Nailing the Second Job Interview


So close, but so far away – That’s probably the best way I’ve ever heard the second job interview summed-up: At this point, you’ve made your way past dozens, perhaps thousands of candidates to the next (maybe even final!) round of assessments for an hourly-wage job, a clinical role, or a high-responsibility executive job at a hospital, clinic, or health-related company.

Getting called back for a second interview means you’re also potentially teetering on a knife edge. Rather than crossing your fingers and assuming this call-back is a “just a formality”…
…You should realize that interviewers have likely called you back for one of three reasons:

  • the hiring committee has whittled their list of interviewees down to a shortlist of several finalists including you
  • the hiring committee is mostly convinced you’re the right person for the job and want to double-check by speaking to and seeing you react more to specific areas
  • or the hiring committee actually is totally convinced and just running you by HR as a formality (though it’s impossible for you to know this)

In many ways, the second interview is vastly more important to get right than the first (even if you put 110%. Either way, this is your moment in which to rise or fall, not a time to breathe a sigh of relief.

Nailing it
While there are hundreds of solid strategies for job interviews – many of which apply to second interviews – here’s an overall game-plan you may find helpful in knitting some of the best strategies together into one cohesive, winning final interview.

When preparing for and participating in the second interview, three things are important above all:

  • answers to questions interviewers have for you
  • questions you’ll ask in parts of the interview you’ll take the lead in (and you should take the lead, when appropriate at this stage)
  • and your outlook on how you’ll fit in at this particular medical institution (remember, you’re almost there! Don’t assume you’ve got the job, but act like you’re the frontrunner)

At this stage, you’ll need to research yourself and map-out answers with specific examples that show past success on questions like:

  • what can you do for us if we bring you onboard (and how might that be above and beyond any other candidates)?
  • how will you help add to the bottom line?
  • why do you actually want to work here (or, in the case of the second interview, especially if you’ve been introduced to other staff beyond the interviewing committee “do you still want to work here, and why?”
  • be prepared for more behavioural and situational questions

In all of these answers, be ready to continue (as you presumably did in the first interview) to sell yourself as the product the interviewers want to buy. To be truly ready here you should highlight (or-reframe for the second interview – you can use these examples multiple times) at least two solid, measurable contributions you made at each of your last few employers.

These should be based on the research you’ve done on the employer, any other thoughts that come up in the second interview, or any questions you didn’t get to asking in the first interview:

If you’re interviewing at a hospital, look into its financial stability and research its prospects for future growth. How is it regarded in the community?

Do you know anyone who works there or can you ‘network your way’ to someone who works there? Talk to them about their experience working there and their thoughts on the institution/company, its culture, and any relevant practices you should know about.

A second interview is a time for interviewers to move past generic questions and into specifics. It’s a time for them to throw you in to hypothetical situations and real-life interactions with some of the people you’ll be working with if you get the job.

During this process, it’s important to have a rock-solid vision for how you’d fit in to this workplace (stop thinking generic answers you can apply to multiple job interviews – at this stage you should be focussed on how you’ll bring all your past experience and talent to bear on this job, in this workplace, with these people.

You should also have an easy-to-articulate 60-90-day plan for what you will do to prove your effectiveness as the ideal candidate – In other words, a “hit the ground running” plan that will set you vastly above all other candidates that interviewed for the job.

Sealing the deal…
As with any interview, first, second, third, or otherwise, be sure to thank the interviewers both at the end of the interview and in a follow-up letter or email soon afterwards.

If there’s a third interview or a call-back of any other sort, make sure you’re available (try not to have a vacation planned close to when you’re doing first or second interviews for jobs.) Finally, if you get the job (congrats!) remember what you said and did during the interview process: This can be an invaluable roadmap for starting and succeeding at your new job and to prove to your new employer that you can do at work what you said you’d do in the interview.

Tera Rowland
Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!