Alliance Resources

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Bring Your A Game to the Second Interview

Congratulations! You impressed the first-round interviewer — your preparation and presentation paid off. You landed that second interview. But hold on…. This doesn’t mean you are a shoo-in for the position. Oftentimes, the second interview requires more prep and planning than that first meeting. Here’s what you can expect in round two.
The follow-up meeting typically includes other key stakeholders, such as future teammates and managers. Many times, you will not have met the real decision makers until the second round or later. You might be asked to participate in a series of one-on-one interviews or a panel discussion, so treat this as another opportunity to make another great first impression.

Questions You Might be Asked
While your initial interview most likely covered skillsets and experience in general, the follow-up round will dig deeper into your specific role at the company.
Here are 10 questions you might be asked that will help future colleagues visualize you in the position:

  1. What interests you most about this job? Share unique skills that you will apply, detail what you hope to learn, and explain how you expect to grow.
  2. Which of your skills and strengths make you a great fit for the position? Explain what sets you apart from other candidates. Provide concrete examples from previous experience or training. Emphasize how you will make a meaningful impact.
  3. Explain your role at your most recent or current job. Briefly describe everyday tasks and highlight special projects that you led.
  4. How can you make a challenging workplace or situation better? Showcase your critical thinking skills and attributes of teamwork. Patience, leadership and agility are important here.
  5. What are your greatest attributes in being a team member? Emphasize mentoring or coaching experiences, discuss accountability, agility and empathy, as well as meeting deadlines.
  6. What is your greatest strength and weakness? Be honest. Share what challenges you in a professional environment and how it can become a learning or growth opportunity. Use specific examples to describe the areas in which you excel.
  7. What has been the most difficult decision you ever made on the job? Explain your decision-making style, personal values and ethics. Ensure your answer aligns with the research you’ve done on the company’s culture and vision.
  8. What was your most significant contribution at your last or current job? Detail your technical expertise, special trainings or qualifications, and management or leadership qualities. Be specific with timelines and outcomes. Also explain how you pivoted with challenges or roadblocks.
  9. What type of work environment do you prefer? Be honest here, too, and align your response around the corporate culture and ethos.

If hired, what would you do in the first year to establish yourself? Research, research, research the company’s products, services and culture to explain how you can make meaningful impact as a new hire.

Questions to Ask
After the first interview you’ve had time to digest, reflect and dive deeper into the position and company. You should have taken time to further research the company and the people you are interviewing during the second round. Use this opportunity to ask thoughtful, open-ended questions that both illustrate your critical thinking skills and better position you as the ideal candidate. Elaborate on anything you have learned from the first interview.

Here are some examples of follow-up questions to ask your interviewer(s):

  1. How would you describe the company culture and how does that contribute to the work I would be doing?
  2. What do you like most about working for the company?
  3. What challenges is the company currently facing or will face in the year to come?
  4. In this role, what would my first 30, 60 and 90 days look like? What does success look like a year from now?
  5. In your opinion, what’s qualities do the most successful employees at the company share?

What continued education and/or growth opportunities do you provide to employees?
Video Tips
In the New Normal, most interviews will continue to be held via video and might have more than one interviewer.
In an increasingly virtual workforce with work-from-anywhere policies, you’ll want to showcase your digital savviness and create a professional looking backdrop — even if you’re working from the kitchen table.

  • Ensure high quality video and audio. Prior to the meeting, test your bandwidth for a strong connection and make sure your camera and microphone are working.
  • Download the meeting platform in advance and test it with a couple of friends or family members.
  • Position yourself with bright light on your face, whether natural or from a lighting accessory. Most online retailers have inexpensive options that work great and can be delivered quickly.
  • Find or create a clean and professional looking background. Remove any messes or clutter behind you. If possible, avoid including your bed in the background.
  • Wear headphones if you anticipate ambient noise might be a problem.
  • Close the door to your video location to minimize distractions.
  • Wear professional clothing.
  • Remember that they are actually looking at you, so sit up, pay attention, look into the camera as if you were sitting in the room with them. Fidgeting or looking around unnecessarily shows poorly in video.

Again, test your hardware, software, location and internet connection with several family members or friends. It could be detrimental if you’re unable to establish a strong connection for your conversation.
More tips: Read our No More Excuses for Zoom Fails blog.
Final Prep
Take the time needed to thouroughly prepare for your follow-up interview. Practice and be prepared. Here are a few final details and tips:

  1. Review your resume and be prepared to answer specific questions based on your work history and skills listed.
  2. Compile work samples to share. This is an opportunity to showcase your work. Be organized and have concrete samples that you can quickly showcase.
  3. Know your response if offered the job. Say yes if you’re certain you want it. If you need time to think, say so. Politely explain you need a few days to talk with your family and clarify the next steps. Will they follow up? If so, when? Or should you reach out within the next week?
  4. Send a thank you email or note to each person who interviewed you. Detail one thing you specifically liked about the conversation or questions they asked.


Do all of these things and you’ll be as prepared as possible for that second round of interviews. Now, go out there and impress!


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