Selecting the best person from many great candidates during the hiring process makes for a difficult decision. A second round of interviews is the best way to find the ideal candidate from the applicants who passed the initial interview and left good impressions.
Here are 50 good questions to ask in a second-round interview to identify the best candidate who will be a good fit for the company.
50 Best Questions for Employers to Ask Candidates in Second Round Interviews
1. Tell me about your greatest achievement.
People with a track record of strong achievement are more likely to continue to be strong achievers.
2. What is your biggest weakness?
As a prospective employer, it is valuable to assess if a candidate is self-aware, honest, and has a plan to improve their shortcomings.
3. Describe a time when you failed.
This is a great question for a second interview for two reasons. It assesses honesty and willingness to admit to failure. It also shows how they respond to failure itself, which says a lot about their personality.
4. How do you respond to criticism?
One of the most important things for long-term success in a new company is the ability to accept correction and make changes.
5. Tell me about yourself.
This is one of the most common questions asked. A good candidate should provide an answer that states their skills and knowledge, shows their expertise in this type of role, and explains their values as a person.
6. What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
As a potential employer, finding job candidates that make good use of their personal time is a strong indicator that they will also make effective use of their professional time.
7. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Candidates with good answers to this question are more likely to know themselves, and they will be able to explain how they will contribute to the team and company.
8. What motivates you?
Specific questions like this reveal self-centered or unmotivated candidates. Good candidates will be externally motivated by work-related factors such as meeting deadlines or achieving goals.
9. What didn’t you like about your last job?
This question is good for a second job interview as it addresses pain points from a candidate’s previous experience. Negative responses may indicate people with poor motivation, poor interpersonal skills, who feel entitled or who are problematic.
10. Why are you choosing to leave your current job?
Similar to #9, this is designed to identify candidates who are leaving their current roles for self-centered or problem-related reasons. Watch out for answers conveying that the candidates are not good team members, believe they are always right, or are just looking for a bigger paycheck.
11. Describe the values you believe make a good team player.
Candidates who understand the qualities of good teamwork are more likely to work well with teams of different people and their potential coworkers. Those who cannot answer this question likely lack teamwork skills.
12. Describe your ideal boss.
Detailed questions like this can reveal if a candidate will have conflicts with their team leaders or department heads and if they are realistic and grounded in their workplace expectations.
13. What is your management style, and why?
The purpose of this question is to ascertain if a candidate’s leadership style will fit well with the team they will be leading and the company as a whole.
14. How do you prioritize your work?
Candidates with strong time management and prioritization skills will be easier to manage and generally more productive.
15. What are the 5 most important skills and attributes required to perform this job? How do you rate yourself on those skills?
Answering this question demonstrates an understanding of what is required in the role and preparedness to meet these requirements.
16. How does this job fit your career path?
Candidates who are the best fit will explain exactly how this role is right for them and are more likely to remain with the company for a longer time.
17. How can you contribute to our organization?
This question will show that a candidate has done in-depth research about the role and requires specific examples of the skills they have to excel in the position.
18. Describe your greatest strength in relation to this position.
This question is a fast way to separate the best potential employees as only well-prepared applicants will excel at this question.
19. What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this role?
Most candidates will not be prepared to discuss their shortfalls specific to the positions and will be caught off guard, revealing their weaknesses.
20. Why do you want to work for our company?
This question will identify those people who are motivated to work for your company and will stay with the company long-term.
21. Why do you want this job?
This is one of the most common interview questions. This is useful to reveal which candidates are just looking for a paycheck and do not care about the role.
22. What actions will you take in the first 30 days if you are hired for this role?
Strong candidates will have an idea of how they plan to begin the role. Even if they are wrong, this demonstrates planning and interest in the role.
23. Which of our company goals do you most strongly relate with, and why?
Good candidates will have researched your company and feel connected to it. They are motivated to work there and not elsewhere.
24. Describe your ideal work environment.
This question can find those who are a good match for the company’s values and culture and will not destabilize the company or their team.
25. What applicable experience do you bring from your previous roles?
In-depth questions like this will show which candidates have reflected on the skills required to perform the job effectively and likely bring more relevant skills from a recent job or jobs.
26. We have invited 7 other people for second interviews. What makes you different?
The answer to this question is a great way to shortlist standout candidates who offer the most useful and unique value to the company.
27. What makes you unique?
All second-stage candidates will have strong potential. It’s important to identify what value one candidate offers over the others.
28. Tell me 3 positive things about yourself and 3 negative things.
This question reveals what strengths are brought to the role and compares them directly against accompanying weaknesses.
29. Have you ever had to deliver bad news to a customer? If so, please tell me about it.
Behavioral questions like these are used to discover how a person might respond in a typical scenario while working for your company and to see if their values align with the company.
30. Describe a situation when you disagreed with your boss and the outcome.
It is important that employees will uphold policy, procedure, and law while balancing this with following instructions and respecting superiors.
31. Tell me about a difficult situation you have overcome.
An ideal candidate should possess the skills and resilience to overcome difficult situations without solely relying on their managers to respond or take charge.
32. Please provide an example of a time you faced conflict in their last position.
Knowing how a person will respond to conflict reflects their character and maturity.
33. Provide an example of where you faced a challenging problem at work.
This question will reveal a candidate’s decision-making process, particularly in the face of adverse conditions.
34. Give an example of when you have had to work under pressure.
For high-pressure roles, you can eliminate any candidate who doesn’t demonstrate an ability to deliver results in a high-pressure environment.
35. Describe a time when you delivered excellent customer service.
In any customer-facing role, candidates must demonstrate that they understand the value of customers to the company and their actions reflect this understanding.
36. Describe a time you made a mistake at work.
The ability of a person to admit to making mistakes is indicative of their honesty, integrity, and strength of character. You also want to understand how they remedied or did in response to their mistake.
37. Have you ever had to respond to a customer complaint from a difficult customer? If so, tell me about it.
How a candidate responds to customer complaints will show how they value both the company and its policies and the customer and its importance to the success of the business.
38. Provide an example of when you have explained something technical to a non-technical person.
It is important for staff in technical positions or specialized roles to be able to communicate effectively with their managers and other non-technical staff.
39. What is your best accomplishment as part of a team?
Companies are a collective of people, so new staff must demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of a team.
40. If you are successful and this job is not what you expected, what would you do?
This question will find candidates who have not researched the job fully and are unlikely to remain committed in the long run.
41. How would you respond if you are hired, and you didn’t get along with somebody in your team?
Questions like this uncover difficult people who may have been insincere in addressing other teamwork-based questions.
42. What would make you want to quit in your first month of working here?
An ideal candidate should not respond beyond confirming that they have researched the role and company and are confident that they want the position.
43. Is there anything from the previous interview you would like to discuss? If so, please ask.
This question provides an opening to find out if a potential employee has any reservations about working with the company and if they paid attention during the interview process.
44. Tell me about a time you had to deal with ambiguity.
This question tests critical thinking skills and the ability to apply them effectively in the workplace, especially when details are unavailable.
45. What are your future plans?
This question reflects on short-term goals and long-term objectives and checks that a candidate has considered their future in the role.
46. How does this job fit into your personal life?
Many candidates only consider a new job in relation to their career goals. If they become unhappy or stressed at home, their work performance is likely to suffer. Ideally, the answer to this question will help you gauge if the candidate will be able to focus on their job or if there is a dangerous amount of drama in their life.
47. What are your salary expectations for this role?
Serious candidates will have reflected on their salary expectations and be able to provide an answer. Plus, it is easier to make a job offer when you know a candidate’s expectations.
48. Is there anything else you would like to add to convince us that you are the best candidate for this job?
This is one of the best interview questions to ask. It is the last opportunity to let candidates with any extra skills or hidden talents showcase what they can bring to the business that may not have come up during their first-round interview.
49. Are you interviewing with any other companies?
It is a good sign if a candidate says “yes.” If they value themselves, they will not apply for just one job.
50. How do you make difficult decisions?
Potential employees must demonstrate the ability to make decisions in the best interests of the company.
It is a good idea for a hiring manager to consider the interview process in detail and construct your list of questions carefully. Consider the company culture and ask behavioral interview questions to ensure potential employees are a great fit. It is also important to check that a candidate’s skills are a match for the specific role as given in the job description. And, when making your final decision, remember that technical skills can always be taught, but a good attitude and work ethic are difficult to teach.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.