Top 9 second round interview questions to ask candidates
Once the initial round of interviews is complete, you should have a shortlist of potential candidates. Conducting a second interview will provide a more thorough assessment of each candidate and assist in making the final decision on their suitability for the position.Effective interviewingWhen it comes to hiring someone for remote or hybrid work arrangements, there are two types of interviews that you can conduct. The first one is more formal and can be done remotely, while the second one can either be more demanding or more casual and done in person. This approach allows you to gain a better understanding of the interviewee in two different settings. For instance, you could conduct a phone interview first and then another one in person.It's important to remember that interviews are a two-way communication process. You are not just looking for the right candidate, but you are also trying to sell the role to them. Therefore, it should be treated as an informative conversation rather than an opportunity to impress the interviewee. You need to represent yourself, your team, and your company in the best possible way.Keep in mind that every candidate could be a potential customer, client, or advocate for your business, and they will remember how you treat them. So, it's crucial to make a positive impression and treat every candidate with respect and professionalism.Common second interview questions to ask candidatesJust as in your first round of interviews, asking the right questions in the second round is vital to understanding if a candidate is suitable for the role.“Although there are never a fixed set of questions to ask in the second interview, here are our selection of questions for employers to ask which will hopefully allow you to understand a candidate more fully before making a decision on who to hire.”What are your long-term career aspirations?Asking candidates about their long-term career goals can provide useful insight into their suitability for your company. If they mention your business specifically, it suggests a desire to remain and contribute to its growth.Moreover, this question can reveal important aspects of their personality, such as honesty and passion.Understanding their priorities can help you make informed hiring decisions for your organization.Do you have any questions about the business or the role since your first interview?This question gives them the opportunity to clarify any doubts they may have and to demonstrate their level of interest and engagement.Furthermore, asking questions helps to fill any gaps in the candidate's knowledge and shows their preparation for the interview. However, some candidates may be nervous, so it is important to create a comfortable and supportive environment.Remember that this is an opportunity for both the candidate and the interviewer to learn more about each other and make an informed decision.How has your job search been going so far?If you ask this question in a second interview, you can gain valuable insight into your competition and the challenges you may face if they are selected instead of you. You might find out about other positions they've applied for and their current status in the hiring process.If they've recently attended multiple interviews, you may have to wait longer for their response or come up with a counteroffer to stay competitive. It's important to ask all candidates the same questions during the interview process to avoid discrimination or bias.What skills do you think are required for this role?This can help you evaluate their comprehension of the position and their ability to think critically. It also gives them a chance to showcase their skills and how they align with the job's requirements.This can give you a better understanding of their expectations, interpretation of the job description, and ensure they have a clear picture of the responsibilities involved. If there are any misunderstandings, you can clarify them, promoting transparency and reducing any future confusion.Ultimately, this approach can lead to better retention rates as candidates have a thorough understanding of the position before accepting an offer.What are the reasons you might not be suitable for this role?The response can reveal their level of motivation and attitude towards success. If a candidate expresses a willingness to learn and improve, this indicates a growth mindset, which is a valuable trait in any role.In contrast, if a candidate has a fixed mindset and believes that they cannot improve upon their abilities, they may not be suitable for the position.Therefore, asking this question can help identify the candidates who have the potential to grow and contribute to the organization.What changes would you suggest at this company?This question allows them to provide valuable insights into their potential challenges and how they could overcome them. It can also reveal their motivation for success.If they express a willingness to improve and be trained, it could indicate a valuable candidate with a growth mindset. Such individuals have more potential to learn and develop than those with a fixed mindset who believe they cannot improve in certain areas.What is the lowest salary you hope to earn from this role?It's important to ask applicants what their minimum salary expectation is for the job. It will help you to understand their salary expectations and gives you an opportunity to manage them if they're too high.On the other hand, the applicant may have done their research and found that the salary you're offering is lower than their worth. You may have the chance to increase your offer to match their expectations if you feel they are worth it.How would you describe your ideal work environment?The answer for this question will help you gain useful insights into their personality and work style.If their ideal work environment is similar to yours, then they are more likely to be a good fit for your company culture. Hiring someone who is not a cultural fit can lead to dissatisfaction and increase the likelihood of them leaving.On the other hand, if a candidate describes a work environment that is vastly different from yours, they may not be a good match for your company and could end up being unhappy and leaving later on.How soon would you be ready to start this role?This question will determine the candidate's availability and professionalism in the hiring process. It also helps to compare candidates based on their responses.It is important to note that if a candidate mentions leaving their current job without giving notice, it could be a red flag for your business. Therefore, asking the right questions during the hiring process is crucial to finding the best fit for your business.After meeting with a candidate for a second time, you should have a better understanding of their skills and abilities, and whether they would be a good addition to your team.
Interview questions to ask candidates - and what their answers mean
During an interview, it's crucial to ask questions that will help you gain the most insight into the candidate.To achieve this, you should plan a variety of question types that are tailored to the qualities required for the position. The questions should provide you with information about the candidate's strengths, weaknesses, and how well they would fit into the team. Here are some of the primary question types to consider when conducting an interview.Standard competency questionsThere are certain types of questions that are commonly asked during an interview. These questions typically start with a phrase like "Can you give me an example of when you...". You can customize these questions to fit the specific skills you want the candidate to talk about, such as providing excellent customer service, resolving a conflict, or influencing a senior stakeholder. Competency-style questions are particularly helpful when you need to find out about specific skills or competencies that a candidate has and how they have used them to handle similar situations in the past. Good candidates usually prepare for these questions in advance and should provide well-thought-out examples that are clear and concise. When analyzing their responses, look for evidence that they can describe the situation, the task at hand, the action they personally took, and the positive outcome of that action using the STAR method.Follow-up questionAsking follow-up questions can help you move beyond the superficial answers and dive deeper into the specifics. It can also challenge the interviewee to think on their feet, as they may not be as prepared for these questions. Effective follow-up questions can uncover any gaps in the provided answers or any lack of personal involvement that may be concealed by rehearsed responses.The curveball questionIf you want to evaluate a candidate's quick thinking and critical thinking skills, you can present them with a challenging question or scenario that may not be directly related to the job they are applying for. You can base this question on some aspect of their resume or something current that you would like them to provide insight on. Doing this will help you test their ability to make sound decisions under pressure and to communicate their thoughts effectively, which can be crucial for some positions.The hypothetical situation questionSome people have strong opinions on these types of questions - they either enjoy them or despise them. Nevertheless, they are a useful way to swiftly assess someone's ability to think logically and rationally. Such questions usually require the candidate to analyze a hypothetical situation and then make a decision based on the relevant information and limitations given. Some people have strong opinions on these types of questions - they either enjoy them or despise them. Nevertheless, they are a useful way to swiftly assess someone's ability to think logically and rationally. Such questions usually require the candidate to analyse a hypothetical situation and then make a decision based on the relevant information and limitations given.The “describe yourself” questionIn a job interview, candidates are often asked questions that require them to describe themselves in a few words or imagine what their previous boss or co-workers would say about them. These questions come in different forms, but their purpose is to evaluate the candidate's ability to empathize with others and express themselves succinctly. They are used to test the candidate's communication skills and see how they respond in situations that demand brevity.
Seven types of interview bias and how to avoid them
We might want to think that our choices are logical and that we have complete control over them – but the reality is that we are always affected by cognitive biases.What are biases?The brain cannot properly assess every new piece of information it encounters, so it’s designed to make quick decisions about people, situations, and objects. While these mental shortcuts are a necessary survival skill, making fast decisions without careful evaluation can be a bad thing and lead to opinions that are unfairly biased.Types of interview biasesWhen it comes to doing interviews, you can do your best to be objective, but biases can creep in. That’s why it’s so crucial to be aware of the different types so you can identify and actively avoid them. Here are seven different types of common interview biases:StereotypingA stereotype is a simplified opinion about a specific group of people, based on a fixed set of characteristics that we think are typical of that group.It is a serious problem in interviews, as the interviewer can make a judgement about a candidate that is not based on their skills or ability but on an initial stereotype.Gender and racial biasGender or racial bias is when the interviewer has a belief about a certain gender or race, thinking that the job is not appropriate for someone of that gender or race.Interviewers should never let gender or racial bias affect their hiring decisions, not only from an ethical standpoint, but they may also face legal consequences for discrimination.Confirmation biasConfirmation bias is where the interviewer may ask questions or make suggestive statements that prompt the interviewee to confirm what they believe they already know about them, based on their CV or application.It also relates to how people pay more attention to information that supports their existing beliefs, prefer to interact with people who have similar views, and are unwilling to listen to different opinions.It’s important to be aware of this bias - if people are being hired because they have the same views as their line managers, it can hinder growth and innovation across the business.Recency biasRecency bias is when an interviewer tends to remember and favour applicants that were interviewed more recently.You may have interviewed many candidates in any given day and each one can seem to blend with the next. This is when you may fall victim to recency bias and subconsciously favour candidates towards the end of the interview process. The problem is that the best person for the job could be someone you interviewed right at the beginning of the day or halfway through.Similarity biasAlso known as affinity bias, similarity bias is when an interviewer makes hiring decisions based on similar physical attributes or shared interests that are either discussed during the interview, or shown on a candidate’s CV.For example, an interviewer may ask the potential employee if they had a good weekend, and the interviewee could reply with something like: “I did thank you, I went for a hike with my dog”. If the interviewer is also a fan of hiking and dog owning, then whether intentional or not, the interviewer will view the candidate more positively, even before any skills or work-related information has been obtained.Halo biasThe halo bias is when one positive characteristic dominates all others. For example, if the person interviewing sees that the applicant went to a prestigious university on their CV or had previously worked for a very well-known brand that they admire, they may focus on that and ignore negative traits.Horn biasContrary to the halo bias, the horn bias is when a negative characteristic dominates all the positive skills and abilities. For example, a candidate may have made a spelling mistake on their CV and the interviewer can’t forget about it, giving too much weight to the error and ignoring the many positive qualities they have.How to avoid bias when interviewingKeep interviews uniformAsk every candidate the same questions – ensuring they are relevant to the skills and abilities of the interviewee - and document their answers correctly. Taking notes as you go will prevent opinions and bias from sneaking in.Provide training to interviewersAll interviewers should receive training in diversity and inclusion and learn how to identify and avoid their own unconscious biases. This will provide a more equitable system for all potential employees and help hiring managers discover their own hidden biases.Have a diverse group of interviewersIf there are multiple interview stages or you are using a group of interviewers, make sure the group is diverse to allow for a more balanced decision to be made. Each interviewer will have different biases, so together the bias is lowered.Limit personal chatsSome small talk is necessary when greeting an interviewee but keep it brief. Engaging in personal chats can lead to similarity bias.Use a standard scoring systemCreate a standard scoring system and apply this to all interviews. Referring to this later will ensure each candidate is assessed fairly and on an equal basis.Record and re-play remote interviewsIf you are doing remote interviews, record them (with the candidate’s consent) and re-play them in a different order to avoid recency bias.
Common customer service interview questions for employers and candidates
The main three skills or traits employers are looking for in an interviewee are communication, enthusiasm, and problem-solving. These questions will help employers find the right candidates and interviewees to show their full potential:Tell me about yourselfEmployers will already have key information about an applicant from their CV and other documents, but this is your chance to get a deeper insight into who you might be hiring. People are more honest when speaking in real-time than in their cover letters or job applications.Candidates should refer directly to what is in the job description and make your introduction relevant to the role. The hiring manager also wants to know who you are as a person, but in terms of your professional background and values, rather than just your hobbies.What does customer service mean to you?There are times when candidates will apply to roles just to get their foot in the door at a company and will really have their eye on a different profession. This customer service interview question helps you evaluate the motivation of the applicant and see if they really want to work in customer service or are just using your role as a stepping-stone.A good candidate will be able to explain what customer service is, why it’s important to a business, and what they enjoy about it. Candidates who show passion, dedication, and potential are often more valued by hiring managers than those with a lot of experience and education because these traits show the longevity of employees.Describe a time when you’ve dealt with a difficult customer – what did you do?Scenario-based questions help employers understand the candidate’s practical ability without having seen it first-hand. For this to be effective, they need to have real examples and be able to answer questions from their own experience. Hypothetical answers such as “If I were in that situation I would…” don’t show their experience or ability, only their theoretical understanding of customer service.Candidates should be aware that any experience you have with conflict resolution, in a retail role, for example, can be applied here. Those with customer service experience should be as specific as possible and answer honestly in case of any follow-up questions. If the customer being difficult or rude was their fault, being honest about it will show their accountability and self-awareness.What do you know about our company/product?Any candidate who hasn’t done some initial research will most likely not get the role. If they don’t know what they’re applying for, they may leave once they find out.Employers don’t expect a detailed description, only that the interviewee has an idea of what the company does, what the specific product is, and how that relates to the role. This is a chance for an applicant to share any thoughts or opinions they have about the company, potentially highlighting what made them want to apply in the first place.Using the job description, checking out their website, and even calling their customer service line to see how they work, are good methods of researching a company. Preparing for an interview by doing research shows both interest and professionalism and will boost the candidate’s chances of receiving a job offer. It’s even better if the candidate is already a customer because they can give real feedback and will have a deeper understanding of the product/service.Tell me about a time when you delivered excellent customer serviceCustomer service competency questions often use situations where you’ve interacted with a customer. These are chances for interviewees to show off their achievements and demonstrate their knowledge of what excellent customer service is while using examples from their experience. Through this question, employers can evaluate their best performance, and ask follow-up questions such as what skills they think contributed to this, and what the outcome was.What skills do you think are essential for someone in customer service?For customer service advisor questions, soft skills are the most important to mention, e.g. communication skills, patience, empathy, listening, and more. Advisors are there to inform and help customers in a way that is clear and concise, honest, and polite – even in stressful situations. Working well under pressure is important because customer service advisors may need to talk to several difficult people and stay professional. Usually, the skills candidates mention as most important are the ones they recognise in themselves the most.What is your biggest weakness?Self-awareness and self-assessment are skills in themselves. This might be the most common customer service interview question because it usually reveals to employers several areas besides the candidate’s weaknesses: how they see themselves, and how they are working on reducing their own weaknesses to improve themselves.Interviewees must be honest and avoid the trap of saying “I’m too [something positive]” because this sounds insincere and indicates a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset – indicative of someone who welcomes new challenges. Candidates answering honestly about self-improvement shows employers that they are still developing and can become more valuable employees later, even if they don’t have the right skills or experience yet.
Body talk with Judi James: an interviewer’s masterclass for winning talent
Watch the webinar Have you ever wondered what your body language as a hiring manager tells interviewees about your organisation?Job interviews aren’t just about what you say, they’re also about how you conduct yourself in a nonverbal way. This isn't just the case for the person looking to secure the job, but also you, as the person in charge of conducting the interview.Join leading communication and body language expert, Judi James, as she explored the importance of body language and behaviour when conducting job interviews – both remote and face to face, offering hiring managers essential tips and advice.Non-verbal cues are part of a hiring manager’s overall impression of a candidate, but just as important is the ‘statement’ they make with their own body language. In an interview setting, it’s crucial for hiring managers to be aware of their body language, in addition to what they say or do, to ensure the first visual impression of the business is positive and welcoming.In this fireside chat with Reed, Judi, who is regularly invited by the media to comment on general elections and royal occasions, discussed how hiring managers can positively shape their own body language and actions during job interviews, to get the best from their interviewees.Our speakerJudi James, Body Language Expert and AuthorJudi James is a leading communication and body language expert whose expertise is sought-after in broadcast, corporate and public relations circles. She regularly appears on a number of high-profile TV and radio programmes across many channels.Judi has appeared on BBC News, Sky News, CNN, Big Brother, Big Brother's Bit on The Psych and Bit on the Side, The Extra Factor, BBC2's Newsnight and she also covered the 2010 general election for 5 News, with a regular nightly spot.She has written 26 fiction and non-fiction books covering a range of subjects such as how to make an impact in business, charisma, boosting confidence and lowering stress levels in the workplace. Her work also includes flirting techniques, job interviews and even tips on how to win a poker game. Popular titles include The Body Language Bible and You're Hired.
How to ask and respond to common project manager interview questions
Project managers are responsible for the daily management of project work and need to have the skills to handle the scope, schedule, budget, risk and quality of any project.Project manager roles can be very stressful and time-sensitive, so interviews for this kind of role can be challenging. Although every interview is different, it is likely that similar questions will be asked that focus on interpersonal skills, technical knowledge and examples from specific situations.Here are some common project manager interview questions that you can ask as an employer and how to answer them as a candidate.Tell me about yourselfEmployer: This is a common question to start most interviews, and it is a good way to learn more about a candidate’s background, previous experiences and skills they have learned from other roles. This question can also be used to try and learn more about the candidate’s personality and how they would fit in as a project manager at the company.Candidate: There are several ways to approach this question that will satisfy the interviewer. A simple and effective way to structure a response is to start with your current role and what you do, then move on to past experiences that are relevant to the role you applied for and finish with what kind of role you are looking for next and why you are interested in this opportunity.What’s your prior experience in this industry?Employer: It’s important to know if a candidate has experience in your industry because they may already have the knowledge and understand the methods that your company uses to manage projects successfully. If they don’t, try to assess if they have strong project management skills that can apply to your industry, such as using project management software or having a good knowledge of how the industry works.Candidate: Being prepared to talk about the industry is essential. Make sure you can talk about any experiences you have had in the industry - from either a professional or academic perspective. If you don’t have any direct experience, talk about what you know from market research, what interests you about the industry and what you plan to bring to it. It may be helpful to mention any skills or knowledge that are transferable as well.What was your most successful project?Employer: Scenario-based interview questions are a good way to understand how candidates have achieved success in different situations. This question will help to identify a candidate’s passion for their work, any proven successes as a project manager and how they measure success.Candidate: This question gives you a great opportunity to show your strengths as a project manager. Focus on your role - what did you do to make sure the project stayed on track to meet the deadline? Think about the key decisions you and the team made that led to its success. Remember, projects can be successful not only for meeting goals and deadlines, but also if they introduced change and developed new strategies."Although you may be concerned about a career decision, or some possible skill gaps a candidate might have, be mindful to not rule anyone out or make any snap judgements before the end of the interview so you can get the full picture and give the candidate a fair chance."Scott Nevett- Recruitment Director, ReedDescribe a difficult project and how you handled itEmployer: The purpose of this question is to evaluate how candidates cope with challenges. Obstacles are common when managing projects, but you want to find out how they solved them in the past to understand how they deal with real-life situations. This question also gives an insight into the person’s project management style, and how they lead teams and resolve conflicts that may occur.Candidate: Facing unexpected challenges is a key part of being a project manager, so ideally you’ll have a few examples to pick from. The best way to answer this question is to first explain the situation and what the challenge was. Then, describe how you found a solution to overcome the situation. Next, tell what you did, and how you did it. Finish by sharing the result and what you learned from the experience.How do you prioritise tasks on a project?Employer: Knowing exactly what to prioritise is essential for any project. To be successful, a good project manager or project management office (PMO) is going to help manage small and large-scale projects that have an impact on the business and customers. This question will explore the candidate’s thought process and how they make time and task management decisions. It’s also worth finding out how the candidate would handle multiple projects at once.Candidate: When asked questions about prioritisation, providing examples of how you organise your day, plan your work and set deadlines shows the interviewer that you’re able to monitor and keep on top of work. According to the 2021 Project Management Report, 59% of project managers run between two and five projects at any given time, so make sure your answer includes a combination of deadlines, stakeholder needs and business-critical tasks.What tools/software do you like to use to help plan, track and evaluate a project?Employer: A project manager will use tools to plan, track and evaluate their work. Take the time to get a sense of how well the candidate knows different project management tools and how they use them.Candidate: It would be helpful to list the project management tools you’ve used in previous roles, from Trello to Basecamp to Asana. Mention what you enjoy about the tools, and how they could be improved – it would be a great bonus to find out what tools the company uses and start a conversation on that.How do you manage budgets for your projects?Employer: Most projects, regardless of the size, usually require some budgeting, which is why it may be useful to ask questions specifically about budget management. Asking questions about budgets allows employers to gain a deeper understanding of what experience the candidate has with project management processes.Candidate: The employer, more often than not, will want to hear examples of when you’ve managed a budget for previous projects. Try to talk about situations when you’ve given cost estimates, allocated funds, kept track of money spent, and how you’ve planned for unforeseen costs. If you don’t have much experience, share what you know about budget planning, or, if relevant, talk about budgeting in your personal life. Our specialist recruiters can help you conduct the perfect interview.Have you worked with remote teams?Employer: Because of the pandemic – and the rapid growth of digital project management tools – projects being done and worked on remotely have increased significantly. Knowing how the candidate has worked with people and resources remotely can show you how they adapt to changes in working conditions, and provides valuable insight into their leadership style.Candidate: Employers will want to know how you’ve successfully worked with remote teams. Often, they will want to hear possible challenges faced when working with a remote workforce, and how you dealt with any issues quickly and effectively. Showing how you’ve been flexible and adaptable to changes in working conditions – such as using communication software like Microsoft Teams – is also a huge positive for businesses in the current situation.How would you handle a difficult stakeholder?Employer: This question aims to gain clarity into a candidate’s stakeholder management skills and how they deal with issues. How they communicate with executives, project sponsors and stakeholders requires a different tone than what is used with team members – use this question to understand what approach they’d take to handle this situation.Candidate: Working with stakeholders is never easy, but it’s a vital part of being a successful project manager. Being able to showcase your ability to manage stakeholder needs is crucial. Focus on a previous example, describing the situation, before presenting your solution and the result will stand you in good stead. Your communication and negotiation skills will be an important part of your answer.If you are looking for the next top professional for your business or looking for your next role, get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.