15 Second Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

The Best Questions to Ask In a Second Interview

by Asad Khaja

A second interview is your chance to bring your top candidates back. In many cases, this will be your first chance to meet these candidates in person. Impressions are extremely important, while still making sure you’re finding out the details necessary to make decisions on potentially extending an offer or bringing them back for another round of interviews. To help with this, we’ve compiled our top 15 second interview questions to ask candidates.

1. Is there anything you wish to revisit from the first interview?

This is a great way to start an interview off as candidates many times have questions that they didn’t have time to ask or that came up since then. Candidates may also have a question that they felt they didn’t answer properly and want to provide clarity.

2. What type of impact did you make at your last job?

Can the candidate quickly recall an area they helped to impact their last company or does a candidate struggle to give an example? This will also give insight into the type of person they might be and if they’re people- or task-oriented.

3. Tell us about a time that you repeatedly failed, and what did that experience teach you?

This is a great chance to see what type of character a person has. Do they have a concrete example or do they appear like they are trying to reach for an answer? If the answer seems very short, you can always ask for a second example. This also lets you see if your candidate can admit to a failure while showing how they’ve grown.

4. How would you prioritize your time if you were assigned multiple tasks with the same deadline?

How does the candidate handle pressure and what is their time management like? Are they willing to ask for help where necessary, or find a way to complete them all on their own? You should also get an idea of their problem-solving abilities as well.

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

How does this person get along with other people they work with? Are they outgoing or more reserved? This will help you get an idea of how they form work relationships and how you might expect them to work with others, and if it would fit with your culture.

6. If you were hired for this position, what are the first three things you would do?

This can give you an insight into what was discussed in the first interview about challenges for this role. It will also show the interest level they have in the role, if they’ve done research on your company and the struggles they perceive the company might have. You also will get an understanding of how they will make an impact on the organization.

7. Why do you want to work for our company?

What about the company is of interest to this individual, maybe it’s a cause you support or because of the mission of your organization. This will let you see if they are interested in your company or if they’re viewing this as another job opportunity.

8. What challenges are you missing in your current role?

What is the candidate missing from their current role and what might be a motivation for them in their next role? This will help you gauge what projects they would enjoy early on to provide a challenge to them.

9. What would you like to change about our company?

How would this individual be able to positively impact the company? Are they able to notice things from their research or the interviews, this will give you ideas of areas to allow them to help the company to grow.

10. What type of management style works best for you?

People respond differently to management styles and this will give you an idea of what might work for this person. You can also get a feel for if they will be able to fit with the team or if there might be potential conflicts with the manager they’ll be working with.

11. Have you ever been in a work situation where you were asked to do something you felt was unethical?

This is another question where you’re looking for examples of what has happened before. While you know a candidate wouldn’t say it’s okay to be unethical, you’re looking to see how they would handle being in this situation.

12. Looking back, what could you have done to make a difficult work relationship better?

This question will allow you to see how a candidate has learned from this situation. Are they able to grow as a person, or were they able to rise above the situation? If it appears someone might hold a grudge still, you’ll be able to know how they would fit with your company culture.

13. Tell us more about your current job and responsibilities?

This is a chance to learn more about their role than what’s previously been discussed. This also gives you a chance to see if what they’ve done outside of their resume matches up well with the new job expectations.

14. What are your salary expectations?

If a candidate is actively looking for a new role, this is a chance for everyone to level-set. Expectations might have changed since the initial interview, or it’s possible they have received a raise as well which can move a benchmark.

15. Why do you think you should be the top choice for this position?

This is a chance for a candidate to be honest and succinct while summarizing their experiences with the expectations for the role. You want to pay attention to see if someone is being arrogant or talking about how they fit with your company.