The 9 Most Common Second-Round Interview Questions

You’ve done it. After reading Prepory’s Guide to a Successful Interview and wowing the interviewers, you’ve been called back for a follow up interview.

However, the hard work is far from over. The most common 2nd round interview questions are often highly individualized and go into more detail about the company as a whole. Expect to answer more questions and spend more time in the interview room than you did in your initial interview. The second interview is the time to prove to employers that you fully understand the company, company culture, and are excited to move forward with the position. This may mean doing a little more research outside of the company website. Visit the company’s social media, read articles about the company, and privately look at employee’s LinkedIn profiles to gain important insight. These small details can help you stand out. In fact, 47% of interviewees said they wouldn’t hire someone who had no knowledge of their company.

Second Interview Questions:
How to Prepare

You can and should go through our list of sample second round interview questions, but you should also take on other measures to prepare for your interview.

Reflect

Before going to a second-round job interview, reflect on your first job interview. Think about the way the interview went. Are there any areas for improvement? Did you provide enough details about the work you did? Did you use too many filler words? Did you display open, welcoming body language? Did you maintain positive energy throughout the interview?

Identify a few areas of improvement and think of a few ways to address them before the next interview. Perhaps you used too many filler words the first time around. Spend the next few days avoiding filler words at all to get in the practice of speaking without them. Perhaps you didn’t provide enough details about the scope of your work. Practice speaking about your accomplishments with colleagues who worked with you when you accomplished them. They may help you remember details or help you properly explain exactly what you did. Not to mention, interviewers will notice the difference.

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Interviewers assume you are likely interviewing with other companies as well. Remembering details such as granular information about the company and interviewers’ names will bode well for you. It will show that you genuinely care and are interested in the company.

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Practice makes perfect!

While reflecting is extremely important to the second round interview, you should also be prepared for the 15 most common second round interview questions. Familiarize yourself with these questions and have a short answer prepared for each before walking into your second interview.

9 Most Common Second Interview Questions with Sample Answers

We have compiled a list of sample second round interview questions to help you prepare for your interview. Make sure that by your second interview, you have a solid answer for each question. 

01

What are your career goals?

“I want to continue to grow within the technology industry. By the end of this year, I want to be certified in Adobe Creative Suite, Python, and R programming languages. In the next five years, I want to take on a management role and manage larger projects that develop websites, applications, and user interfaces for clients.”

Interviewers ask this question with a single intention: to find out if you plan to grow in their company or if you will use the position as merely a stepping stone. The latter is not ideal for most companies. Therefore, don’t mention future plans for moving to another city or going back to school. Interviewers want to feel secure that you will spend time maturing in their company and climbing the ranks. They also want to know that your career goals fall in line with the work you’re doing. The best method for answering this question is by stating that you want to achieve executive levels in the industry you are applying to. Your answer should highlight direction and focus.

02

Why did you want this position?

"I want to work here because I admire your firm’s work and adaptability. I spent time looking through your current client list and found clients across multiple industries. I also looked at the social media accounts you managed and I was impressed with your ability to create a distinct voice for each client. I am about the prospect of learning the creative process that determines a client’s voice and brand aesthetic.”

This question gauges your true interest in the company and company fit. Obviously, salary and benefits make up a good percentage of why you’re applying for any position. Those details are not what employers are looking for. You should not state that as the reason you want to work at a company. They want to see the passion for the work you will be doing and the company you will work for, especially when the job becomes more difficult. Are you excited about the clients the company serves? Are you excited about the functions of the job? Does the company align with your values or passions? Ensure that your answer is company-specific. Use information about the company you’re applying for to support your answer.

03

Why should we hire you?

"I have years of experience in the event planning industry. I would be eager to pass down my knowledge and experience to a young team of event planners. I believe my many leadership development opportunities have prepared me to lead this team in a supportive and collaborative manner."

Interviewers are asking you to sell yourself here. Have two or three things in mind that set you apart from the rest. Perhaps you have extensive experience in the expected work. Conversely, maybe you are a novice in your field but are a hard worker who doesn’t mind putting in the extra work to make a difference. This question is likely the only time in the interview where you get to direct the conversation and point to your specific strengths. Use this question wisely. Employers are asking you to prove your worth. Do it intentionally.

Things you can highlight: experience, abilities, unusual skill set, or talents that could be useful for the job, passions, personal qualities.

04

What is your ideal work environment?

"I thrive in environments that value collaboration and honesty. I firmly believe that diversity of thought and experience makes for a better environment. But I also think it is important to remain honest to ensure collaboration does not lead to echo chambers or groupthink. From your website, it seems like you value those concepts as well; I would be excited to work with a company that upholds my values."

This question measures your relative fit. In short, they want you to answer the following:

  1. Do you like working in teams or working alone?
  2. What kind of companies do you like to work in? (Scrappy startup versus big corporate firm)
  3. What is your work style? Are you an organized, linear thinking, and analytical worker? Or, do you prefer controlled messes and short sprints of deeply focused work?
  4. When answering these questions, ensure your answers align with the company’s culture. Again, your research could help inform this answer.
05

What would you want to accomplish in your first 30 days at this company?

"Within the first 30 days at this company, I hope to formalize the sales process; I remember you all mentioning that was a pain point within the company. I plan to begin by getting a pulse on individual sales team members’ processes. Using that qualitative information, I will work on a plan that serves all team members. I will also consult with a few sales applications and platforms to find the best way to optimize our sales process. I also help to hope to set a precedent of open communication channels by implementing biweekly meetings where team members inform the team of their work. "

This question is likely the hardest question in the interview. Interviewers want to know that you have thought extensively about the position and its expectations. They want to see that you will bring new, fresh ideas that won’t keep the status quo but change it. You want to prove to them that you not only have ideas to improve the company but you have a plan to get there. Perform an audit of the company. Identify a few weaknesses and create feasible solutions to fix them.

Don’t worry if you’re making assumptions about what can and can’t be done at the company. They aren’t expecting you to fully understand all of the processes that take place within the company. Instead, they are expecting to see your creativity, innovation, and initiative.

06

What challenges are you lacking in your current job?

"While I liked my last position, I wanted to work for a company with a bigger client base. I am excited to work at a company that has world-renowned clients in the industry all over the world."

Underneath the surface, interviewers are asking one thing: Why are you leaving your current job? Remain diplomatic when answering this question. In other words, don’t mention terrible coworkers or incompetent bosses. Those types of comments reflect poorly on you rather than your previous team. Instead, focus on your future and opportunities.

07

Can you provide an example of a time you worked with a coworker you didn’t get along with?

In my last position, my boss partnered my coworker Sarah and I together to work on a project. We often disagreed on how much time and detail we need to devote to aspects of the project. I realized Sarah had a different approach than I did so I allocated time for us to sit down with one another and get to the heart of our differences. Once I understood our strengths and weaknesses, we were able to more efficiently allocate our time. We collaborated and assigned tasks based on our strengths.

How you answer this question helps employers identify signs of a bad coworker. It’s likely you won’t like every single person you work with. Employers want to know that you can still be professional and respectful even when you’re working with someone you don’t like. Much like the previous question, be diplomatic in your response. Focus on the positives and don’t take too much time explaining the flaws of a previous coworker. Provide examples of effective conflict resolution. Use examples such as honest open communication, acknowledging your own flaws, and finding compromises. Ensure your answer has a positive response and highlights your empathy and willingness to work through difficult situations.

08

How do you respond to stressful work environments?

When I’m stressed, I become very quiet and hyper-focused. I am usually a very jovial employee. But in stressful moments I am more likely to focus all of my energies on finishing a project. For example, in my last position, my manager asked me to take on a failing project and turn it around in a matter of two months. At first, I wasn’t sure how I could execute such a task. I became a very quiet employee because I was trying to maintain a deep-work focus. I informed my coworkers that I was busy and needed time to work. They were very understanding and gave me the space I requested. Within two months, I improved the project team’s productivity by 53% and saved the company $40,000.

Every company wants employees that can work well under pressure. Stressful situations are unavoidable. It is important that employees know how to deal with them in a calm, collected manner. Start with a general answer about your stress habits and move into a more specific example. With this in mind, you can highlight your strengths in your answer. 

09

Is there anything you want to revisit from your previous interview?

In the first interview, we touched on the types of clients you typically serve. However, afterward, I did some research and found a few companies that fell out of your “typical” client list. How did those relationships develop and how do these accounts differ from your regular account?

You should always have an answer to this question. It helps interviewers understand your communication skills and your ability to remember key details. This is why it is pivotal to spend time reflecting on your first interview. Ask clarifying questions informed by your own research and information provided in the first interview. Do not spend time re-answering questions asked in the first interview. It looks unprofessional.

Out of the box second round interview questions

What is your spirit animal?

"I am a seal because I am loyal and travel with a small group of people. Seals are known for being quieter when they’re on land but are more comfortable when they feel confident in a situation. I think this explains me: cautious yet excited."

Try to be creative in your response while providing some more information about yourself. Many interviews hire off of gut feel alone. Use this answer to help interviewers see your personality; it will help them understand who you are and how you make them feel. Out of all of your answers, this has the potential to be the most memorable.

What are some common misconceptions about you?

"People often think I am quiet because I usually take some time before opening up. The time I spend observing people allows me to understand who they are and what’s important to them. I like to have context about people so I can better interact with them. After I know you, I am very extroverted."

Be mindful when answering this question. Word choice is very important. You want to avoid negatively charged words like stand-offish, rude, mean, cold. This question helps hiring teams understand your impression on others. Be sure to redeem yourself by describing your true, good nature and why people may misperceive you.

What three things would you take on a desert island?

"I would take unlimited water bottles, Harry Potter, and rope. Harry Potter was my book growing up; I would love to spend time rereading those books to bring me back to a simpler time. I would also bring rope so I could teach myself some knots and ways to use the land around me to make shelter and tools."

The open-endedness of this question helps interviewers understand what kind of person you are. Do you simply focus on practicality (rope, water, boat, lighters, etc.) or do you focus on the possibilities of limitless opportunities to learn and grow (books, art supplies, workout gear, etc.). This also helps them understand what matters to you. In a dire situation, what do you bring to keep yourself happy? In other words, what makes you happy?

Key Takeaways About Second Round Interview Questions

Second round interviews are both exciting and nerve-racking. It means you may be nearing the end of the job search process. However, there is an added level of pressure. Don’t get too overwhelmed about the process. Prepare as much as possible, get a good night’s sleep the night before, and be yourself. After your second interview, send a thank-you email or thank-you note to the hiring manager or interviewer(s). Use their names and add personalized details from the interview. These details both help them remember who you are and highlight your ability to build meaningful connections with your potential coworkers.  While nearing the end of the interview process, you should do everything you can to set yourself apart from the other candidates. Finally, be ready and be confident. The job is in sight!

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