Slam - Dunk at Each Interview Stage

You nailed your interview. You answered “tell me about yourself” perfectly, discussed your relevant experience with ease, and established a great rapport with the hiring manager.

And you know you read it right when you hear you made it to the next round of the process. But after all of the excitement, you start to wonder what on earth you have left to talk about. Should you just repeat what you’ve already said? Or, is the hiring manager looking for something new?


Well, as the rounds of interviews continue (think: second, third, and maybe even fourth), you’ll do some repackaging of old stories and introduce some new information. But the secret is not to go overboard either way. Here’s how to channel your inner Goldilocks and find the balance that’s just right.


Don’t Give All New Information

You might be thinking that the interviewer has already heard everything you said once, so none of it’s worth repeating and you should come with all new information. That’s not really the case.


More often than not, you’ll be meeting with new or additional team members who weren’t present in the first round. They’ve never heard your pitch, and while they may have seen your resume or heard a quick overview from the interviewer, the best person to sell you is, well, you.


Not only that, but odds are the person you spoke with only remembers highlights of your talk. She might have had back-to-back meetings or only taken notes on one part of the discussion. So, if you don’t repeat anything—you know, in an effort to keep it interesting—she may not remember the really relevant skills you shared in your last meeting.


But rather than quoting yourself exactly, make sure to connect any new information back to what you said last time. That way you’ll know you’re not skipping over any of the big selling points of your candidacy. If you’re asked (again) to “Tell me why you’re drawn to this role?” you can say, “Last time, we discussed the strong management component, which is still something I’m very enthusiastic about. Additionally, the information you shared about the collaborate nature of the team is very appealing to me.”


This way you added something new, but you still led with your most relevant skill.


Don’t Share Too Much of the Same, Either

Of course, some people err to far to the other extreme and repeat verbatim what they said in the first interview figuring, hey, it worked last time. When the team huddles up later (or when the same interviewer compares notes across interviews), it’s nice for them to feel like you connected with each person and individualized your responses a bit.


Moreover, if someone asks you back it’s because he still wants to learn more. This is the time to dive deeper into your skills and experience.


So, if you catch your answers mirroring what you said before, try a transition like this: “As I shared previously with [name of first interviewer], my current role is very sales heavy. Another example of my work in client-facing roles would be my first job, where I learned…”

By peppering in some new and different stores, you’re reinforcing the idea that you’ll bring even more than what you shared on your resume.


Instead: Give Consistent Answers With New Examples

OK, so those are great tactics for individual questions, but what about the interview as a whole? How much should your overall message sound like what you said in round one, and how much should be different?


Well, before you even start the interview process, you should give yourself a slogan that describes yourself as a candidate. No, not buzzwords, but things you want the hiring manager to remember about you.


Let’s say your focus is on how you love (and excel at) working with people and that you’re creative. What you’ll keep the same in all rounds of interviews is that theme: You’ll want to make sure that some of your answers tie back to those qualities. Now what you’ll change are the specific examples.


So, maybe in the first interview, you list working with others as your greatest strength and give an example from your current job. The second time, you might mention working with the company’s demographic as something you’re excited about. Similarly, in the first interview you might talk about a time you had to be creative to solve a problem in your side gig, and in the next round, you might discuss how creative thinking is a key attribute of someone who inspires you.


Keeping your slogan in mind will help guide you as far as if you should answer a question similarly or differently than you did the time before.


It can be daunting to have to make a good impression—yet again, but remember, being called back for an additional interview is often a strong sign that you’re moving forward in the hiring process. Use the tips above to keep selling your strengths and make your answers fresh and interesting.