15 Second Interview Questions to Expect

15 Second Interview Questions to Expect

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1. Tell me again what interests you about this job and what skills and strengths you plan to bring to it.

Note that the question is not, “What are your skills and strengths?” but “What skills and strengths can you bring to the job?”  Answer this question by outlining specific contributions you believe you can make to the company.

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2. Do you have anything you want to revisit from your first interview?

A less-than-ideal answer to this question is, “Not really.” So, before the second interview, take time to make a list of things that occurred to you after your last conversation that you may want to bring up. An example might be, “Could you please tell me a bit more about the company’s culture? I want to make sure I have a good sense of what it would be like to work here and be a part of the team.”

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3. What is your greatest weakness?

Yes, some managers still ask this question, even during the second interview. Be honest about an actual negative trait — but also follow up immediately with how you’re working to overcome it.  Some examples of more acceptable weaknesses might include impatience with bureaucracies or the tendency to take on too much responsibility.

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4. Can you tell me a little more about your current/most recent job?

Note that the employer is asking for more than what you’ve described in your resume or during the initial interview.  You should be able to give a short and precise summary of duties and responsibilities at your most recent position. Be careful not to sound negative about the job or your employer.

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5. Describe a professional achievement you’re especially proud of.

This request is designed not only to evaluable your career priorities but also to test your ability to clearly explain what you do. Avoid jargon and acronyms; instead, explain the significance of your accomplishment in simple terms. One idea is to highlight an anecdote that shows you can collaborate effectively with 

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5. Describe a professional achievement you’re especially proud of.

people in other departments or those outside of your field — a key characteristic of a good team player.

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6. How did you change your current/most recent job?

A convincing answer here shows adaptability and a willingness to take the bull by the horns, if necessary.  Talking about times you chose to approach a task or problem differently from other people highlights your creativity and resourcefulness.

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7. What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make on the job?

This one tests your integrity and decision-making style. Make sure your answer aligns with what you’ve learned so far about the company’s culture and the standards it has set for its employees.

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8. Looking back, what could you have done to make a challenging workplace relationship better?

This interview question is attempting to find out whether you’re capable of rising above an unpleasant situation or learning from past mistakes, both highly desirable qualities. A bitter answer may indicate someone who holds grudges or simply can’t get along with certain kinds of people. A reflective, positive answer will show that you try to minimize 

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8. Looking back, what could you have done to make a challenging workplace relationship better?

personality conflicts — and don’t use them as excuses for failing to move forward. The employer is likely looking for a candidate who tries to be tactful and diplomatic but nonetheless stands up for what’s right.

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9. Do you prefer to work alone or with other people?

A strong answer here is “both.” People who say they like working with information are obviously a good choice for technical positions.  However, that may be a red flag if the interviewer perceives you don’t also enjoy communicating with others or that you lack collaboration skills. Even for highly technical jobs, these traits are valued.

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10. What do you think your current/past company could do to be more successful?

Some questions for a second interview, like this one, are meant to reveal whether a candidate can see and work toward the “big picture” in an organization.  If you get this type of question, keep in mind that the employer is probing to find out whether you have a clear understanding of your current or past employer’s missions and 

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10. What do you think your current/past company could do to be more successful?

goals and if you’ve worked with those objectives in mind.

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11. Can you describe a typical day at work in your last job?

The interviewer wants to see how your current (or most recent) routine compares with the requirements of the job in question. And given how much has changed in business, generally, since the start of the pandemic, you may have a lot to say in response to this question. If you’ve been working remotely, for example, you may want to 

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11. Can you describe a typical day at work in your last job?

highlight your successes in transitioning to that situation. It’s OK to admit to any early struggles you’ve had, too. What’s most important is showcasing your adaptability, perseverance and resilience.

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12. What sort of work environment do you prefer?

Plain and simple, with this question, the interviewer wants to find out whether you’re going to mesh well with the company and its work environment, as expressed in your own words.  Weave your answer around your perception of the employer’s corporate style — as long as it’s truly what you’re seeking. Also, when addressing this question, consider where the 

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12. What sort of work environment do you prefer?

company will expect you to work. Does the organization have an all-remote team right now? Does it intend to keep all or part of its workforce remote once the pandemic subsides? And what is your preference for the long term?

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13. Have you ever been in a work situation where you were asked to do something you felt was unethical?

This is another case where you should give specifics, if possible. The interviewer knows no serious job candidate is going to say that sometimes it’s OK to be unethical.  But how you approach your answer and the anecdotes you share can increase the company’s comfort level with hiring you.

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14. What would you consider an acceptable salary for this position?

There are numerous ways this question could be asked, depending on whether compensation has been discussed previously. Still, the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by a salary-related question.  Consult the Robert Half Salary Guide to learn what the market rate is for professionals with your experience and skillset.

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14. What would you consider an acceptable salary for this position?

Also, during negotiations, don’t forget to ask about perks and benefits that would be important to you, such as flexible work hours and opportunities for professional development.

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15. If you got the job, what would you do in your first year to establish yourself?

Don’t be surprised if targeted (and tough!) queries like this one pop up among the questions for a second interview.  Conduct in-depth company research to show you know your potential employer inside and out. Also, be clear about what you can do in this job to make a quick and meaningful impact.

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