11 Second Interview Questions (and Why You Should Ask Them)

The first round of candidate interviews is good for shortlisting candidates. You can determine if a candidate has the basic qualifications your client is looking for.

After the first interviews, you might call the best candidates back for a second interview to narrow down the candidate list even more. This is when you’ll ask the candidate more detailed questions about the position.

Or, you might send candidates on to your client who will conduct the second round of interviews. If this is the case, you might give your client a list of helpful second interview questions for employers to ask. You can also use the list of questions for candidate preparation for interview rounds with your client.

Whether you conduct the second round of interviews or your client does, you’ll need a list of good second interview questions to ask candidates.

Second interview questions to ask candidates

By the time a candidate gets to a second interview, you know they are highly qualified for the position. The second interview is a chance to dig deeper. You must determine if the candidate will fit well within your client’s company.

During the second interview, role-specific questions should go deeper than before. You might use behavioral interview questions to find out how candidates reacted to past situations. You should also ask questions related to your client’s values and objectives.

Below are 11 questions to ask in a second interview. Feel free to interview candidates with these questions or prepare them for interviews with your clients. Or, send these sample second round interview questions to your clients for their use.

1. Tell me about a time when you were assigned to multiple projects with the same deadline. What did you do?

This question will help you understand how the candidate values and handles deadlines. Does the candidate brush off the deadline, ask for help, find a way to complete all the projects, or something else? You might also learn about the candidate’s problem-solving abilities from their response.

2. Was there ever a time when a project changed and you had to adapt? How did you handle the situation?

Add this to your list of second interview questions to ask candidates if you want to know how they handle change. You’ll also learn how candidates solve problems, manage tasks, and think quickly.

3. How would you describe your best relationships at work? How would you describe the worst?

These interview questions to ask candidates in a second interview probe further into work relationships. They get candidates talking about what they like and dislike about work with certain people. Their responses can help you decide if the candidate will fit in with the client’s other employees.

4. What role do you normally take on a team? Why?

The role a candidate typically takes on a team can tell you how they might fit in at your client’s business. It might be a red flag if a candidate is a passive teammate. At the same time, your client probably shouldn’t hire too many people who fill the same type of role on a team. Otherwise, teams might lack leadership or even have too much of it.

5. What are the first three things you would do if you were hired for this position?

This question essentially asks the candidate to set goals that are personally achievable. Their response shows how big of achievements they think they can make at the beginning of the job. If the first three tasks are misaligned, the candidate might not understand the position or company.

6. What do you think your biggest contributions will be in this role?

The candidate will likely respond with what they think their biggest assets and skills are. Their response can help you determine their strengths and what tasks they are most comfortable with completing. If a candidate’s predicted contributions don’t line up with the position, the candidate might not be the best fit.

7. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

When a candidate talks about their goals and hopes for the future, think about how they line up with the client’s company and the position’s career path. If a candidate is headed in a different direction than the position or client’s company, they might not stay long in the position, leading to a possibly unhappy client.

8. Why do you want to work for [Client Company]?

Asking this question lets you discover if a candidate is actually interested in your client, or if this is just another job prospect for them. And if the candidate can cite specific things about the company, it shows they did their homework.

9. Why do you think you should be the top choice for this job?

This isn’t a time for candidates to become arrogant. Instead, candidates should honestly answer what makes them stand out from other candidates. They can touch on their skills and experiences again. And, they should talk about why they fit into the company and what they can do for it. If a candidate can’t pitch themselves, they might not be that interested.

10. What things do you like about your current job? Dislike?

These questions to ask during second interviews let you know if the candidate is suited for the position. If they dislike many of the things they would experience in the position, they might not be a good fit. But, if their dislikes are about company culture or something else that doesn’t apply to your client’s company or position, the employee might still be a good fit.

11. What are your salary expectations?

You shouldn’t rule the candidate out even if their salary expectations don’t perfectly match up with what your client is offering. Negotiations might happen later. But, if the candidate’s expectations are well beyond what the client will give, the candidate may not work for the client. The candidate might also mention must-have benefits at this time.

Recording responses

If you use these sample second interview questions to interview candidates yourself, you need to keep notes. You can use your notes to compare candidates and make sure you pass the best ones on to your client. And, you might send some of your notes to your client for review.

To safely store your interview notes, keep them in your recruitment agencies software. You can then easily look up information about each candidate.

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