Second-round interview questions

Looking for second interview questions to ask candidates as part of the interview process? This template offers employers examples of good second interview questions.

What questions to ask candidates in a second interview

The hiring process usually includes a few stages: After an initial candidate screening, the second round of interviews takes place. Here, interviewers have selected a small number of qualified candidates to assess how they’ll fit their organization.

For the second job interview, the candidate will generally meet with either the hiring manager, another member of the recruiting team or the CEO. If the candidate has previously completed a test or assignment, during the second interview the interviewer could discuss the candidate’s performance.

The second interview should provide you with a shortlist of potential hires. Choose questions that will help you identify people whose values align with your company’s mission and will contribute to your objectives. For second round interview questions, focus on role-specific skills to help determine the best potential hires.

Here are some sample second interview questions to ask candidates:

Second interview questions examples

  • Tell me about a time when a project’s priorities changed suddenly and you had to adapt.
  • What would you do if you were assigned multiple tasks with the same deadline?
  • Who are our competitors and what makes us different from them?
  • What’s our mission?
  • What do you know about our products/services? Have you used them before?
  • What makes you want to work here?

How to assess a second interview

  • Ask more in-depth second round interview questions to discover your candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. Include:
  • You should also assess how each candidate will fit your organization and whether they’ll be able to collaborate with their team. Ask questions that evaluate:
  • A successful hire will stay with your company for a long period of time and increase your retention rates. During second interviews, pay attention to candidates whose long-term career goals match your company’s objectives.

Red flags

  • Lack of preparation. When you invite a candidate for a second interview, they should come prepared with good questions about your company. If they don’t know important things (e.g. what your products/services are), they mightn’t be very interested in this position. Candidates who have done their research show that they care.
  • A passive attitude. Candidates who pass to the second round interview are already qualified for the role, as far as main skills are concerned. Both the candidate and the company now want to identify if they’ll be a good match. Therefore, a candidate who doesn’t ask follow-up questions about the organization or the role might lack motivation. Opt for people who are enthusiastic about working at your company.
  • Mismatched expectations. In the second interview, you have the chance to discuss further details regarding the open role: salary and bonus options, working hours, benefits and development plans. It’s best for candidates and interviewers to be transparent about their expectations upfront. If there are early disagreements, it’s likely you won’t be able to see eye to eye in future situations.
  • Resistance to change. Before moving a candidate to the last phase or offering them the job, make sure they’ll adapt well to your company’s potential growth. Be clear about your procedures and your way of working. If they seem inflexible from the outset, they could hurt your entire team’s performance down the line.