Best feet forward: tips to help you stand out in your 2nd interview

Posted on September 2023 By Speller International
Interview 2
You made it through to your second interview… congratulations! More often than not, for contract roles, one interview is enough to secure you a new role. However, we have seen contractors get into trouble if there is a second interview. They’ve approached the second interview in a more casual way, not been prepared and fallen short at the last hurdle. 

Obviously, you’ve made the right impression thus far. The second interview then is your chance to consolidate that impression and establish the points of difference that will make you stand out as the clear choice for your would-be employer.

So, how should you approach a second interview to ensure you keep putting your best foot forward? 

Preparation is opportunity’s partner

Be prepared. Reflect on how your first interview went, and ask yourself some simple questions: 

  • What answers did the interviewers respond to best? 

  • What answers do you feel you could have answered better?

Consider the kind of questions the interviewers focused on in that first round. Was there a common theme evident, or did they pose a set of related questions around a particular topic? That could indicate key areas the interviewers are likely to explore with you more deeply on a second go-around. Be ready for that with fresh examples, or with answers that expand further on the subjects they’ve indicated interest in.

Remember: be consistent, particularly around any questions on why you’re looking for a new role, or why you moved on from previous positions. Such consistency will be a good indicator of your character to potential employers.

Your questions have value too

Evidently, in any interview situation, you’ll be asked a lot of questions. It’s important to remember though that this is also your opportunity to ask some questions of your own.

For a contract placement, these questions won’t necessarily be about on going training or career development, below are a few we’ve come up with to help you get a better idea of the role and company you’re interviewing for; 

  • work culture

  • size of the team

  • the management style

  • prospective project (beyond the project they are interviewing for)

  • expectations in the role in the first couple of months,

  • how they measure success

  • type of people the tend to hire (what attributes they look for outside of technical)

In any interview setting asking relevant, concise questions can tell you a lot about the company, role and team. Posing similar or the same questions in the second interview (to a different interviewer) will give you a deeper understanding and if the role aligns with your values, brand, skillset. 

Success is where skill is matched by alignment

Remember that companies are composed of people, working towards a common cause. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the company’s vision or mission statement, and ask questions that demonstrate your awareness around their key concerns.

In this way, you’ll be communicating that you’re interested in more than just filling a role – you’ll be indicating that your interest extends to the company as a whole, and the people within it. This will provide you an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of – and alignment with – their core values.

It will also give you the chance to display a little of your personality. Obviously, if you’ve been asked in for a second interview, you can have some confidence that your skills have been assessed as being largely suited to the task. This time around, it’s likely your ability to comfortably fit in with the company culture is being considered.

As such, the interview panel may well include the people you’ll be working with, or directly for. Take the opportunity to ask them what they most like about the company – this is your chance to determine for yourself whether the culture will be the right fit for you.

Consistency, confidence, culture – make yourself the clear choice

That all might seem a lot to consider, but remember – companies wouldn’t be interviewing you unless they wanted you to succeed as well. Just remember the following pointers:

  • Be prepared. Clarity and confidence will follow naturally.

  • Ask questions. Refine or expand upon any insights learned in the first round. It’ll show you’ve listened, and given things some thought.

  • Be yourself! Employers aren’t just looking for skills. They’re looking for people that can work comfortably within the company culture while contributing to it.

When you get the call to come in for that second interview, the ball will be in your court. By keeping the above in mind, you can comfortably return the serve, and really stand out.