How To Get Invited for a Second Interview

Woman and man in job interview

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It's always good news when you're called in for a job interview. But the real challenge is when you go back for a second interview. Initial interviews are typically designed to screen out candidates. Job offers are generally made after a successful second (or even third) interview. 


You need to perform well during your first interview to have a chance of being called back for a second one. 

Scoring a second interview takes more than just showing up the first time. You have to engage and think critically about how you can stand out from your competitors. 

What can you do to boost your chances of getting a callback? There are specific strategies you can use before, during, and after your initial interview to help improve your chances of moving on in the screening process.

Key Takeaways

  • For many jobs, an offer only comes after a second or third interview. 
  • To land a second interview, you'll need to perform well during the first and use key strategies before and after that conversation. 
  • It's very common for companies to interview many candidates for each role. You may not be called back for a second interview. That can be due to any number of factors, not just how well you performed during the first interview. 

Before the First Interview 

Before you arrive at your first interview, take these steps: 

  • Look at the job description and carefully examine all of the job's requirements. Compile evidence of how your skills and experience will help you to excel in the position. Most importantly, back up your assertions about your skills and qualities with concrete examples of how you have applied those strengths to achieve results in the past. Also, think about how you envision doing the same in the future.
  • Reach out to connections who work at the company. Tell them about your candidacy. Uncover second-level contacts at the organization on LinkedIn and through college alumni networks. If possible, find a way to meet with them before or during your interview visit. These insiders might decide to endorse you if you have a chance to make an impression on them.
  • Take some time to polish your interview skills. The more effectively you interview, the better your chances are of getting selected for the second round.

During the Interview

During your initial interview, make a clear case about how the job appeals to you and fits in with your long-term career plan. Many candidates are screened out after initial interviews because they didn't seem highly motivated to pursue the job. 


If you're truly interested in a role, clearly express your passion for the company and the job to the interviewer.

Along with showing that you're eager to be in the role, try these strategies: 

  • Engage everyone in the room. Try to exude warmth, and don't let nerves or shyness hold you back. If your interviewers like you as a person, they'll be more likely to support your case and vote for you to move on in the process.
  • Try to discover what each interviewer considers to be the most important qualifications for the position. Tailor your responses to highlight how your qualifications match up. This will also give you a framework for preparing for the second interview if you're asked to come back. 
  • Don't convey an assumption that you'll be invited back for a second interview. However, if you do get a positive vibe, you can mention that you're readily available to talk more about the position or answer any other questions that may arise after the initial interview. 
  • If it makes sense, inquire about a pressing problem or challenge that might come up on the job. This shows that you're thinking a step ahead. If relevant, present a work sample from your past or draft a document that showcases your relevant knowledge and skills.


As you finish up your interview, suggest that you would welcome the opportunity for interviewers to review some of your work samples. Offer a link to a portfolio page such as a personal website or your LinkedIn profile. 

After the First Round

After the first interview is complete, there's more for you to do! Don't simply wait to find out if interviewers decide on a second interview. Try these steps: 

Draft Follow-Up Communication

Be sure to send it as soon as possible after your first interview. If you delay your email or letter, it might arrive after they have already made decisions about the second round.

Email Interviewers Individually

If there were multiple people in your first-round interview, reach out to each one after the interview rather than sending a group email. First and foremost, thank them for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position.

Share Examples

Think about how the role you're applying for relates to their positions and how you think your work will help them excel in theirs. Your follow-up correspondence is a good opportunity to share any specific examples you have of how you'll excel in your duties. 

Reach Out to Your References 

Before the first interview, you should have alerted your references that your interviewer might be reaching out. If you didn’t, contact them now.

After the interview, remind them again, and inform them of any key concerns that became evident during your meeting. If you feel that any weak spots in your skillset or experience became evident, ask your references if they would be willing to affirm their confidence in your ability to succeed.

Share the names of the interviewers: Your references might know them or at least may volunteer to reach out to them informally to endorse your candidacy. 


In your follow-up, be patient and professional. It usually takes some time after the first interview for hiring teams to decide about second-round interviews. Focus on sending thank-you notes and helpful information, not nagging hiring managers about their decision timeline.

Tips for Handling Rejection

Keep in mind that if you don't get a second interview, it might not be because of you. There are many reasons that candidates don't move forward in the hiring process, and some of them have nothing to do with you. 

Concentrate on the factors you can control to give yourself your best chance of getting invited back. And keep looking for other job opportunities until you've accepted an offer.

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