How to perform well in a second interview

How to perform well in a second interview

The preselection has been made, let’s go to the second round! Quite a few employers conduct more than just one job interview with applicants. The so-called recall is usually about all or nothing. Here you can find out how you can convince in the second interview and how you can optimally prepare yourself.

How many applicants will be invited to the second interview?

First of all: the invitation to a second interview is a good sign! You have already cleared two important hurdles:

  • Submitted resume
  • The written application
  • The first interview.

So you are one round further – and probably in the final selection.

The question of how many applicants apart from you made it into this second round can not be answered across the board. There are two competitors for one employer and six for another – that depends on the individual case and does not follow any rules. In any case, there are only those who are suitable for the position.

How many there are, however, shouldn’t matter to you, because you want to be just as convincing as in the first interview. And that’s exactly what you prepare intensively for. No matter how many competitors are still in the running.

What will I have to do in the second interview?

Many applicants may ask himself before another date that a second call for them means. After all, you have already clarified all important questions the first time and there is no need for further clarification.

But you shouldn’t take the second round lightly. The recall counts even more. Because the pressure of competition is particularly high now. Those who are still there are hardly any difference in terms of qualifications. Good preparation is therefore now the top priority.

The best tips on what to do now:

Confirm the conversation

Confirm the appointment by phone or email and express your anticipation. You can use this opportunity to inquire about the (time) sequence to receive further details if necessary.

Learn from the first conversation

Go through the first job interview again critically and analyze:

  • What went well, what didn’t?
  • Where did you go wrong or where did you stutter?
  • Which points seemed to be particularly important to the HR managers?
  • Were there (your own) questions that remained open?
  • Did you have any misunderstandings that still need to be clarified?
  • What else would you like to clarify?

Make a note of the most important points and take these notes with you to the second interview. This proves your conscientious preparation and reinforces your interest. Also, you will become more self-confident and can take over the conversation in the recall.

Expect more people to talk to

At the second interview, you will usually have more people to talk to and more important decision-makers than at the first. Especially when it comes to high-level jobs and management positions. Often the direct supervisor and a few future colleagues from the department join them. They also want to get an idea of ​​you and see whether you fit into the team. The second interview will take correspondingly longer – if it goes well for you. So calculate with at least an hour for this.

Be prepared for more in-depth questions

If in the first interview you were mainly interested in your qualifications, training, and working methods, the second interview is much more in-depth: Your personality is of particular interest – and your structured approach. So please don’t be surprised if you have critical questions or questions that put you to the test:

  • How do you deal with difficult situations and conflicts?
  • How would you solve real and current problems in the company?
  • What would you do in the first three months?

The second interview is made to raise the bar. So don’t just rewind a program from the first performance, but refer to the premiere and make a successful continuation of it. This shows that you have listened carefully and reflected.

Justify your salary expectations

Because the second interview is about the nitty-gritty, likely, the salary expectations will also come upon the table. So prepare yourself for specific salary negotiations and other contract details

You should be able to name and justify your desired salary as specifically as possible. You may also be asked about your current salary. So research what you usually pay skilled workers in your future position in this industry, region, and company size.

Take the second conversation as seriously as you did the first. It’s not a sure-fire success. Commitment should therefore be almost higher in the recall than in the previous interview.

What mistakes should I avoid in the second interview?

If you are invited to a second interview, you run the risk of losing the necessary inner tension. If you were highly concentrated and focused before the first conversation, it can now be that you take the second appointment lightly, following the motto: “I know what to expect anyway.”

But that’s a mistake. You should prepare at least as intensively for the second interview as for the first. Even better. Therefore avoid the following mistakes:


In the second interview, too, you shouldn’t forget to ask your questions. With some distance and a little reflection, details have certainly remained open on your part. So think carefully about which questions you would like to ask and go into details from the initial interview. For example, you could talk about individual, specific content during the familiarization period. However, under no circumstances should you address fundamental questions that have already been clarified in the first conversation.


Reflect carefully on the course of the first conversation regarding your statements. Also, think about what you have given away. There should be no contradiction between your impression in the first and the second interview, nor should you repeat everything. Remain just as authentic at the second appointment as you were at the appointment before. And if you already made firm commitments at the first interview: stick with it!


A second invitation does not mean that you already have the job under your belt and that you only have to clarify the salary and sign the contract. On the contrary: It can get down to business with questions of detail and stress. Remain confident, but not arrogant. Do not give the impression of victory. That can backfire quickly.

What happens after the second interview?

Of course, after the second interview, thank all participants for the pleasant atmosphere and the good conversation. You also shake hands with everyone as you say goodbye – always with the highest-ranking first.

And you can ask a few more questions at the end of the second interview:

  • What are the next steps in your application process?
  • When can I expect a response at the earliest?
  • Do you need any further documents or proof from me?
  • Who can I stay in contact with if I have further questions?

In the end, you confirm your interest in wanting to work for the company. After that, you should be patient: at least two to three weeks. Only then can you get in touch and inquire about the results of the second interview and you.