With most professional positions, the first interview is simply a chance for the Hiring Manager to meet you and see if you have the right experience and skillset to perform the role. As you gain seniority, second-round interviews become increasingly more common and are used to dig deeper into what makes you the ideal candidate.
It can be hard to know what to expect from your second interview questions, so we have pulled together some of the most common ones below along with some helpful tips about how you should approach them.
1. What Can Our Company Do Better?
This question is intended to see the level of insight you possess and whether you’ve researched the company. Though it might be tempting to be complimentary with your answer, the interviewer is assessing your ability to identify areas for improvement and drive change in the company.
By this stage, you should possess a strong understanding of the company, its operations and its position in the industry. Before the interview, make a list of areas where you think the company can improve and come up with solutions for how to address them. When this question comes up during the interview, your answers will show that you are thinking about how to fix problems as well as find them.
2. What Type of Impact Did You Make at Your Last Job?
An interviewer will ask this to gain a better understanding of your last role while also assessing your ability to self-reflect and self-critique. This question is a wonderful opportunity to expand on your past accomplishments and emphasise why you are the perfect candidate for the role.
It is important that your answers are informative and well-prepared ahead of the interview. Start by discussing specific projects you were involved with and their tangible outcomes, for example, how much revenue they generated or whether they led to ongoing work with a client. These outcomes will give the interviewer clear metrics of your success, but don’t forget to touch on some of your more intangible accomplishments too.
Being able to provide examples of any positive cultural or workflow changes that you were responsible for will show the interviewer that you are well-rounded and not just driven by the bottom line.
For more senior positions, Hiring Managers are looking for candidates that can make a wider impact on their company beyond the day-to-day responsibilities of their role. If you can demonstrate your ability to do this, you will have a much greater chance of securing the job.
3. Tell Us About a Time You Overcame Adversity
This is probably the most common question you will encounter in second-round interviews. Similar to asking about areas for improvement, your interviewer is not wanting you to just point out negatives but rather to offer solutions to overcoming difficult situations. You may have encountered adversity in workplace relationships, client interactions or unforeseen project obstacles and will want to focus your answer on the positive outcomes you achieved.
Generally, it is better to discuss adversity or challenges you faced within the role. Interpersonal difficulties do occur but are harder to frame in a positive light and can risk giving the impression that you are difficult to work with or not a team player. Using an example of a time you made a sale to a resistant client, for instance, presents a clear challenge you might face in the role and your solution to it. This will allow your interviewer to see how you would handle the same situation at their company.
4. What Do You Hope to Gain From This Role?
Interviewers ask this question to assess both your short and long-term career goals and whether their company aligns with them. Begin by briefly discussing where you are currently in your career and where you hope to be – within the next one, three or five years. Employers like ambition, so don’t be afraid to mention specific career goals. These could be sales targets, certain projects you hope to work on or positions within a company you want to achieve.
Be sure to tie these goals back to the job you are interviewing for and how you think it will help you reach them. This could mean acquiring technical skills you don’t currently possess or gaining exposure to certain clients or niches within the industry.
Whatever it is, you want to show your interviewer that you have thought about what you want from the job and how both you and the company will benefit from you filling that position.
5. What Is Your Ideal Work Environment?
Similarly to the previous question, this helps an interviewer determine what you’re looking for in the wider experience of the job. Whilst you might want to tailor your answer to the employer’s work environment, the most important thing is to be truthful. Talk about what enables you to perform best in a job and what you value in a workplace. If you work in sales then your ideal environment might be competitive, with a strong focus on targets and KPIs.
However, if you are in marketing then you probably thrive in an environment centred around collaboration and idea-sharing. This is also a good opportunity to mention things like your preferred management style and even to ask some questions of the employer. Do you need a more supportive environment with clear expectations and milestones, or do you prefer to work independently?
Because everyone varies so much in their individual needs, there is no correct answer to this question. However, a core goal of the second interview question is learning whether the employer and applicant will be a good fit, so make sure to think seriously about the kind of environment you need to succeed in a job.
6. Why Should We Hire You?
This is usually the final question in a second-round interview and it is your chance to really pitch yourself to the employer. Again, you will want to keep your answer relevant to the job and what benefits you will bring to the company and the role.
Start by addressing the responsibilities outlined in the job description and support your answers with evidence. For example,
“You are looking for a Head Sales Representative to help push new products onto the market. I believe I am the right person for this role as I have led my company in sales for the past three years and have four years of experience in bringing new products to market.”
Next, touch on why you want to work for that company and what you hope to gain from the job. Hiring managers look for candidates who are passionate about the role and will engage with it fully, so try to highlight your enthusiasm and any specific goals you hope to achieve.
Finally, mention the intangible aspects and qualities that you will bring to the role and how these will benefit the company. These could be knowledge, connections or attitude. Whatever it is, you want to draw a direct connection between what you possess and what the company needs in order to reinforce to the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position.
By following these tips, you should be well-prepared for any questions that come your way in a second-round interview. Be sure to highlight the positive outcomes in every answer and connect it back to the job description to give yourself the best chance of securing the role.
If you’re looking for a new position or just want some more helpful tips on how to nail your next interview, get in touch with one of our team at YourResourcing. We are a leading Queensland recruitment agency with an extensive network of employers across a range of white-collar industries. No matter your profession, our teams in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast can help connect you with leading employers so you can take the next step in your career.