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The Do’s and Don’ts of a Second Interview

Congratulations! You passed the initial interview and have convinced the hiring manager that you are worthy of a second look. They have invited you back for round two!

The second interview is an ideal time for you to dig deeper into your background and provide specific examples of your experience and skills. Below is advice we have compiled from several hiring managers on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of preparing for a second interview.


  • Have a professional presence; be well groomed. You should look as sharp for the second interview as you did for the first.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume; you may be interviewing with a new group of people.
  • Have at least 10 great questions to ask that demonstrate your curiosity. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to ask tough or challenging questions (just frame them eloquently & respectfully!)
  • If you have not already, study the company’s website, press releases, SEC filings, and competitor information. You will gain insight that can help you generate questions and demonstrate industry knowledge.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your resume and articulate your responses:
    • If you have bounced around a lot, have a good reason; but tell the truth. It’s OK to say a job was not a good fit, but never slam your prior boss or employer.
    • If you have been out of work for some time, articulate what you have been doing. Good answers are volunteer work, taking classes or attending seminars. Focusing on family time is OK, but the interviewer will need to know your skills are not stale.
  • Anticipate the interviewer’s five most obvious questions and practice your answers.
  • When questioned in the interview, answer the specific question asked. If you do not know the answer or need to think about it, be honest! Never try to make up an answer; it is fine if you need time to think!
  • Demonstrate with examples that you are a self-starter and a team player with a “can do” attitude. Remember to prepare your examples ahead of time!
  • Remember that personality and behavior are more important than technical skills. Skills can be learned, but personality determines how you learn and how you use your skills.
  • Put your networking connections to good use. Feel free to name drop, just don’t over-do it.
  • Come up with a good “close”: e.g. “How do you feel about me as a fit for this job?” or “Will you be recommending me?”
  • Follow up with a thank you email. Be sure to include each interviewer.


  • Ask thoughtless questions; and do not ask just one or two. This is a mutual exploration.
  • Have an incomplete resume. This can be an indicator that someone is less than forthcoming.
  • Have a sloppy resume. Typos, font inconsistencies or omissions demonstrate poor attention to detail.
  • Have a resume more than two pages in length.
  • Include references on resume unless the company has asked specifically for references. References typically come later in the interviewing process.
  • Sound anxious, get flustered by difficult questions or lose your temper.
  • Say anything about other jobs you are considering. Employers expect you to be on the market.
  • Say you have to start by a certain date. Start dates will be determined when you are offered the job.
  • Conduct the interview via phone or Skype if it is possible to be there in person.

For more ideas on how to put your best foot forward in your next interview, call us. We’re here to help!

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