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How to answer second-round interview questions

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the second-round interview. No time to rest on your laurels though, the hard work is about to begin. The fact that you have been invited to this interview means you have all the main skills required to perform the job.

Now they want to see if you’re a good fit for the company. Do you share their values? Are your long-term goals aligned with the company’s growth? Will you slot seamlessly into their organization? Take a look at our second-round interview tips in preparation for your interview.

Common second-interview questions and answers

At this stage, the questions will be more role-specific and focus on your soft skills. Start by gathering all the data you can about the company, from its mission and values to the products or services it offers and how it compares to its competitors. Your research will emphasize your interest in becoming part of the team and cast you in a great light. 

Q: What type of work environment do you prefer?

Previous visits to the company may have given you an idea of the type of work environment you can expect if hired. Otherwise, you can glean that information from employees you know or online resources. Be honest but explain how your preferences will fit in neatly with the company’s.

Sample answer: “As I walked through the building, I noticed that the office has an open-plan setup with free communication and easy collaboration. I thrive in that type of environment. However, I needed to work remotely at my previous company due to the pandemic and I discovered that I’m equally efficient working independently with little supervision.”

Q: Tell us about a time when you had to make a difficult decision.

You need to go into your decision-making process here. Generally, the process involves:- 

  • Identifying the decision that needs to be made
  • Gathering information 
  • Figuring out alternatives 
  • Assessing the evidence
  • Choosing a course of action
  • Executing the solution
  • Evaluating the results

Share a real-life example using these steps as a guideline to show how you came to your decision in a methodical and logical way.

Sample answer: “A change in the budget meant that I had to let go of one of my team members from a project we were working on. I interviewed each individual and used the results of these sessions to establish who would benefit more from other projects. I made sure their tasks were equally delegated among the remaining crew and had the team member put in another group where they could excel. The project was completed to the client’s satisfaction and under budget.”

Q: You’ve been assigned several tasks that all have the same deadline. What do you do?

Your organizational and prioritization skills are being assessed here so be clear about how you would approach this situation. It also tests whether you can keep a cool head in stressful situations.

Sample answer: “I’m a big fan of Trello boards. I’d break down each task into smaller sections that need to be completed daily. I would set aside an hour per day per task and monitor the progress of each on a Trello board to make sure I’m on track.”

Q: Do you know who our competitors are and how we differ from them?

This question is closely related to the question “Why do you want to work for us?”. The interviewer wants to see that you’ve done your research and that you’re an advocate of their products or services. Along with analyzing their site, check out customer feedback on Yelp and Better Business Bureau.

Sample answer: “Your biggest competitors are Company ABC and Company XYZ.  While Company ABC has a wider product range with cheaper prices, there have been complaints about the quality of their goods, resulting in consumers turning to (Present Company) for better value for their money. Company XYZ is nearly on par with (Present Company) but, according to Yelp, their after-sales services have left customers angry and disappointed. (Present Company)’s social media accounts show that queries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.”

Final thoughts

If you want to know what interviewers expect from you, check out our second-round interview guide. You’ll see that employers value candidates who come prepared and share their core values and vision. Talk openly about your expectations when it comes to the details of the position, such as salary, incentives, and benefits. And be sure to ask questions in your second-round interview to show how keen you are to join the team.

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