What are Common Second Interview Questions?

C. K. Lanz

Second interview questions are typically more focused on the specific industry, company, and position at hand. Subjects can include salary, schedule, and responsibilities. Initial interviews are commonly used to screen candidates, while second interviews can be conducted by potential colleagues. These colleagues are often interested in an applicant’s skills as well as personality and enthusiasm for the job, as they are looking for the candidate who will be the best overall fit. It is usually appropriate for the candidate to ask questions about the position and potential employer during the second interview.

A second interview may get more into the specifics of a position.
A second interview may get more into the specifics of a position.

While questions during the first interview may have focused on the candidate’s resume and work history, second interview questions can turn to the position and the company. A candidate is typically asked why he or she is interested in the position and how he or she can benefit the company.

Second round interviews may include questions from several senior managers.
Second round interviews may include questions from several senior managers.

In some cases, second interview questions will focus on what kind of work environment a candidate prefers in an effort to determine whether the position will be a good fit. Typical questions of this nature include asking about the ideal boss or about how the candidate would resolve a difficult situation with a colleague. Other common questions in this category will give the candidate an opportunity to describe how he or she works best, for example, whether alone or as part of a team.

Interviewers often focus on the position’s specific responsibilities during the second interview. If the job requires customer service, second interview questions will likely require the candidate to discuss his or her experience with clients. The interview may even provide a hypothetical scenario to gauge how the candidate will respond.

Salary and schedule are often important topics of second interview questions. The interviewers may ask a candidate to specify his or her salary and schedule requirements. A response can be prepared ahead of time by considering personal budgetary and scheduling needs as well as researching the average salary for comparable positions at similar companies. Employers often view candidates favorably if they are available and realistic about salary.

Candidates should consider researching their potential employers prior to the second interview and preparing thoughtful questions about the position and the company. Reading articles and reviewing the job position and the company website are all efficient ways of researching. Such information can yield questions that show a candidate’s interest in and enthusiasm for a particular position.

The follow-up interview process varies significantly among employers. In some cases, the process and length will be very similar to the initial interview. In other cases, a second interview could take an entire day and involve an office tour and a meal. Candidates can always ask for an itinerary in order to be prepared for a second interview.

Salary may be discussed during a second interview.
Salary may be discussed during a second interview.

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Discussion Comments


Never underestimate the power of company research before the second interview. This is where a candidate can really sell himself or herself to the people he or she would actually be working with if hired. It's no longer about being a people person or having a degree in engineering or business administration. The second interview is about demonstrating how that education and experience is going to benefit this specific company.

A typical second interview might be a hypothetical situation. If the candidate were put in charge of a new project that could be very lucrative but risky for the company, how would he or she go about it? This is the time for the candidate to demonstrate his or her research and problem solving abilities.


In my experience, the first interview questions are more about why a candidate wants to be an accountant or an engineer or whatever. The second interview questions are about why that candidate wants to be an accountant for Johnson and Miller's Tax Service or an engineer for Northrup Grumman. The first interview weeded out unsuitable candidates, but the second interviewers want to find reasons to include specific candidates.

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