Best Classic Second Interview Questions And Example Answers

Great news!  You have been invited back for a second interview.  This is so positive for a number of reasons.  Obviously, you are a step nearer that role you are interested in, and have invested so much time in.  Secondly, you are a credible candidate for this and for other similar roles.  You have presented yourself well and given well-thought out answers to the interviewer’s questions, demonstrating a knowledge of the role and the organisation.  So, although second interviews are as nerve-wracking, if not more so, than first interviews, you can approach them with a degree of confidence.

So how is your second interview likely to differ from your first?

  • You are likely to be interviewed by additional people, but at least 1 person from the first round will possibly be involved, to give continuity. Make sure you remember the names of the people who interviewed you first time around.
  • When site/office-based work resumes you will probably be given a tour of the area where you might be working. Be positive and open with any introductions and if timing allows ask brief simple questions eg “How long have you worked here?” “What do you enjoy about the role?”
  • Depending on the role, there could well be a task associated with the second interview. You may have been asked to prepare a presentation and been given all the details, or you may have been given an outline of the task “You will be asked to prioritise a list of tasks” or “draft a response to a dissatisfied customer.”  Always practice a presentation beforehand, checking illustrations and links; and give yourself thinking time for less structured tasks.

Second Interview Questions

Questions at the second interview are likely to be more role-specific and designed to give you the opportunity to show how your skills and experience match the requirements.  There may well be gaps, candidates are often looking for roles where they can grow.  The second interview gives both interviewer and candidate the opportunity to learn how to bridge those gaps, and show whether the candidate has the capabilities to grow into the role.

General questions are likely to include the following:

  • Drawing on your previous experience, what do you feel you can bring to this role?
  • Do you feel there are any areas where you lack specific experience and how would you overcome this?
  • For a supervisory/managerial role – Can you describe your leadership style, giving examples of a) how you have dealt with conflict and b) how you motivate a team?
  • If you are teamed with a colleague with a different approach to achieving task objectives, how would you ensure a positive outcome?

There will also be questions directed at your specific function so be prepared to highlight your knowledge of your specialist area. For example:

  • Human Resources: knowledge of employment law, how you led during ever-changing situations such as the Covid crisis, your knowledge of new approaches to Talent Development.
  • Finance: knowledge of accounting protocols, budgeting and forecasting, give examples of a leadership and/or advisory situation; do you interact with the Board?
  • Sales: be prepared to articulate performance management techniques, reward, motivation; how would you approach a shrinking market?
  • Technology: be prepared to explain how you keep your knowledge up to date; how do you cope with stressful situations; how are you able to make technical solutions accessible to a non-technical audience?

Some of these areas of questioning may overlap with questions in the first round of interviews, but you are being given the opportunity to revisit these areas to show more detail and more expertise.

Although many organisations discuss working arrangements and terms and conditions at a later meeting, others may introduce these items at the second interview, so if the basics are not clear from the initial posting, advertisement or approach, be prepared for an initial discussion around these.

So the keys are:

Preparation: however, don’t be so prepared with your answer that you are unable to answer the actual questions directly.

Confidence: Be open and engaging to avoid an impression of over-confidence

Transparency: if you haven’t understood a question or a task, say so rather than spend valuable thinking time, worrying whether you have misheard or misunderstood.

Try and enjoy your second interview.  The team are looking for someone who will become a valued colleague and it is your chance to show that this valued colleague could be you.

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