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3 High Quality Second Interview Questions (Push Buttons)

Updated on September 8, 2013

Second Interview Questions

These 3 high quality second interview questions are designed to filter out interview candidates who are not right for your team.

Okay, the technical interviewers are completed and you've determined which interviewees CAN do the job based on TESTING skills and experience. Now it’s time to move forward with a second interview and figure out if they WILL and WANT to do the job.

For the record - just because somebody applies for a job and has skills to do it doesn't mean they WANT nor WILL do the job.

Pushing Button in Interviews

People are fickle and will quit a job for anything they don’t agree with such as:

  • Where they will sit
  • The type of chair they get
  • The type of laptop or desktop computer they get
  • Who they have to work with
  • The hour they are scheduled to work
  • Because they are not allowed to work from home
  • Because they are not allowed to use their own gadgets at work
  • Because they don’t want to do a timesheet
  • Because they don’t want to do a weekly status report

So how do you find out who WILL and WANTS to do the job before you hire them?

Second interview questions for triggering early warnings:

Question #1

Sometimes things can get pretty hectic around here and you may be asked to work longer than 8 hours in one shift, is that OK?

How about if it happens more than once a month, is that still ok?

How about if it happens more than once a week, is that still ok?


Most people are ok working extra hours on occasion but even if you team doesn’t normally work additional hours, it good to ask the questions and see how far someone will go. You can always explain it almost never happens.

Question #2

What would you do if you helped someone with a problem then they came back and complained about you to your manager?

How about if after the issue was resolved they complained again about you for something unrelated?

How about if other people they knew also started complaining about you, what would you do?


Most people can handle a little criticism but it's good to find out how far people can be pushed before they lose it. Some people can’t handle stress at all and it’s better to create a scenario in the interview to see if there are warning signs of a bad temper before you hire someone.

Question #3 (Setting up a Tripwire)

This requires creating a document with these things listed on it:

  1. Your desk is in a cubicle
  2. We do not allow working from home
  3. You must fill out a weekly timesheet
  4. You will do a weekly status report
  5. You are not allowed to bring gadgets to work such as iPads or tablets
  6. You will use the computer issued to you with no changes to the software or operating system
  7. You will be scheduled for a week out of each month for on call support

Note: These are examples to get you start. You can customize the tripwire list with your own items.

Have them read the document then ask them to share with you how they feel about the list? Look for early warning signs of bad temper, complaining, culture clashing or anything else that might make you think twice before making an offer.


This is a real world scenario and explaining the truth up front is better than dealing with an unhappy employee later on. Not only will they quit but you will look like a manager who can’t keep employees. Everyone wants an atmosphere like Google with a free spirited culture but not everywhere has one.


Pushing buttons with second interview questions will help filter out people you don’t want on your team.

Also setting clear expectations is good for you and the interviewee. Many times new hires start a job with no expectations and quickly resign when they can’t do something they assumed was acceptable.

It’s our job to set the expectation so they can decide during the hiring process if they WILL and WANT to do the job.

Read more interview question hubs: VMware Interview Questions High Quality Citrix Interview Questions

About the Author:

Joe Sanchez has more than 15 years of hands-on experience managing infrastructure technologies and leading staff.

Read more interesting topics on Joe's technology blog or check out his eBook: VCP for Hire on Amazon.


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