What questions do recruiters ask at my second interview, and what answers really nail them?

“Tell me about a project where you went the extra mile.” Many times in entry-level roles, there are opportunities to take on more responsibility. This question addresses the candidates’ drive. Recruiters can assess if candidates take pride in their work, and if they have the ability to think beyond the scope of their daily tasks.

In addition, recruiters can dive down into quantifying those examples. If your extra work resulted in a significant change in the outcome, we can discuss how the candidate would have measured the success. A candidate may provide examples that did not have impact, and this allows us to further discuss how your extra effort could have been translated into more measurable results.

Answering this question with pride and talking about how they made a difference will allow the interviewer to learn more about your personality and dedication. Just saying, “I’m a hard worker” is very common. This question gives you the chance to share examples of that work.

“Tell me one misperception people (team members) have of you.” This question is one of my favorites. Many college students provide examples of their work from class projects. The answer, “My team didn’t think I did any work,” is common. This question gives the interviewer a chance to see if the candidate is self-aware. We can dive down into understanding why this misperception exists, and if the candidate did anything to change or overcome it.

This question also can border on the “share one of your weaknesses” challenges. Candidates want to be able to talk about areas they can improve, but also put their best foot forward. The curve ball comes in when you are asked about what other people think about you, but you think is wrong. Interviewers do not use this question as a unique data point, but more of a composite of information. Candidates should practice interviewing and answering all types of questions, so when a question like this is presented, they are not nervous talking about themselves.

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