Now that you’ve completed the first interview screen and have been contacted regarding the next round, it’s time to prepare for the second round interview questions. The questions in the second round can be much more in-depth than the first round interview questions.
At Supply Chain Careers we hear all about the interview process and are driven to give you tips on how to prepare for interviews. Below are some of the most common second round interview questions and our insights on how to best answer them.
What value did you deliver for prior employers that relates to the core mission and objectives of this role?
Supply chain is all about adding VALUE to employers which can come in MANY forms. Improving service metrics, cutting costs, transforming a supply chain organization, and improving customer service levels are all crucial components of this career discipline. This is where interviewers will focus the most attention and quantify how you can solve their problems and meet their immediate needs.
Employers want specific examples of past ACCOMPLISHMENTS, preferably with quantified results. If it’s a leadership role, they’ll dive heavily into ability to not just lead a team, but drive change, influence stakeholders, negotiate, and to develop and execute strategies. Compile a list of your past accomplishments that directly relate to the job’s core objectives and deliverables. Remember, the more relevant your examples are, and the more impactful (value creation wise), the better!
Do Your Research – What do you know about our organization’s mission and vision and how it might be fulfilled?
If you’ve made it this far, that means there’s sufficient interest in you as a candidate for an organization to dedicate valuable resources to vet you. People are busy and won’t waste their time with multiple interviews with people that they doubt. Your first interview and qualifications impressed enough to include you in a second round interview. This is when candidates begin separating themselves from the pack.
One way to stand out while responding to second interview questions is demonstrating your preparation. You have to be sure to do a lot of research on the organization’s history, mission, values, and metrics. Be prepared to commend those interviewing you for recent successes or other benchmarks. Maybe there was a news article that covered an innovation or another noteworthy event for them. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Provide ample opportunity for that to occur.
Know your interviewers – What are your thoughts on the award our CEO just won?
The further along you get in the interview process, the more likely it is that executives and other c-suite personnel will be involved. Even if they aren’t directly involved, they will be apprised of your performance, especially in the second round. They will want to know how well you answered second round interview questions. Find news articles on these folks. Research them on LinkedIn or other social media. You may have more in common with them than you previously knew.
Prepare your own second round interview questions
If a supply chain organization has brought you in for a second round of questions, it’s time to take them seriously. Part of preparing for these second interviews is to create a list of your own questions. Believe it or not, when it comes to making the most out of an interview, supply chain HR professionals want to know that you are interested in them too. This is a very specific and specialized career discipline. Your interest in them as a career choice should be about more than just a paycheck. Because they can pay anyone. But they need to HIRE the right one. Investing salary, benefits, and the invaluable onboarding time into someone who’s only slightly interested in the company can exponentially set back an organization.
Having your own second round interview questions prepared demonstrates that you have done your research. It shows a level of time investment and a willingness to understand as much about the company as you can. After all, at this stage in the game, the process of interviews is as much about you interviewing them. You want to know what you’re getting into. Conversely, a lot of supply chain HR partners and hiring managers may frown upon candidates who don’t come prepared with their own second round interview questions.
Lastly, aim to match your list of questions to each interviewer as opposed to asking each interviewer the same questions. If you’re speaking with someone from Finance, have a few questions that pertain to finance, eg, “What are your top priorities as it relates to cutting costs in the supply chain as well as enhancing margins?”
How do you see yourself fitting into our company culture?
It’s time to start getting serious about whether you fit the company and the company fits you. Remember, you’re possibly entering into a long term relationship. You will be spending more time with your co-workers than maybe your own family, especially if you are working onsite. Even if you are remote, you will be interacting with them for more than 40 hours a week. Are these the people you want to spend that much time with? Do they fit with you?
You can be sure that the organization will be screening you hard with second round interview questions to see that you fit with them and their culture. Your resume got you attention and an interview. Your first interview and initial screening made enough of an impression to bring you back for a second interview. Now, you begin to have a bit of leverage. You should always remain humble and honored to be in this process. But, never underestimate the value of a good candidate.
Part of you fitting into the culture is to take an interest in the work this company has done and displaying a thorough understanding of their mission, vision, values, and maybe even a few metrics.
NOTE: Engage with everyone. Don’t be obsequious, but talk to more than one person and be interested in all members of the interview team.
Would you like to talk about anything from your first interview?
You could be prompted to expand upon something from your first round interview. Or, you may have thought of something you wanted to add to the conversation after your first round interview was over. This attention to detail and willingness to be thorough in your own expositions is something that every hiring manager will appreciate. It shows that you were sincere and interested and that you didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. If you leave an interview and you continue to want to do better, that shows a strong desire to succeed and be the absolute best you can be.
Of course, being sincere and honest in your initial screen ensures that you’re able to properly recall what you said and did if prompted in your second round interview. Honesty is always the best policy. Employers typically list this as a Core Value, so never lie or bend the truth. Doing so comes back to haunt candidates.
Be Prepared to be Humble/Talk about a time where you failed repeatedly at a previous job and how you learned from it.
A lot of people say that failure breeds success. Thomas Edison once said that he never failed, he just found 200 ways not to invent the carbon filament light bulb. Employers and hiring managers want to put you on the spot to gauge your honesty, integrity, and how you perform under pressure. What you absolutely don’t want to do is to claim you’ve never failed. Your candor – or lack thereof – is a huge reveal. After all, we are all people. We are all fallible. If you really want this job, then just tell the story as it happened. It’s never as bad as you think. In doing so, you begin to create trust between you and your potential future employer. And trust can go a very long way.
Know what you want/What is your ideal work environment
This may seem cheese and trite as a second interview question. However, it is essential for employer and potential employee to get a more thorough understanding of if mutual desires are aligned. Remember, employers want a long term investment in staff. If you are not upfront about your ideal work environment, you could sour on the position after only a couple of months. This is an important facet for both parties to get right, the first and second time.
Your second interview is a time for you and your potential employer to become a lot more familiar with one another and to hopefully start building trust. A lot more about your values, work ethic, and honesty will reveal itself in this interview, which will help the employer to better understand if you are the right fit who also has the best core competencies for the job.