Creating an Interview Process that Wins Top Talent pt. 3

We’ve taken our years of experience and created a comprehensive guide to help you build an interview process that will earn you the candidates your company needs. In the last two installments we broke down how to create an effective candidate persona and the keys to a successful phone screen and initial in-person interview. Today we conclude the series with a look at the 2nd interview through to making an offer.

The 2nd Interview

This is the time to ask complex, behavioral and situational interview questions.

Many candidates can practice perfect responses to standard interview questions, but it’s much more difficult to prepare for these challenges.

Let your candidates know that there isn’t any right or wrong answer during this round of questions. Let them know it’s important for you to see how they work through difficult situations and how they make decisions, and that they’ll perform at their best when answering as authentically as possible.

Here are some good topics to discuss and examples of questions to ask:

Goal Setting /  Success / Work Ethic / Motivations

  • Give me a time in which you had to set an important goal in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
  • Tell me about an accomplishment that you are very proud of and why it means so much to you.
  • Define Success. There is no wrong answer- I want to know what you really value

Intelligence / Extra-Curricular Activities / Self-Development

  • What are the last 5 books you’ve read? When did you read them?
  • Tell me about some of your hobbies / interests
  • How have you improved yourself recently?

Communication Skills / Leadership / Teamwork

  • Tell me about the best / worst boss you’ve ever had
  • What is Leadership?
  • Describe an experience when you worked with someone that did not like you.
  • Describe an experience when you had to serve as the leader to accomplish a goal.
  • On a sales team, define the ideal teammate.


  • Let’s say you have a really bad quarter. It’s filled with bad luck, disappointments, and you miss quota by 50%. What’s going on in your head? What’s your strategy for responding?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to persuade a prospect to buy from you over the competition.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your approach to a prospect because the initial one failed.
  • Tell me about an important negotiation that failed, what went wrong and why?
  • Tell me how you developed your largest account.

Time with the team

Once you have finished your traditional interview process, give your candidate some options to experience the pace, the volume, the comradery, and of course your leadership style. Candidates may have systems for ranking compensation and benefits, but very few candidates will turn down a chance to work somewhere they will truly enjoy.

The most common choices are a half-day at the office, lunch with the team, a field ride-along; or even all of the above.

Your candidate will have a chance to ask real questions, experience more of your culture, and of course share in some positive experiences that lead to an accepted job offer. Conversely, your team could also point out some flaws that could help you avoid making a bad hire.

The Offer Stage

The offer stage really begins during the final interview. You should be asking closing questions during this interview to assess the candidate’s interest level. You also want to identify any concerns or reservations the candidate has so you can address them. The goal should be for both you and the candidate to have everything out in the open when you make the formal offer – Complete transparency.

Companies too often will write an offer letter without first reaching an agreement on terms. This puts a significant amount of pressure on the candidate and may close the door for dialogue. Many candidates have concerns about negotiating after the offer has been written.

A more effective approach is to give the candidate an expectation on when to expect the offer, and then to discuss the terms first. When discussing the offer, be sure to set up a review meeting to discuss the compensation, benefits, and start date with the candidate. The candidate will feel comfortable and supported.


The power in this interview process lies in providing the candidate space to operate within the interview structure you’ve built. Every part of the process empowers the candidate while giving you an opportunity to evaluate them when they are confident and relaxed.

With this method, there should be a greater likelihood that your final candidate accepts with ease, and you feel confident that you’ve chosen the right candidate.


Hungry for more knowledge? We’ve broken down creating an interview process to hire top talentthe entire interview process, from the phone interview to in-person interviews, and all the way through the offer stage.

Parts 1 and 2 are already available online, but if you want the entire series in a PDF you can download our white paper and Learn How to Win Top Talent today.