What to Expect After You Get a Second Interview Request

While you might be excited, don't get overconfident

Man and woman talking in office
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Job searching can be a harrowing process. After applying, waiting for potentially months and hoping for a response, you finally get invited to a first interview. If you did well, you likely will get invited back for a second interview.

This can be incredibly exciting, but also nerve-wracking. Typically, because hiring managers have already drastically narrowed the field of potential hires, your wait time for the call back will be much shorter. Remember, depending on the size of the company and the scope of the job, your second interview may just be the next step. There may be a third interview as well. 

Example of an Invitation to a Second Interview 

The following is an example of an email advising you that you've been selected for a second interview.

Subject: Invitation to a Second Interview
Dear Lucy Miranda,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with us to discuss your interest in, and qualifications for, the position of assistant gallery manager at the Oakland Photography Institute.
We are pleased to inform you that you passed the first round of interviews and we would like to invite you to return to the gallery for a second interview. The interview should last approximately two hours. Please let me know what days and times you are available for the next two weeks.
We look forward to meeting with you again.
Best,
Jason Turner

What to Expect at a Second Interview

Getting the email invitation is a great next step, but it does not mean the job is yours. At this point, they have likely narrowed down the applicant pool, from the dozens who applied, to just a handful who successfully made it through the first round.

This time you will be up against the most highly qualified candidates, so it's important to remain focused and not get overly confident.

Many people mistakenly think a second interview is more casual than the first. This is simply not the case unless it was specifically stated by the hiring manager or human resources contact in the invitation you received.

Be sure to dress just as you did for the first meeting, such as wearing a men's suit or appropriate, contemporary dress unless it's a casual work environment. Make sure your outfit is clean, well pressed, and fits well. And keep your accessories to a minimum.

Your second interview will likely differ from your first in a couple of ways. With some companies, you will meet different people than you did in the first interview. At other firms, you will meet with the same group, but the focus of the interview will be different. Instead of questions about your work experience and performance, they may focus instead on culture and personality to see if you're a good fit for the office.

There are a number of different interview types, and it is possible that after your initial interview, the potential employer will use a different type to see how you handle different interview situations. If your first interview was a one-on-one, your second may be a group interview. Group interviews are either a group of colleagues interviewing you or a group of interviewees being interviewed together. Either way, the hiring team will be looking at how you interact with a group, so practice your listening skills and body language as well.

Remember, this is very much a two-way conversation. While they are interviewing you, you should also be evaluating them as a potential employer. A second interview is a great opportunity to get more insight into what your coworkers are like, what the corporate culture is like, and how your potential boss operates. 

Be prepared to ask questions about not only your role but your future team and the company as a whole. While giving you valuable insight, it also demonstrates your interest and passion for the work.