Five tips for handling callback interviews with confidence

By Hillary Mantis

You made it through the first interview. Now they are calling you back in for a second interview. You really want the job. The pressure’s on. How can you best prepare?

  1. Pace yourself: No matter how nervous you were about the first interview, it was over quickly. Your adrenaline pulled you through. But second interviews can go on for several hours. You might be meeting with five or six people in a row. Short of chugging Red Bull or overloading on espresso, how can you stay fully energized? I would try to schedule the interview at a time of day when you feel most centered and have plenty of energy. Generally, there will be a choice of interview times, so don’t be afraid to ask. Realize that it’s a marathon not a sprint and plan accordingly. Eat before you get there. Wear something professional but comfortable. Remember to smile with the same enthusiasm for the fifth interviewer that you did for the first one.
  2. Get the “Intel” before you go: Try to find out as much information as possible from the person coordinating your interview. Ask how many people you will meet. Ask if you can have the names of the interviewers, so you can research them. Find out if it will be group interviews, or individual interviews. Anything at all that you can find out about the interview format will help calm you down and be more prepared for the interview.
  3. Think of a question for everyone: You are going to have to show the same level of interest for each interviewer. So that means you can’t say that everyone you spoke with has already answered your questions. Have a list of questions memorized so you will have a new one for each interviewer. You need to treat each interview as a separate, equally important part of the process. In a pinch, ask a follow up question to something you just discussed during the interview.
  4. Learn your resume from top to bottom: When you have a call back interview, there may be more detailed questions about your resume. If they ask about an internship you did five years ago, be as familiar as you can with it. They might not stick to your current job, but delve deeper into your work history. Try to re-read any papers you published that you mention in your resume as well.
  5. Thank everyone: It’s ideal to email everyone you met with in the organization a separate thank you note. That way they will each have a connection with you, and know that you truly want the job.  Before you leave, make sure to express your enthusiasm for the position once again, and ask the person who coordinated your interviews when you can expect to hear back from them.

Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University. You can reach Hillary for more information at