other areas?
  2. What do you want to establish from this meeting? What doubts do you have about the business and the meeting? How are you going to establish if this is in line with your career aspirations?
  3. What other things do you want to know about the organization that will help you understand the potential match? What has stopped you achieving your goals in the past and does this business offer opportunities to achieve these goals?
  4. When you leave this interview, what do you want to know? Decide what you want to achieve from this meeting and ensure it is achieved before you leave. Too many people walk out of 2nd interviews and still have millions of questions.
  5. What does the interviewer want to achieve? Be aware of their goals before you enter the meeting and create a ‘win-win’ scenario where both of you understand how next steps should look by the end of this meeting.


The 2nd interview is where the process starts to put some ‘meat on the bones’ around suitability for both parties. Ensure you take the necessary steps to achieve your goals and work with the interviewing team to help them achieve theirs too.

‘Win-Win’ scenarios at interviews, generally lead to much better decisions from both parties as the process progresses.

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