Careers and Employability Service

Second Interviews


Why hold second interviews?

  • To get a "second opinion" on candidates.
  • To allow candidates to be assessed by a person with whom they will actually be working.
  • To assess candidates by more thorough and accurate methods than the traditional one-to-one interview.
  • To give candidates the chance to see the place where they will be working, and perhaps to meet recent graduates

Depending on the area of work applied for, between 20% and 50% of first interviewees may be offered a second interview.

Which employers hold second interviews?

Mostly the medium-to-large graduate recruiters: smaller companies may hold only one interview before deciding on a candidate.

What happens at a second interview?

The second interview itself will be similar to the first interview in some respects: a conversation with one or two interviewers, or with a panel. It is likely to differ from the first in the following ways:

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Don't play the joker at interview 
- forced humour rarely works. 
However, do try to be cheerful!

  • The interview will be more closely related to the work you would do than the first: your interviewer may be a line manager.
  • Second interviews for work of a technical nature may go into technical questions in greater depth.
  • You may be interviewed by more senior members of staff: senior personnel and/or line managers
  • Your first interviewer will have left notes of any points from that interview which need following up, such as apparent weaknesses or lack of knowledge/motivation. Think about any parts of your first interview which you feel you could have handled better – these will almost certainly come up again!

With some employers, the second stage of the selection process will consist of nothing more than this interview; with, perhaps, a tour of the premises and a chance to meet recent graduate recruits. Many major recruiters of graduates, however, will use a "selection centre" (also known as an "assessment centre")

"Initial interviews are often conducted by personnel staff and second interviews by the person who will be your manager, but this is not always so."

What is the difference between a second interview and a selection centre?

An interview is just one part of a selection centre, which will also involve psychometric testsin-tray exercisesgroup discussionsgroup tasks and individual presentations.

Now see our page on assessment centres



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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7ND, T: +44 (0)1227 764000 ext. 3299

Last Updated: 13/07/2017