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The Pros and Cons of a Second Interview

The Pros and Cons of a Second Interview
14 Apr 2020

As companies look to hire the most capable and qualified candidate for positions, second interviews are the norm in today’s job market. 

Here, Business Manager Jessica Blackburn looks at both the pros and cons of second interviews and offers her advice on how to handle them.

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Second stage interviews are extremely important to enable companies to find the right candidate. They enable them to find out as much as possible to ensure they make an informed decision. The cost of the wrong hire can have such an impact on a company of any size, so it’s important to get it right.

 

A second interview may be conducted by the same interviewer as your first and may have a very different structure, or it may be a similar structure led by a different interviewer, it really depends on the company and the people involved.

The pros for candidates: 

You can ask the Interviewer questions, to really get under the skin of not only the business but them as a manager, to ensure that the role is not only right for you, but the company is the right fit.

  • What do you like about working here?
  • What’s your management style?
  • What would be the greatest challenge of the job?
  • It will also give you time to reflect on your first interview and think about:
  • Do I want to work there?
  • Is it the right environment for me to progress in my career?
  • Did I ask all the questions I needed to when in the first stage?  There may be topics which you did not get to ask due to time constraints or simply forgetting to ask.

In many cases, during a second interview, you may get the opportunity to meet more people from the company, i.e. members of the team you’ll be working with, other hiring managers/directors.


You will possibly get a tour of the offices (we would strongly recommend that you ask, the working environment can quite often be very different to meeting rooms and interview areas). The office and environment that you will be working in is crucial to being happy in a role, so it’s a great opportunity to get a good feel for what it will be like to work there and isn’t common to be given during a first stage interview.


You can build more of a rapport with the interviewers in a second interview, which will help you to establish whether the company is right for you and your career.

The cons for candidates

There are some, you may have been offered a number of roles – obviously not a bad place to be in – but if the company you are most interested in does not move fast enough due to the second interview process, you may have to accept a less desirable offer.


There is no guarantee you will get the position if offered a second interview and it is a risk to turn down a company who are very interested and have moved quickly. My advice is to just be honest – be open to both parties about the roles you have interviewed for. Thank the client for the offer, be grateful and explain your situation. If you ask for a little time in order to make a decision, this should be granted within a reasonable time frame. 

Pros and cons of a second interview for the company:

Lower level roles do not necessarily need a second interview, as the key factors any employer looks for at this level is personality, punctuality, first impressions and asking the question; ‘Can they actually do the job?’ – A decision could and should be made almost immediately.


Senior level positions would most definitely need a second stage interview and sometimes even a third as there is a lot more at stake for both parties. However, problems arise if a specific skill set the client is asking for is relatively niche or they need a certain sector knowledge. If the process is pro-longed out in order to find ‘the perfect candidate’ that may not exist, good candidates in the process may go off the market and can leave employers back to square one.

Our advice – Move fast!

Times have changed in recent years as the hiring market has become increasingly candidate driven and it is no longer just the company’s decision. A good candidate may have multiple offers at any one time, and they could go off the market very quickly. If your brand doesn’t sell itself enough or you don’t move quickly enough following the first interview, you could be at risk of losing the strongest candidate in the process. 

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