2nd Interview Questions – Creating a set of compulsory interview questions is never easy. In a few minutes, you have to get to know a candidate very well to determine if he/she can perform a complex job, fit your establishment’s culture, and not flake out after you have spent all that time training him/her.
In this article, I have compiled a list of the 15 interview questions and answers.
15 2nd interview Questions and Answers
1. “Tell me about a time you set difficult goals.”
A good answer to this interview question shows they understand what difficult goals are, and that they put a lot of effort into attaining their goals while maintaining a high standard of work quality.
Listen for answers that describe a lofty goal and show why this goal challenged their normal targets. Responses that admit the candidate came up short of this goal can also indicate self-awareness and confidence despite a lack of success.
2. “Pitch our company to me as if I were buying our product/service.”
This will come more naturally to some candidates than others. Above all, good answers to this interview question are able to combine an accurate definition of your establishment with what it offers to your core customer that they need or can’t get anywhere else.
Keep in mind that someone interviewing for sales or marketing position might find it easier than someone interviewing for a non-client facing role and that’s okay.
You aren’t necessarily assessing their delivery. But it’ll be interesting to see how each candidate thinks through and gives their response.
3. “Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with the people you’ve worked with. How would you describe the best ones and the worst?
Answers to this question don’t have to focus on just professional elements of a relationship with colleagues they can also be related to business culture.
Maybe the candidate enjoyed their coworker’s positivity or thought their attitude lowered morale. Good responses aren’t one-sided, though.
Look for answers that explain how their colleague’s work style thrived with their own not simply what their colleague did that benefited or offended them.
Lots of candidates are hesitant to bad-mouth their coworkers and bosses, so it’ll be interesting for you to hear how they navigate a question about their worst working relationships.
4. “What single project or task would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?”
Candidates’ answers will tell you about their prior success and sense of ownership. A great answer will show they are confident in their work and professional choices while being humble enough to show they care about the establishment’s success.
For example, if a candidate built a sales or marketing campaign they’re particularly proud of, listen for them to explain how the business benefited from it. Did it help the company sign a major client?
5. “What have you done professionally that is not an experience you’d want to repeat?”
HubSpot’s VP of Customer Service and Support Michael Redbord say candidates’ answers generally fall into a few categories:
- Something menial(e.g. envelope-stuffing). Pay attention to whether they understand the value of this getting done for the business, or whether they just think they’re too good for a job like that.
- Something really hard.Why was it hard? Was it because it was poorly planned, poorly executed, or something else? Where do they put the blame on it being such an unpleasant experience?
- Something team-related.Follow up with questions about the team, what their role on the team was, and so on.
Even the category of what they consider an experience they wouldn’t want to repeat is interesting, says Redbord.
When you talk about extreme experiences that get people emotional, it can be very revealing. Keep in mind, however, that good answers don’t have to fall into any one category — what’s most important is if they extracted value from the experience despite their lack of interest in doing it again.
6. “Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?”
For most establishments, the correct answer is “good and on time.” It’s important to let something be finished when it’s good enough.
Let’s face it, every blog post, email, book, video, etc. can always be tweaked and improved. At some point, you’ve just got to ship it. Most managers don’t want someone who can’t hit deadlines because they’re paralyzed by perfection.
Try to remain neutral as they feel out their response, though. They might not be able to relate to work that’s measured purely by quality and deadline, but it’s important that they can express how they prioritize their tasks.
7. “In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated but you know well?”
The “something” in this question doesn’t have to be work-related it can be a hobby, a sports team, something technical … anything, really.
A good response will tell you how well your candidate comprehends complex subjects and that they can articulate that subject to someone who doesn’t know much about it.
Explanations that use analogies also make good answers, especially if it’s a topic that is filled with industry jargon.
This shows that the candidate can solve problems by drawing comparisons to things that are more universally understood.
8. “What is your definition of hard work?”
A good answer doesn’t have to produce evidence of hard work, it should rather reveal if your candidate knows what it takes to get something done and solve the problems it was designed to solve.
Answers that talk about working hard by working smart are great, as well.
9. “If I were to poll everyone you’ve worked with, what percentage would not be a fan of yours?”
The follow-up question about word choice is more important than the percentage they give in the initial question.
In their answers, you should be encouraged by words like “passionate” and concerned by words like “lazy.”
Of course, not all negative words are red flags while words that indicate a lack of work ethic might be a bad sign, words like “stubborn” could show a candidate’s self-awareness and commitment to things their coworkers would rather move on from.
10. “Tell me about a time you screwed up.”
Admit to a genuine mistake. Often candidates will dress up a mistake with a self-compliment or excuse to avoid looking weak. For example, “I was so committed to X that I overlooked Y.” On the contrary, good answers will just show that they miscalculated, plain and simple.
Explain what they learned from it. It’s one thing to screw up, but it’s another thing to take that screw-up as an opportunity to improve.
Great establishments learn more from failure than they do from success candidates who do too are exactly what you need to grow.
11. “Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?”
Ideal answers vary but could include specific examples of the person they’ve chosen’s the ability to think ahead several steps and execute.
They could also touch on the person’s decision-making skills, ability to connect, desire for learning, or application of the things they learned.
12. “What is something you’d be happy doing every single day for the rest of your career?”
There’s no right answer to this question, it’s more of a learning opportunity for you to see what your employees most enjoy in the industry.
Nonetheless, a candidate’s answer to this question should align with the core responsibilities of the job for which they’re applying.
A sales candidate who says they could lead client kickoff meetings every day, for example, is a much better fit than a sales candidate who prefers to create lead-generating campaigns.
13. “If you had $40,000 to build your own business, what would you do?”
The best answers to this question will get specific: They’ll offer an overview of the business and get into the logistics of where that money would go, whom they’d hire first, and so on.
14. “What’s the biggest decision you’ve had to make in the past year? Why was it so big?”
Candidates’ answers could be work-related or personal. In addition to revealing their thought process, as described above, an effective response to this interview question will also show how the candidate was able to prioritize what was most important when each possible option might have had its own advantages and disadvantages.
If your candidate had hiring power in a previous position, for example, maybe they found it hard to choose between two job candidates of their own.
A good answer might show that they saw immediate skill in one candidate but long-term potential in the other. Although both people had usable strengths, your candidate chose the second person because he or she offered the best return on investment.
15. “What has surprised you about this interview process so far?”
This is a question no candidate can really prepare for, and it’ll give you some indication of how candidates are feeling about the whole thing. Plus, you can see how they think on their feet.
A good answer to this question:
You’re looking for specifics here something about the office space; the personality of the team; an assignment they were given to complete.
Honest answers are good answers, and answers that are directed at you are even better, as they show the candidate is confident speaking their mind in front of decision-makers.
For instance, maybe the candidate was surprised you asked them about something on their resume that they don’t personally pay much attention to.
This questions and answers that have been provided will be of good help to those seeking for a job, not just them but also to the interviewer. So when going for a job interview, expect at least some of these questions.
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