Hints & Tips for a client ask to a second interview by the Michael Page team
You’ve impressed your prospective employer with your CV, demonstrated a strong understanding of the organisation, asked all the right questions during your first interview, and now you’ve received a callback for a second interview.
If you’ve been asked to return for a follow-up interview, it shows the employer is genuinely considering you for the position. However, it’s far from being a done deal: the second interview is often where your prospective employer is really going to gauge how well you’ll fit into the organisation, and more likely than not, the interviewer will be tossing up between multiple candidates.
The follow-up interview is your chance to stand out, and prove you’re the obvious choice for the job. And one of the best ways to demonstrate this is by asking the right second interview questions. You should also see this as an opportunity to vet your employer in order to get an idea of the company’s future directions, to understand exactly what the company’s expectations are for this role and adjust your own expectations accordingly.
So what questions should you ask in a second interview? The best second interview questions for employers are unique, tailored to the company and specific to the role. Focus on understanding the KPIs and expectations from all stakeholders, the teams you’ll be working with, the different management styles, the company’s short and long term plans, and how you can add value as quickly as possible.
If you’re preparing for your second interview, here are seven of the best job interview questions to ask your future employer.
- What are the main achievements you’d like to see from the successful candidate in the first month, in 3 months, and 6 months?
Employers want to work with new hires who can quickly add value, and this question shows your interviewer you’re committed to making an impact within the short term. It also gives them a chance to share information on any key projects you’ll be working on if you’re successful in the role. Use this as a chance to reassure your interviewers on your ability to take on the tasks at hand, and to understand exactly what their expectations of this role are in the short and medium term.
This is a great question to ask as it also opens up the discussion with your interviewer on any projects that may be important to them, and gives them the opportunity to share more information on the day-to-day aspects of the role. It’s also key to keep in mind if you’re hired because you’ll know where to focus your efforts on for maximum return in the business and be better equipped to anticipate any challenges that may come your way.
- How will your ideal hire step into the role?
Some companies expect new hires to be extremely hands-on from the onset, while others have strict onboarding and training processes that need to be adhered to. This is one of the best interview questions to ask as it demonstrates to your employer you’re considerate of company processes and adaptable to the pace and working style of your new team.
Information around onboarding expectations is invaluable, as it allows you to identify the type of approach you’ll need to take during the first weeks in the role, and it also sheds some light into the company’s working culture and processes.
- What are the team’s main KPIs, and how will my role help you reach these?
This is one of the best interview questions for managers. More often than not, your manager’s KPIs are linked to yours, and by asking about the team’s performance metrics, you instantly build rapport and show you’re committed to helping your manager and team reach their performance goals.
Asking about KPIs also sends the message that you’re a results-oriented professional who isn’t afraid of delivering tangible outcomes, and making an impact. On the flipside, this is an opportunity for you to understand if the team’s KPIs are achievable, so you can set yourself off on the right foot for success.
- Where do you see the company going in the next few years, and how does this role support this vision?
Companies aren’t looking for a hire who will simply clock in and clock out –they’re looking for someone who will be passionate about the business and its future, and who will grow with the company. By asking about the future direction of the company and how your role fits into it, you’re telling your interviewer you’re invested in the long term interests of the organisation. In addition, you’re demonstrating you have the vision, foresight, and ability to understand how your position can help the overall business achieve its goals.
The answer to this will also reveal more around the possibility for future career prospects, and any salary increases that could be on the cards.
- Who are the main stakeholders this role will be working with, and who does this role support?
Jobs don’t exist in silos, so the stakeholders you’ll be working with are integral to your success in the role. Asking this question shows your interviewers you’re a cross-functional team player who can work with different departments to get the job done, and you’re committed to understanding how this role contributes to the overall business outcomes.
By understanding the company’s organisation chart and reporting lines, you’ll get a clearer idea of who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. Positive relationships are essential to creating a productive work environment, and the teams you’ll be working with will have a significant impact on your overall job satisfaction in the future.
- What training and growth opportunities are available for employees in the company?
Companies are looking for employees who are open to continuous learning, in both professional and technical skills. By asking about training and growth opportunities, you’re showing your interviewer you’re committed to being proactive in your own development, whether by staying up-to-date with market trends or developing your skills as a manager or an employee.
Asking this question can also provide you with valuable insights into a company’s commitment to its people: if the interviewer gives you vague answers around development opportunities, it could be a red flag that you won’t get the support you’re looking for when it comes to coaching or upskilling.
- Is there anything that concerns you about my fit for the role?
This is a daunting question but it’s the most direct way to address any concerns your interviewer may have, whether it’s your skills, cultural fit, or your experience. By putting this topic on the table during your interview, you’re opening the floor for an open and honest discussion around any reservations that your prospective employer might have, and giving yourself a chance to address to these while they’re still engaged in the conversation.
You’ll also get a better idea on the next steps in the process, as well as where other candidates may have a competitive advantage over you –and vice versa.
If you can’t address all the concerns straight away, don’t panic and run for the hills: simply note them down and address them later via email with proof points and examples, if possible. The key is not to respond immediately –it’s crucial to show the employer that you’ve taken the time to consider their point of view and can respond to key concerns with tangible proof points in reply.