You’ve been called back for a second interview. Now what? The good news is that you are now significantly closer to getting that coveted job offer! Chances are, the employer’s already sold on your core competencies. Now the hiring manager wants to drill down a bit further. Will you fit into their company culture? Do you have relevant interpersonal skills to be successful in your new position? Most second interview questions will be in that vein, so you better get prepared to answer those!
The best way to prepare for your second interview is by getting your expectation right and prepping solid answers to the likely set of interview questions. In this post, we’ll help you navigate through both phases!
So What To Expect During The Second Interview?
The answer to this really depends on what you experienced in the first interview. Did you meet with an HR staffer, or a member of the department that you will be working at (hopefully!)?
If it’s the former, expect to meet with your potential department head and perhaps some other team members. You may even take a tour of the premises This is also the point at which you are most likely to be given a quick skills assessments.
Don’t be taken aback if this is a team interview. Also, be prepared for a longer interviewing process. Second interviews tend to be a bit more in-depth. After all, the employer has several goals on their agenda:
- Gauging your potential performance and overall qualifications against other finalists.
- Obtaining feedback from potential team members who meet with you.
- Testing the extent of your technical skills.
- Ensuring that you are on the same page with regard to compensation.
- Determining the cultural fit.
What Kind of Questions Are Asked on a Second Interview?
During your second interview, the employer will want to learn more about your skills, work style, and career objectives. If you had a phone interview first, they may want to ask several common interview questions first. For example:
Afterward, most will follow-up with more specific second interview questions such as the following six!
1. What skills will you use to perform this job effectively?
The aim of this question is to measure your competency. On the other hand, it also explores your working style a bit. So get ready to provide a two-fold answer:
- First, detail what hard skills you have that you believe will help you do the job.
- Prioritize highlighting the skills that suggest how you approach the job.
Here’s an example reply for a web designer:
“I think my mastery of Adobe studios is going to be key. Also, I really believe that my ability to communicate with non-technical users will come into play. I think it’s really important to make the process of web design more collaborative and less intimidating for all team members. That way everyone can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.”
2. How would you spend your first 30/60 days in this role?
This second interview question is more commonly posed to people in management or other executive positions. The goal is to learn how you will handle the transition into the role, and what you will do to become productive quickly.
You can also answer this question to demonstrate what skills and processes you’ll want to build up quickly. For example:
“First, I’d like to meet with all the team supervisors. I’d like to do a needs assessment with their input before setting any goals for the remainder of the year. After that, my focus will be on addressing the staffing issues we discussed in our first meeting.”
3. What are your short- and long-term career goals?
At this point, the hiring manager is already envisioning you as a member of their team. Keep that in mind, and give an answer that aligns with the company’s needs. Something like the following:
“In the short term, I’d like to use my talents in UX design to ensure the next release of Alien Wars is top-notch. Eventually, I would like to transition to the creative side of video game design by strengthening my skills in the areas of world-building and character development. I’m excited that this job will allow me to work with both the UX team and the animation/artistry team.”
Learn more about how to formulate and discuss your career goals.
Soft Skills Assessments
4. What’s your typical role on a team?
You may be tempted to overstate your position, or how you are perceived by your teammates. Don’t do this. Answers like, “I am the hardest working team member.” won’t serve you any good. Instead, focus on the things you do to make a meaningful, concrete contribution. Consider this:
“I tend to work very well with structure and predictability. Because of that, I am usually the team member who ensures that we stick to the project scope. I’m also very good at outlining short term goals and metrics.”
5. Do you delegate or do everything yourself?
This question is very common for management positions. Your answer should indicate your management style, plus suggest that your approach aligns with company values. Here are some points to cover:
- Your ability to build a strong team.
- That you can recognize your own strengths and weaknesses.
- Your willingness to jump in and lend a hand when required.
- Whether you prefer a flat or hierarchical management structure.
Take a look at the following example answer:
“I think an 80/20 approach works best in most cases. 80% of the time, I believe in trusting my team to do what they do best while I handle management functions. However, there is that 20% of the time when managers need to be prepared to take a hands-on approach.”
Question Regarding Salary/Compensation
6. What are your salary expectations?
When it comes to money talks, there are a few points to remember here. First, never give a low-ball answer in hopes of landing the job. You will only undervalue your talents. Likewise, don’t shoot too high in hopes of negotiating from there. Instead, give a thoughtful answer that shows you understand the salary range for your position and experience.
Here’s a good answer:
“65 thousand per year is my firm minimum. I’m currently earning 68K, but I am willing to take a small reduction in salary as long as health insurance is covered in full. I’d also like more information on your commission structure.”
Alternatively, if you don’t want to give away a certain number and wait for the offer, you can frame your answer the following way:
“I understand that similar positions pay between $65K and $75K per year. Considering the outlined scope of responsibilities, my skills, and past experience, I would also expect to receive an offer within this range.”
Landing a second interview means that the employer really likes you! Now you have the chance to drive the opportunity home. Be prepared for these common second interview questions and you should have a job offer before you know it!