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What to expect for the second-round interview questions? Examples and answers!


What to expect for the second-round interview questions? Examples and answers!

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What does a second interview usually mean?
  • Is the second interview harder?
  • Do they ask the same questions in a second interview?
  • How do I prepare for a second interview?
  • Eight sample second-round interview questions and answers
  • What should I do after the second-round interview?
  • Key takeaways

Learn everything you need to know about answering second-round interview questions effectively so you continue to stand out from other remaining candidates.

Crushing the second interview is made easy by preparing for killer second-round interview questions, knowing what questions to ask the interviewer, and implementing the proper follow-up steps at the end of the second-round interview.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • What does a second interview usually mean?

  • Is the second interview harder?

  • Do they ask the same questions in a second interview?

  • How do I prepare for a second interview?

  • Eight samples of second-round interview questions and answers

  • What should I do after the second-round interview?

What does a second interview usually mean?

The second interview usually means that you are one step closer to your goal of being hired. It does not mean you have the job, so do not assume the job is in the bag. Because you have a second-round interview, the hiring organization believes you are potentially a good fit. The second interview and its questions will help the hiring company make a more informed decision.

Typically, the second-round interview comes down to two to three candidates. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “The follow-up interview is usually the final step before extending an offer of employment to a candidate. If the candidate passes, the employer will extend an offer orally and in writing.”

Is the second interview harder?

The second round of interviews are ramped up compared to the first round. The second-round interview may consist of a panel interview versus a one-on-one interview and may also include meeting with senior team members.

Do they ask the same questions in a second interview?

You can expect to have some of the same questions as the initial interview along with new killer second-round interview questions. But you will find the second interview questions centered more on your technical skills and how you performed in the past as an indicator of how you will perform in the future.

The interviewer will also dig deeper into your personality with questions to determine if you will be a good fit with the company culture.

How do I prepare for a second interview?

Making it to the next round of interviews is a good thing. It means you are closer to an official job offer, but there is still work to be done before you cross that finish line. You must prepare for the second interview as much as, if not more than, you did for the initial interview.

The article How Can You Prepare for a Second Interview? by Coleman Gailloreto outlines seven key steps to prepare for a second interview. 

  1. Revisit first-interview guidelines.

  2. Evaluate your performance from the first interview.

  3. Research what to expect in the second interview.

  4. Recall relevant work stories from previous careers.

  5. Brush up on potential technical questions.

  6. Ask in-depth questions you wanted to ask in the first interview.

  7. Send a follow-up message.

Let help you prepare for the second-round interview with our Interview Prep Service.

Eight sample second-round interview questions and answers

The second-round interview questions are much deeper than those you faced in the first round. There are three steps to effectively answering the second-round interview questions.

  1. Use STAR – Prepare and use STAR stories to answer the second-round interview questions.

  2. Research – Be sure to research the company and learn as much as you can about the open position.

  3. Practice – While practice does not make perfection, it does lead to improvement: the more you practice, the better you will get at interviewing.

Here are eight sample interview questions and answers that also include some sound answer strategies and reasons why interviewers ask the questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Why asked:

This is a warm-up question, a softball, slow pitch to put the candidate at ease.  

How to answer:

While the question is a slow pitch, don’t strike out by not being prepared. The interviewer is not interested in your hobbies or that you like fly fishing on the weekends. Answer the question by telling the interviewer about yourself as it pertains to the job description.


First, thank you for this opportunity to meet with you. I am a certified project management professional with over 10 years of experience leading medium-sized global cybersecurity initiatives for multiple Fortune 500 companies. I am an expert at creating detailed project plans, defining project scope, identifying risks, and creating mitigation plans, along with developing forecasts for revenue and resource requirements.

2. Why do you want this job?

Why asked:

The interviewer wants to gauge your motivation. They want to know if you are only interested in money, if this is a stopgap until a better position comes along, or if you are interested in helping meet the mission of the company.

How to answer:

Reflect on your reason(s) for wanting the job by researching the position and company.

When answering the question, speak about how the position will challenge you, how you want to help drive the mission of the organization, and how you would like to grow with the company.


I am ready to take on new challenges and continue to grow and develop in my career, and this position will provide me with the opportunity to manage large IT projects. During my research, I learned that the position will allow me to best utilize my years of team leadership experience to direct global and cross-functional teams. I’m also excited about joining a company whose mission statement aligns with my personal values.

3. What’s the first thing you would like to accomplish in this role within the first 30 days?

Why asked:

The interviewer wants to know how well you understand the role, how you will prioritize the work, and your ability to plan.

How to answer:

It is important to demonstrate that you are a fast and proactive learner. (Do not come across as a passive learner.) While answering the question, do not state overly ambitious goals and timelines to impress the interviewer.


During my first 30 days, I will learn my boss’s expectations and priorities. Next, I will interview all key stakeholders to learn their requirements, wants, and pain points. From there, I will meet with my team as a staff and individually to learn their project status and any obstacles they are facing. I will learn as I observe and create a roadmap as a way to keep current and future projects on track.

4. Second round interview questions: tell me a time when you made a mistake?

Why asked:

The interviewer is interested in learning about your integrity, as no one is perfect. Next, the interviewer would like to know how you bounce back from adversity when things don’t go as planned.

How to answer:

First, be honest about the mistake, but don’t dwell on it. 

Talk about how you owned the mistake, how you corrected the mistake, and how it became a lesson learned.

Expert Tip

This is a great opportunity to use the STAR method.

Do not use a mistake that may have caused a major impact on the business.

Never blame someone else for the mistake.

Always end with a positive outcome.



It was my first role as Project Lead for a cybersecurity upgrade to our corporate office computer systems.


I was responsible for creating the project plan to include deliverables, milestones, and completion dates. When creating the project plan, I interviewed all but one key stakeholder. Because I missed this stakeholder, the project was in jeopardy of being delayed by two days resulting in risk of cyberattacks, downtime for the employees, and loss of revenue.


Once I recognized that I missed this stakeholder, I quickly sprang into action by meeting with the stakeholder, gathering their requirements, and updating the project plan. Updating the project plan included making a change to the project schedule.  


I executed tasks simultaneously by adjusting resources along with the start and finish dates. Because I quickly resolved the problem, we completed the project on time and within scope.

5. Why are you leaving your current job?

Why asked:

The interviewer is interested in learning your motives. It will also give them insight into your professionalism – will you bash your current employer or be positive?

How to answer:

Always remain professional and positive no matter how you feel about your current or past employer.

Never air grievances about your current employer to the interviewer. No matter how calm you may be in explaining your feelings, it will come off as negative.

Because you may be leaving your current job for a number of reasons, prepare an answer that is best suited for your situation.


While I have learned a lot, and I am very appreciative of the work I have done and the relationships I have built over the years, I have progressed as far as I can with my current employer.

Again, I have nothing but great things to say about my current employer, but as a proactive go-getter, I believe that [Hiring Company Name] will allow me to grow and continue to develop my skills while I provide value to your clients.

6. What are your salary requirements?

Why asked:

The interviewer would like to know if the candidate will fit into their salary range. This could be a screening-out tactic. If the candidate asks for more than the hiring company is willing to pay, then there will be no reason to move forward.

How to answer:

The salary discussion should be a separate conversation from the interview; try and avoid this conversation during the interview.

Many times, the topic of salary expectations cannot be avoided during the interview, so be prepared to answer the question by doing research about what similar jobs in the area/industry are paying.

Be prepared to give a salary range and not a hard number.


After researching, I have learned that the salary range for this position is $X. After talking with you and learning more about the position and considering that I bring over 10 years of hands-on experience along with my education and professional certifications, I believe you will make an offer that meets my salary requirements.

7. Questions for second interview: Why should we hire you?

Why asked

This becomes a very important question when a candidate makes it to the next round of interviews. The interviewer is not only looking for reasons to hire you but reasons to exclude you if the competition is close.  

How to answer:                           

Just like the answer to the question “Tell me about yourself,” your answer to the question “Why should I hire you?” should illustrate that you are the best candidate for the position as it relates to the job description. You want to present yourself as the answer to the hiring company’s problem by researching and understanding the job requirements.    

Don’t give canned answers such as “I am a hard worker,” or “I will work until the job is done.” Hopefully, that should be a given. Use language that matches your skills, experience, and education to the job requirements as outlined in the job description.


In researching and learning more about the PM position today, I recognized that the job requires a person with strong leadership abilities who can negotiate and influence others and communicate effectively.

The reason you should hire me is the fact that I have over ten years of proven experience leading global project teams and cross-functional efforts. With me, you will get an established leader who is highly skilled in resolving conflict and overcoming obstacles. I believe I have successfully demonstrated today that I can effectively communicate with audiences of all levels.    

And because I believe in the company mission statement, I want to be a part of a growing company that welcomes creative thinking and is working on cutting-edge technology to fight cyber-attacks.

8. Do you have any questions for us or anything you would like to follow up on from your first interview?

Why asked:

The most obvious reason that this question is asked is because it allows the candidate to ask for clarification on previously asked questions or get answers to questions not covered in the interview. It also shows that the candidate has come prepared and they are engaged in the interview.

How to answer:

Do not ask questions that are easily found by doing a simple search on the company website. 

The interview is a two-way street. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.

Ask questions of substance. Plan your questions before the interview.

Ask at the start of the interview if it is okay to take notes. As the interview progresses, you may jot down questions you would like a follow-up answer to at the end of the interview.


Again, thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and learn more about the position. Yes, I do have a few questions…

Questions you may want to ask:

You asked what would be the first thing I would like to accomplish in the first 30 days. What do you see as the priority in the first 30 days?

How would you describe your management style?

How will my performance be evaluated?

Do you have any concerns about my qualifications that I can help address?

What is the next step in the process, and what is your timeline to make a hiring decision?

Expert Tip

Do not ask about salary or compensation. Salary is not a part of the interview process but a separate process after being offered the job.

What should I do after the second-round interview?

Now that you have crushed the second-round interview questions, what happens next is vital and will increase your chances of hearing the hiring manager say, “We would like to offer you the job.”

  • Finish the interview by leaving the interviewers with no doubt that you are the best candidate for the open position with a power statement that illustrates you as the answer to their problem and captures your skills and experience as it relates to the job description.

  • Be sure to thank everyone you meet during the interview.

  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours to each participant, and reinforce one thing from the interview that highlights your ability to stand out and do the job.

  • Follow up with a note to the hiring manager if time has passed from when they said they would make a decision. In the note, thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to interview, express your continued interest and enthusiasm for the position, ask when you may hear from them, and ask if they have any additional questions for you or if they would like clarification regarding your qualifications.

Key takeaways

  1. You can crush the second interview and its killer questions through preparation.

  2. Follow the three steps to effectively answer the second-round interview questions: 1) STAR method, 2) Research, and 3) Practice.

  3. You can expect to have some of the same questions from the initial interview, as well as questions more focused on your technical skills and personality traits.

  4. Prepare any questions you have for the interviewer about the position and company that weren’t answered in the first round.

  5. Be sure to follow up after the interview.

Profile Earnest Robinson

Earnest Robinson

Earnest is a Career Coach (CPCC) and Resume Writer with expertise in providing professionals with the tools to effectively navigate the job search and prepare for a successful career. He has extensive experience leading HR and recruiting efforts. Earnest specializes in training, coaching, and mentoring career seekers on how to gain and maintain a successful career filled with purpose and passion, and he believes true career success comes from being holistically balanced.

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