Let’s say you’ve met a great candidate, had a terrific phone screen or initial first call, and are ready to schedule a more in-depth on-site interview.

Congrats on getting one step closer to making a final offer!

Some of our tips for having a successful on-site interview include:

1. Remembering that “on-site” interview can mean a lot of different things: If your company works remotely, is hybrid, or the role you’re interviewing people for is remote, you may not need to have an “on-site,” in-person interview. You can however, still bring the same level of professionalism and in-person feel to a remote “on-site.” If your meeting runs through the lunch hour, send your candidate a gift card to order food, or place breaks between your interviews.

2. Thinking of questions on soft skills: While the phone interview or initial screening is a great way to make sure that your candidates are qualified – for example, they have the number of years of experience they listed on their resume, or experience with the specific programming languages your company uses – your on-site interviews should center around gaining a sense of their soft skills - like problem-solving, communication, and how they approach obstacles.

At its core, engineering is all about problem-solving, analysis, and finding creative solutions. Being adaptable, solutions-oriented, and ready to push through even the most challenging bugs are all important traits of an engineer. Ask a few technical-specific questions if you realize there’s anything you didn’t cover in your initial call, but try to keep the interview focused on soft skills if possible.

3. Making candidates feel comfortable: If your candidate is meeting with senior members of your company, let them know who these individuals are, and if you can, how they would be working together. This can help candidates spend some time researching their interviewer’s backgrounds, and coming up with insightful questions to ask.

4. Being respectful of their time: If your candidate is working at their current role, they may not be available to meet for several hours all in one day. If you require several hours of meetings, be flexible with them on scheduling these calls. Maybe your on-site interview is spread out over a few days instead of just one.

5. Exploring if a peer interview can also be helpful at this stage. If you’re growing an already-existing team, and your new hire would be working alongside one or more peers, it’s often helpful to have a current team member interview candidates. Peer-level interviewers may be closer to the day-to-day work than you are, and may be able to determine if your interviewee has the skills or attitude they need to be successful.

Some of our top interview questions to ask candidates during the second interview stage include:

1.     What do you enjoy the most about working in this industry?

2.     Conversely - what’s something you don’t like doing at work, or your least favorite part of working in this industry?  

3.     Tell me about the most challenging code problem or bug you’ve ever worked on. What did you do to solve it, and what did you learn from the experience?

4.     What are your best strategies you’ve found to manage your time when you have multiple, competing projects at once?  

5.     Let’s say someone on your team has a different solution or approach to a problem than you do. How do you work with them on coming up with a solution you’re both happy with?

6.     Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the relevant information.

7.     What’s your experience like working with cross-functional teams – like product management, sales, data science, or finance?

Hiring managers - what are some of your favorite interview questions to ask candidates at this stage?