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What Should I Ask in the Second Round of an Interview?

by Rick Suttle

First interviews are often conducted over the phone by human resources managers. The questions they ask are more standard and designed to screen applicants, according to the "Chicago Tribune." On the second interview, you must get more details about the job and company, but avoid asking questions you could answer easily on its website. An employer must also ask more probing questions during the second round to determine which candidate is most qualified for the job.

Can you describe some current projects for this position?

The second interview is when to ask about projects you would be working on if you got the job. Ask the hiring manager this question because human resources probably isn't privvy to this type of information, and the interview may start with the HR manager. Use terms specific to your field when asking about projects, as this demonstrates your knowledge of the industry. For example, talk about methodologies and statistical significance for surveys if you are a marketing research professional. After the interviewer discusses the projects, provide examples of similar projects you have worked on.

What are the advancement opportunities for this position?

Inquire about advancement opportunities in the second interview, as this shows your interest in working for a company long-term. You can also determine whether there are advancement opportunities, and how long it takes, on average, to get promoted. There might be multiple advancement opportunities that allow you to make lateral moves to other departments. If advancement is important to you, the company in which you choose to work must offer these promotions. Otherwise, you might not like job.

What are the next steps?

Ask about next steps at the end of the second interview. At this point, you have probably talked to several people at the company, and the second interview may be the last step before it hires someone. Knowing when the company plans to hire helps you to better organize your job search. You can follow up in two weeks, for example, if you haven't heard from the company and it plans to hire someone in that time frame.

Why Should I Hire You?

If you are an employer, ask candidates why you should hire them. This question forces applicants to sell themselves and closely relate their experience to the open position. Responses from candidates help you evaluate their cognitive skills. It's also another way for you to gauge which candidate is most qualified for the job. You would probably eliminate someone from consideration if she didn't answer the question directly, or put little thought into the response.

Describe a time when you faced a challenging situation on a job.

Most jobs require employees to solve problems and make decisions, and their answers to a question about a challenging situation they faced demonstrate these two skills. However, there are a couple additional parts to this question. Ask what they did to meet the challenge and the results they achieved. The best responses to this question are those that include SAR stories, which stand for situation, action and results. Candidates should describe the challenge or situation they faced, actions they took, and results they achieved.

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