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Second round of interviews

Looking for questions that you can ask candidates who have made it to the second interview stage? The interview questions below can provide you with a template for these.

Questions you can ask candidates during the second round of interviews

There are several stages to the recruiting process: The detailed screening of candidates is usually followed by a second round of interviews, for which the most qualified candidates are selected. This round is designed to make it possible to gauge who will be the best fit for the company.
In their second interview, candidates will either meet the hiring manager, another member of the recruitment team, or the CEO. If the candidate has already completed a test or other assignment, the interviewer could discuss their performance during their second interview.
After the second interview, you should be left with a handful of candidates on your final shortlist. Pick questions that will help you determine whether candidates’ values fit with and will contribute to the company’s objectives. You should focus on role-specific skills during your questioning in order to identify the candidates with the most hiring potential.

Sample questions for the second round of interviews

  • Tell me about a time when a project’s priorities changed and you had to adapt.
  • What would you do if you were given a large number of tasks with the same deadline?
  • Who are our competitors and what distinguishes us from them?
  • What is our company’s mission?
  • What do you know about our products/services? Have you ever used them?
  • Why do you want to work with us?

Tips for getting the most out of answers at the second interview stage

Ask interview questions that delve deeper to find out candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. Include:

  • competency-based;
  • technical;
  • solution-oriented; and
  • situation-specific interview questions.

You should also determine how each individual candidate would fit your company and whether they would be able to work well with the current team. Ask questions that test

  • emotional intelligence (EQ);
  • soft skills (such as communication, teamwork, and leadership); and
  • behaviors.

A hallmark of a successful recruitment is often that the chosen candidate stays with the company for some time. At the second interview stage, you should consider whose long-term career goals match your company’s objectives.

Warning signs

  • Applicants are unprepared. If you invite candidates to a second interview, they should turn up well prepared and armed with good questions about your company. If they don’t know important things (e.g. what products/services you offer), they may not be that interested in the job. Candidates who have done their research demonstrate that it’s important to them.
  • Applicants have a passive attitude. Candidates who have made it into the second round have already shown themselves to be qualified for the role, at least in terms of its main responsibilities. Both parties – i.e. the candidate and the company – now want to find out whether they would be a good fit for each other. A candidate who fails to ask any follow-up questions about the organizational structure or the job itself may thus lack motivation. Keep an eye out for candidates who are enthusiastic about the prospect of working at your company.
  • Applicants’ expectations are incompatible with yours. The second round of interviews gives you the opportunity to discuss the vacancy in more detail: the salary and bonuses, working hours, and continuing professional development. In the interests of both parties, it’s best to be open and transparent regarding expectations. If there are disagreements at an early stage, it’s unlikely that the two of you will always see eye to eye in future situations.
  • Applicants are averse to change. Before you invite a candidate to the next round or offer them the job, be confident that they will be able to fit well into the company’s potential growth. Be clear about processes and the desired way of working. If the candidate is inflexible from the start, they may affect the performance of the whole team.

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