Hiring the Right Candidate: 2nd Round Interviews and the Test Drive

Welcome to part 5 of our series on “Hiring the Right Candidate”.


You have completed the absolute grueling day of 1st round interviews, and have narrowed it down to 1 to 3 candidates that intrigued you enough to bring them back for a second, lengthier interview.  In this interview, set aside at least an hour to make sure you have adequate time to really dig deep with your candidate.  Schedule a time with them during a different part of the day so you can observe their behavior in a different light.  Make sure you have at least two people in the room conducting the second interview.


During this interview you want to ask questions like:

  • Any follow-up questions from our first interview?
  • Would you please share with us any observations you made about us or the company based on the 1st interview and your research?
  • Would you please describe a situation where you have handled conflict in the workplace?
  • When your work world is crazy and there is a ton to do and you get overwhelmed – what do you do?
  • How do you see yourself helping us?
  • How would your friends at work describe you?
  • Do you have any reservations about taking the job?
  • When are you available to start?


The purpose of the second interview is to further drill down five things:

  1. Is this person a thinker?
  2. Do you have a good personality fit?
  3. Is their behavior in the first interview similar to the behavior in the second interview?
  4. Do I have any concerns after meeting the person twice?
  5. Can I imagine managing this person and helping to provide for their family?

After second interviews, most companies go on to make a job offer.  STOP.  This can be a huge mistake.  You have interviewed this person twice for a total of 1 to 2 hours.  How is that enough time to know if you have a good hire or not. 


STEP 3 is the test drive.  You would never buy a car without one, why would you offer someone a job without one?  This person could end up costing you way more than a new car over the years – make sure you are both comfortable with each other.  It is a courtesy move for the candidate and it is a necessary move for you. 

Here is how the “test drive” works:

1.       Bring the candidate back for ½ to 1 full day and pay them an hourly wage similar to what you will be offering them with the position.

2.       Tell the candidate that you are going to give them a chance to see if they think they fit with the culture and job and that you will be making sure it is a good fit as well.

3.       Schedule the candidate with ALL the people they will be working with. Divide the time up so that they get at least 15 to 30 minutes with each potential future co-worker or supervisor.

4.       Here are the questions you want the candidate to ask:

Test Drive Questions for Potential Employee

Time with_________________________                 Date ___/_____/_____

a.       What is your role within the company?
b.       What is it you like about working here?
c.       What kind of person do you think best fits the role I am potentially going to fill?
d.      What questions do you want to ask me?
e.      What questions should I be asking you?

5.       At the end of the day, have the candidate write up a report on their day and why they think they fit or do not fit with the organization. Have them hand it in to you.

6.       At the end of the day, have each of the employees that the candidate met with answer these questions by email:

        a.      Reasons why this person may be a good fit for our company?
        b.      Reasons that this person may not be a good fit for our company?
        c.       Recommend that we Hire – Yes or No?


This may seem like a very long process to hire a candidate, but this process gives you every chance of hiring the right person because everyone involved gets a say in the process and you, the owner or manager, get a lot of help seeing things you might have missed. 

Enjoy this. Don’t rush it – it is too important.

Next week: Making the offer and getting your new hire started on a path to success…

About the Author, Jim Brangenberg

Jim's Mission: To transform Christian-run businesses through mentoring Christian Business Owners (CBOs) by incorporating the servant leadership of Jesus Christ in their businesses, their home life and their walk with Christ.

Jim Brangenberg