If you’ve been asked back for a second interview, it’s very likely that you’re on the company’s short list. What’s the best way to prepare for this callback?
The nature of second round job interview questions depends on the purpose of the interview.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding the nature, structure or format for a second interview. In fact, many companies do not have a second interview at all. Companies that usually conduct a second round of job interview usually does so for any or all of following purposes:
- To gain more insight into the candidates skills, talent, and competence
- To ascertain how the candidate would behave or cope in specific job related conditions
- To test the candidates technical competency at a greater depth
- To allow a person senior in the hierarchy, such as the Chief Executive Officer or department head to meet and determine the candidates suitability
- To negotiate terms of employment such a working conditions, benefits, and pay
Large companies that have a lengthy recruitment process may have more than two interviews, with each interview serving any of the above purposes.
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Irrespective of the nature of the second interview, this interview invariably tries to ascertain whether the candidate “fits" the position and the company, and thereby incorporates a “behavioral" component in the interview.
The behavioral style of a job interview includes questions that try to ascertain the candidate’s general competence such as leadership skills, problem solving skills, decision-making ability, conflict resolution skills, motivation, orientation, commitment, and more. Common questions include:
- When was the last time you took initiative?
- The biggest crisis or challenge you faced in your career to date and how you overcame it
- Your best accomplishment to date
- An incident when you disagreed with your boss and how you dealt with it
- Share some experiences when leading your team… and much more
The candidate needs to prepare stories connected to their experience to prove their competencies in basic skills.
The second interview, aimed at picking the best candidates and usually meant for technical heads and other senior managers, may have a strong technical component as well. Possible questions relate to theories connected with the subject, latest trends and news, practical problems in the field, and more.
For instance, a candidate applying for a Human Resource position may have to answer about the latest amendments to a labor laws, or their opinion on which leadership style suits the organization best. A plant engineer may have to answer about standard safety regulations and any recent changes in such standards, and so on.
While most of the general information comes in the first interview, the second interview may witness collecting some in-depth information on the candidate that may influence the hiring decision. Matters negotiated at this stage are usually related to salary, benefits, and working hours including any special requirements.
The second round interview may also repeat some of the standard job interview questions asked in the first round, such as overview of strengths and weakness, running through the resume, reasons for quitting previous jobs, and how the candidate proposes to add value to the company, and so on. The reason for such repetition may be:
- Owing to different people conducting the interview. While there is no hard and fast rule, HR staff usually conduct the first round of interviews whereas subject experts and senior managers, including department heads and CEOs conduct the second round.
A deliberate means to cross check for consistency. Candidates would do well not to contradict themselves in the two interviews.