Questions for second interview round to find best candidate

Business people waiting for job interview.

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The first round serves the purpose of finding great candidates. The second round is about selecting the best candidate for your team. At this stage you could be interviewing as a hiring manager or for peer interviews.  These questions work for both situations.

Second round of interviews is a two-way sell

The difference between the first and second round is the intention to close. And the nature of these interviews are sales oriented. The hiring manager aim to attract all candidates to select the best one. The candidates compare the role to their second best alternative, another new job or staying in the current role. Two-way selling characterize all interviews in this stage.

What insights about the role have you gained in the first interview rounds?

At this stage you want to understand what the candidate have picked up about the role. Great candidates have used the first interview rounds to listen and learn about the role. A Good understanding of the role, and an ability to articulate it is the foundation for selecting the best candidate.

What is the difference you would like to make?

Ambitious candidates manage to articulate how they can make a difference in the new role. Listen for which of their skills they see as central for this role. Let the lead the conversation to how they plan to make a difference.

Give examples on how you have implemented your suggestions in the past

The most valuable insights at this stage is to let your candidate give examples of how he has acted before. It gives you the opportunity to understand how deep their skills are and how they have used their skills in the past. Start open ended and let the candidate talk you through their experiences.

What support do you need to be successful in your new role?

Strong leader realizes they are part of a bigger machinery. Ask about what they expect from peer organizations. Clear expectations towards peers is key for great collaborations.

Ask what the candidate expect from his new team. The team need to fill the gaps in candidates’ capabilities. The more your candidate know about his shortcomings the better. It will be easier to secure the 2-3 most important people in the team complement your candidate.

Ask how your candidate plan to develop contact networks and grow his influence. At senior levels your ability to influence outside your own team is key to success.

What does your 30/60/90-day plan look like?

The time from the second round of interviews and execution is short. The plan for your first quarter play a key role for interviews at this stage. A 30/60/90-day plan or 100-day plan outlines the impact and mark you expect your new leader to make.

Tune your questions depending on how familiar the leader is with the organization. For Internal candidates you can ask for concrete ideas about their plan. For external candidates it will be hard to get answers. Your time is better spent on how your candidate approach the process rather than the exact content.

Changes in structure and staff

One of the most common expectations on a new leader is he or she will make changes in structure and staff. You can ask questions about this at this stage to set expectations you expect changes and actions in this field. But leaders having a clear and crisp opinions early on might rush to conclusions. Postpone to gone deep enough in understanding strengths and weaknesses of the current team.

Questions to ask yourself to prepare for the interview

  1. What type of candidate do you look for – this might have changed from the first round of interviews.
  2. Why are you interviewing the candidate – we all cover different bases in 30 minutes and your job is likely to cover certain questions more than others.
  3. Which questions will you use – come prepared with a set of clear questions in your mind
  4. Decide in advance how you contribute to selling the role – an area most interviewers miss.
  5. Think through the next steps – the candidate will ask for steps, selection criteria and actions required.

Additional reading suggestions

One thought on “Questions for second interview round to find best candidate

  1. Pingback: How to shape roles to maximize output from each team member | Tweeter Linder

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