Success at a second job interview depends on several factors, including familiarising yourself with common second interview questions. Here’s a list of questions to help you to prepare for a second job interview.
Second job interviews are becoming increasingly popular in recruitment processes.
First job interviews are conducted for the purpose of initial screening, to ensure the candidate has a satisfactory level of skills, knowledge, experience and education to undertake the role. This screening process may involve activities like psychometric testing as well as interviews.
Second job interviews are intended to explore elements of the first interview in more detail and to determine the cultural fit and motivation of the candidate. These job interviews are often conducted by senior leaders of the organisation, the direct manager, or casual conversations with colleagues or even assessment centres.
This post is about second interview questions.
What to expect regarding second interview questions
As your interviewer is trying to determine if you’re a good cultural fit for the organisation and understand your motivations, you can expect to be asked second interview questions to this solicit this information.
The interviewers want to know:
- your level of support for, and commitment to, the organisation’s mission, values, polices and procedures
- how well you would represent the organisation to clients, customers, stakeholders and the wider community
- how much you’re willing to contribute to the organisation (in terms of years of service, innovation and ‘going the extra mile’)
- your proficiency level of various transferable skills, workplace behaviours and preferred working styles
Some questions and content discussed in your first interview may be readdressed as you’ll be meeting various members of the organisation, but it’s unlikely to be the focus of the interview.
How to prepare for second interview questions
Before preparing for second interview questions, it’s important to reflect on your first job interview. Consider if there were any interview questions you felt you didn’t fully answer, or if you missed the opportunity to put forward a capability or experience of yours which could increase your competitiveness for the position. Be sure to address it next time around.
Prepare for references to your previous answers and more in-depth questioning. The interviewer may ask for clarification on a previous point or address any anomalies.
Review the research you did for your first interview, focusing on the organisation’s leadership, mission, values, community connections, types of clients, industry specialisation and so on. This will likely be the focus of the interview.
Be prepared for a practical element such as a presentation or responding to case studies. It’s common practice for these types of second interview questions to be provided to you prior to the big day, so ensure you spend as much time as possible preparing a comprehensive and articulate response. This also goes for your elevator pitch!
It’s likely you’ll be introduced to more members of the organisation, including leadership and colleagues. Ensure you have familarised yourself as much as possible with the organisational structure and employee details.
Common second interview questions
It’s likely some of the second interview questions will be similar to the first as you’re meeting new people, however most will be focused on cultural fit, motivation or innovation.
Here are some examples:
- So, tell us about yourself?
- What makes you a good candidate for this position?
- What motivated you to apply for this position?
- How does this role align with your career values/interests?
- Are you aware of our organisation’s mission? How could you contribute to it?
- Are you comfortable accepting our organisation’s values?
- How does this position align with your career goals?
- What’s your definition of a high-performing team?
- Can you give us an example of an innovative product, service, procedure or practice you’ve put into place?
- Can you give us an example of how you respond to organisational or technological change?
- When you see a colleague struggling at work, what do you do?
You should prepare for second interview questions the same way you would prepare for the first.
If you’re applying for a graduate position, check out this article: Graduate interview questions – the most comprehensive list you’ll find!
Killer second interview questions
If you’re applying for a leadership position in particular, you may receive some challenging scenarios or questions.
Here are some examples of killer second interview questions:
- Now that you’ve received an insight into our organisation, have you noticed any opportunities for innovation or improvement?
- What’s your first impression of our organisation?
- We’re currently experiencing <problem>. With your fresh eyes, how would you go about solving this?
- How would you describe our organisation/organisational culture in 3 words?
- What’s your view on the upcoming challenges for this organisation/industry?
- What opportunities do you see for this organisation/industry in the next 3-5 years?
- What threats do you see for this organisation/industry in the next 3-5 years?
- What have you done to help someone else succeed?
For a comprehensive list of interview questions, check out this article: 32 of the best interview questions to ask at your next job interview
Second interview questions and answers examples
Preparing answers to second interview questions is approached the same way as preparing for a first interview.
Here’s an example for ‘What makes you a good candidate for this job?’
The purpose of this interview question is two-fold. The interviewer is assessing what you know about the job and wants to hear about your key skills, relevant to the job.
If you’re experienced in the workforce and you’re applying for a job similar to what you’ve done in the past, this question shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge for you. If you’re changing your career or are new to the workforce, it might be a different story.
If you don’t have much experience with similar roles, here are a few ideas about how to research a job:
- Ask someone who is in a similar role (or better yet, the organisation) about the typical daily activities, the key skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the position or industry and the challenges faced regularly.
- Pay close attention to the job advertisement. The job advertisement will provide you with obvious and not-so-obvious clues about the organisation. ALWAYS review their website, social media and search for news articles to learn more about your potential employer BEFORE the interview.
- Australian career development websites such as My Future and Job Outlook are great resources to learn more about jobs including the common tasks, skills needed and expected salary range.
This interview question also provides you with an opportunity to share your unique set of skills, knowledge, qualifications, experience and traits (capabilities) with the interviewer. I recommend choosing 3-4 key capabilities and/or experiences to share, ensuring you provide examples that demonstrate your claims.
If you’ve already spoken about your capabilities throughout the interview, you can also respond in a way that demonstrates your knowledge about the organisation and how your career goals are aligned with the organisation’s goals/mission.
Check out this article for more examples of interview questions and answers: The top 5 interview questions you need to prepare for | interview questions australia
Questions to ask in a second interview
Second interview questions candidates ask should mirror the intent of the second interview.
Strategically preparing interview questions to ask an employer can provide you with valuable information about the organisation, its culture and people, and your potential career prospects.
Here are some examples of questions to ask in a second interview:
- How would you describe <organisation’s> culture in 3 words?
- How do you think <organisation> will be affected by emerging technology in the medium to long term future?
- Does <organisation> have any structured learning and development or career pathway plans for employees?
- What has been <organisation’s> biggest milestone/proudest achievement over the last 12 months?
- Would you consider <organisation> to be innovative? Can you give me an example?
- Where do you see <organisation> in 5-10 years time?
- What is <organisation> doing to build a high-performing team (if necessary)?
- I understand that <organisation’s> values are <values>? How is this reflected in the daily activities of <organisation>?
Second interview questions not to ask
As interviews are short and there’s a lot to cover, it’s important you made the best use of the time you’ve got!
Clarifying details about the vacant role is fine, but try not to revisit information already given. Similarly, asking about basic details regarding the organisation is not preferred. Ideally, you should already have this information from the first job interview and research you’ve done on the organisation’s social media and website. Use this time to ask second interview questions that dive deeper into the role, culture, organisation and so on.
Second job interviews don’t necessarily mark the end of the recruitment process! Therefore, you shouldn’t initiate a conversation regarding remuneration at this point, unless invited to do so by the interviewer. While it’s a promising sign to be invited to a second job interview, there may be other candidates in the running for the position. Conversations about remuneration are best left to the job offer stage of the recruitment process.
Second interview questions are all about getting to know the candidate better and determining their cultural fit with the organisation and their motivations.
The better prepared the candidate can be to respond to these questions, the higher chance of receiving a job offer.
This post was about second interview questions
Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward
Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.
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