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Whether it is your first or second interview, understanding the differences between the two interviews can provide you a more valuable indication of how to prepare. It is vital to remember that these differences are influenced by a number of factors. Therefore, the information that follows is strictly prepared for the purpose of offering you a guideline on preparing for the interview.

Important To Remember

Although there may be a few differences, it is significant to remember that these differences can vary and are dependent on the company, the position, and interviewer. Customarily the company may decide to push the second interview in a direction centered on their own interest. The second interview could also be less structured. Interviews are addressed in a case on a case basis. You can utilize the information provided to prepare and ensure you have covered all possibilities in your preparation.

Status and Position

There are the noticeable differences in the status or position of the person conducting the interview. You could find a senior manager or junior partners could undertake the first interview. While with the second interview, you will find most often that a more senior partner or director generally conducts these. Once more, this is dependent on the specific company and partners and merely provides you an indication of the more distinct differences between the two. Other evident differences are the length of the interviews and the questions asked. Another distinct difference is that the second interview focuses more on your knowledge and experience while the first is about measuring your skills.

The Questions 

During the first interview, it is likely that you will be asked more analytical questions. The second round addresses more wide-ranging and open-ended questions. Second round interview questions could also be more strategically based but again it is important to remember this can vary from company to company and are influenced by the interviewer. 

Length Of The Interviews

There are often huge differences in the length of the interview between the two rounds. You should always expect the second interview to likely take longer than the first. As you are aware, the first interview is considered as a screening process so you can almost be sure that the second interview will focus on the more intricate and detailed information. Take into consideration that the second interview could take a few hours. Keep your schedule clear for the day of the interview so that you can focus on doing the interview without stress or time restraints. 

Q & A Time 

The second interview will also find that there a lot more dialogue involved. This is also not one-sided, and you will get the chance to address your own questions. You will be addressed directly, and questions can range from elaborating on information on your resume to behavioral questions. It will, in addition, represent a chance for you to ask your own questions so be prepared to grasp the opportunity should it arise. Prepare a list of questions and information you would like to address. It is vital to remember to answer any questions clearly and with confidence. 

The Intricate Details

Your second interview represents an opportunity to address the more intricate details of the job. Consider addressing information such as salary and benefits should the opportunity arise. It is vital you are prepared for the unexpected. Be sure to conduct your research and have background knowledge of the industry benchmarks and company. Take the time to ask questions, leave the interview with a clear understanding and have a goal in mind. Also be prepared and have a plan. There could even be questions about your short and longterm goals and you can use the opportunity to convey your attentiveness to planning and preparation. Ensuring you are prepared is a remarkable way to improve your confidence.

Bigger Audience

With the second interview, you could be faced with the possibility of being interviewed by more than one person. Having one executive partner carry out the interview can be daunting so try not look like you are facing a firing squad when you are seated across from 2-3 of the companies executive team. Be confident and address each person individually. Make eye contact with the person that directs the question but remember to acknowledge the others in the room. 


With the second interview, there is also the possibility that you can get called upon to present your experience and highlight your problem-solving skills. This will call upon your past professional and experiences and knowledge. Focus and direct your attention to understanding, planning your answer and responding clearly. This is a chance for you to sell yourself, take advantage of the time and respond wisely. 

Getting To Know You 

There will in addition also be a number of questions in the second interview which will allow the interviewer a more thorough understanding of who you are. These questions could range from asking about your work background to interests and even your career goals and successes. This is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. You should be prepared to highlight your career, knowledge, and successes.

Mini Case Interview 

Second interviews could also find the interviewer conducting mini case-based assessments which will represent an opportunity for you to showcase your professional and academic experiences. You could be called upon to refer to strategic projects you worked on and describe the approach you took to develop the hypothesis and solutions. The point is it is important to be prepared for anything. 

In General 

Although there are factors that influence the interviewing process, there are a few common differences that stand out. With the second interviews:

  • Everything is more. The length of the interview, the dialogue, the assessments, etc. 
  • There is more attention on your knowledge and experience in addition to your skills. 
  • You gain the opportunity to showcase your experiences and present yourself. 
  • There is more dialogue. 
  • You will be asked a number of questions but can equally represent an opportunity for you to ask questions.
  • The process calls on traits like your verbal skills or behavior. 

Want to learn more?

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