Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself.
When responding to this request, you should focus on both your personal and professional values. Always be honest, but talk about your best traits only, especially those that relate to the position for which you are applying. Highlight experiences and accomplishments you are most proud of.Why did you leave your last job?
Be honest and avoid saying bad things about your current/last employer. Mention that your current position does not offer the opportunities that you are looking for, etc.

What experience do you have in this field?
Employers want to hire people that are qualified and with whom they would like to work with on an interpersonal basis. Emphasize your qualifications and experiences as much as your personality. For instance, say that you have in-depth knowledge of the industry, are hard working, etc., but also mention that you work well in team and that you enjoy meeting new people.

Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
Employers like employees with a sense of purpose. Don’t necessarily go by “title”, but describe the types of files or projects you would like to be able to handle in the future, etc. This question is popular because it gathers a lot of useful information: maturity, foresight and realistic outlook, degree of preparation in career planning, and commitment to the organization and profession. — In your research determine what position you could reasonably reach in five years. Speak to others who have successfully advanced themselves in the organization or profession. Express your desire and capability to grow within the organization. While you may be unsure of your plans, demonstrate your knowledge of potential career paths.

Do you have references?
Always have your references ready. You can either give your references at the interview if so requested or e-mail your references afterwards, also using that opportunity to send a thank you note.

Do you consider yourself successful?
You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others.

What do you know about this organization?

Why do you want to work for this organization?
Here’s where your research about the company will help you stand out among the other candidates. Explain how you’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that… provides a vital public service, leads the industry in innovative products, whatever… find something specific about that company that you can tie in with your answer.

How long would you expect to work for us if hired?
Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I’d like it to be a long time. Or As long as we both feel, I’m doing a good job.

What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Employers want to hire people that are qualified and with whom they would like to work with on an interpersonal basis. Emphasize your qualifications and experiences as much as your personality. For instance, say that you have in-depth knowledge of the industry, are hard working, etc., but also mention that you work well in team and that you enjoy meeting new people.

Why do you think you are the best fit to work for this organization?
As with all other questions, be confident and enthusiastic when you answer this. Don’t try to say you are the best-qualified person, because you don’t know the qualifications of the other applicants. Instead, emphasize several reasons why you should be hired. For example: “I’ve got extensive experience in [name the appropriate field] and have the specific skills you are looking for. I’m a fast learner who adapts quickly to change and will hit the ground running. I’m dedicated and enthusiastic about helping your company meets its goals, and will provide top-quality results with minimal oversight. I’m an outstanding performer who takes pride in my work. You won’t have any regrets when you hire me.”

Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.
Give some examples of stressful situations you’ve dealt with in the past. Tell how you use time management, problem-solving or decision-making skills to reduce stress. For example, tell them that making a “to-do” list helps. Site stress-reducing techniques such as stretching and taking a break. Don’t be afraid to admit that you will ask for assistance if you are feeling overwhelmed. If it’s true, say you actually work better under pressure.

Why did you choose to work here? What keeps you here?
Although you may like this company, you’re an outsider. You need to find out what an insider has to say about working there. Who better to ask than your interviewer? This also forces the interviewer to step out of their official corporate role and answer personally as an employee and potential coworker.

What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. Have some good ones handy to mention. Here you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. Make it small, well-intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. An example would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and thus throwing coordination off.

Tell me about your dream job.
Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you are contending for is it, you strain credibility. If you say another job is it, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something like: A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and can’t wait to get to work.

Explain how you would be an asset to this organization.
You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.

Why should we hire you?
Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not mention any other candidates to make a comparison.

Tell me about your proudest achievement.
Choose one example from your past that was important to you and helped the company you worked for. Give specific details about what you did, how you did it, and what the results were. Try to pick an accomplishment that relates to the position for which you are applying. Employers like to hear about accomplishments that reduced expenses, raised revenues, solved problems or enhanced a company’s reputation.

What were your responsibilities? Which was most / least rewarding?
This interview question can be tricky. You want to make sure that the things you say are least rewarding aren’t responsibilities that are going to be a major part of the job you are interviewing for. For example, if the last job you had involved extensive customer service telephone work that you hated, and if being on the phone doing something similar is even a minor part of the new job, don’t mention it. Instead, focus on the tasks that were most rewarding and highlight those.

Why do you think you would do well at this job?
Here’s where your research about the company will help you stand out among the other candidates. Explain how you’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that… provides a vital public service, leads the industry in innovative products, whatever… find something specific about that company that you can tie in with your answer.
Employers want to hire people that are qualified and with whom they would like to work with on an interpersonal basis. Emphasize your qualifications and experiences as much as your personality. For instance, say that you have in-depth knowledge of the industry, are hard working, etc., but also mention that you work well in team and that you enjoy meeting new people.

Are you manageable?
A typical interview question to discover how well you would work with other people is giving some examples of teamwork. They are looking for employees who will adapt to the company culture and get along with others. Your relationships with your colleagues are important. Good workplace relationships can help you do your job better. They can make going to work every day enjoyable. Bad relationships with colleagues can distract you and can turn a so-so into a nightmare.

Are you motivated to do the job well?
You are, of course, motivated to do work own your own and as a team player as well. Be sure to have examples ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself is good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag; just say it in a matter-of-fact tone? This is a key point.

Will you get along well with others?
You are, of course, motivated to do work own your own and as a team player as well. Be sure to have examples ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself is good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag; just say it in a matter-of-fact tone? This is a key point.

What makes you different?
Highlight instances when you’ve gone the extra mile, put forth extraordinary effort, or successfully overcome unique challenges in your work history that have resulted in a positive outcome such as winning a major contract, completing a project ahead of schedule or making or exceeding a goal or quota that may have hung in the balance.

Give me an example of a time when you had to think out of the box.
The purpose of this question is to find out what your definition of difficult is and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving. In order to show yourself in a positive light, select a difficult work situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Explain how you defined the problem, what the options were, why you selected the one you did and what the outcome was. Always end on a positive note.

Can the company afford you?
Tell them what you like or what impresses you about this company. List the skills you have that are needed for the job and cite evidence from your past that supports these skills. Demonstrate how much of a team player you are, your specific contributions to the company’s mission and cite several successful projects of which you’ve been a part. Describe your role in each project’s success. In today’s economy, many companies are bringing up the salary question early because they can’t afford experienced workers. Unfortunately, many will rule out stellar candidates because of money and you might be one of them. If this is the case, move on. You don’t want to get caught up in a discussion about salary here. If they bring it up, it’s only to allay any early anxieties in their mind about whether they can afford you. You only need to demonstrate a willingness to work with them within the confines of their compensation structure at this point.

Why were you fired? Why have you not obtained a job so far?

What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. If you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former boss, you may well below the interview right there. Stay positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor.

Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor.
Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. If you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former boss, you may well below the interview right there. Stay positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor.

Can you describe yourself using one-word adjectives?
This answer should always be related to the job. Remember, although the employer is asking personal questions, they are still all related to “what can you bring to the company?” So, I usually give adjectives like reliable, loyal, etc., but make sure you back these with supporting examples. The most important thing is to make sure you boil it all down to presenting the answer in a way that it matches the things the employer is looking for. Just list off a few characteristics that you see yourself as having. Make all of the characteristics sound as positive as possible. This question is usually asked in order to gauge how a person perceives him- or herself. Just be honest. Are you outgoing? Shy? Diligent? Stubborn? Clever? Passionate? Level-headed? Easy-going? etc., etc. Don’t stress too much.

How do you handle rejection?
This is a good question as it addresses a number of key areas all at once. It considers the possibilities that you work was poor enough to be criticized, it looks at your tolerance and ability to take criticism and the interviewer will be looking for clues to see whether you still carry any emotional baggage from the experience.
You have the freedom to just say, “I do not recall any incidents when that happened” and stop. This is fine however, you could be dealing with an inexperienced interviewer and if you repeatedly give this answer, you may come across as un-cooperative. You answer as above but then turn the answer into a positive and talk about some achievement.
The best n winning answer is “I’m pleased to say that I never gave my previous boss or any other cause to criticize me and in fact my previous boss had only good words to say about me and mu achievements.” Or “I do not recall any time when I was criticized. I’m completely focused on making sure that my work is top quality.

Can you describe a time when you were faced with a challenging situation?
This question probes candidates’ ability to deal with difficult situations. Prepare beforehand concrete examples that you can relate to the interviewers.

What are your strong points?
This is a great chance to highlight your best skills. Don’t pick just one, focus on your top three or four. Some examples are: leadership skills, team-building skills, and organizational skills. Determine which strengths would fit best with the position for which you are applying.

What are your weak points?
Be careful with this one. Most interview guides will tell you to answer it with a positive trait disguised as a weakness. For example, “I tend to expect others to work as hard as I do,” or “I’m a bit of a perfectionist.” Or stand out, be more original and state a true weakness, but then emphasize what you’ve done to overcome it. Be sure the weakness you talk about is NOT a key element of the position!

What are you looking for in a job?
Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you are contending for is it, you strain credibility. If you say another job is it, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something like: A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and can’t wait to get to work.

Do you think you are overqualified for this position?
Regardless of your qualifications, state that you are very well qualified for the position.

What are some of your personal goals and have you achieved them?
A good answer to this question will speak specifically about what you are going to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. Examples of good responses include: I plan on gaining additional skills by taking related classes and continuing my involvement with a variety of professional associations. I noticed that XYZ company (the company you are interviewing with) provides in-house training for employees and I would certainly be interested in taking classes that would be relevant. I will continue my professional development my participating in conferences, attending seminars, and continuing my education.

What satisfies you, bothers you, or motivates you?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to interview questions about what motivates you. The interviewer is trying to understand the key to your being successful in the job he is interviewing for, and wants to make sure it’s a good fit. Consider, in advance of interviewing, what actually does motivate you and come up with some specific examples to share during the interview. Your response will vary based on your background and experiences, but, you will want to share your enthusiasm and what you like(d) best about your job.

List three personal attributes that you would like to improve. Have you made any efforts to improve in these areas?
What skills and abilities do you possess that will help make you successful in today’s job market? Please discuss some of your past leadership roles and your accomplishments in them. Please describe a frustrating experience from school or work, and tell me how you dealt with it. How do you interact with people around you (i.e. leadership, communication, socializing, etc.)

Have you worked under deadline pressures? Provide examples.
You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. Give an example that relates to the type of position applied for.

How do you handle stress and pressure?
Give some examples of stressful situations you’ve dealt with in the past. Tell how you use time management, problem-solving or decision-making skills to reduce stress. Site stress-reducing techniques such as stretching and taking a break. Don’t be afraid to admit that you will ask for assistance if you are feeling overwhelmed.

What kind of salary are you worth and why? What are your salary requirements?
Do not put too much emphasis on salary. Convey that you are primarily looking for a place where you can progress and where you will feel comfortable. “You don’t work by the hours, but by a job well done.”

Are you willing to go where the organization sends you? Are you willing to relocate? You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself future grief.

What is wrong with your present firm?
Do not say bad things about your current employer. Say something to the effect that you have been there for a few years now and are ready to undertake new challenges. Put the emphasis on yourself and the fact that you want to move on.

Do you mind traveling?
You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself future grief.

How does your education and experience relate to this position?
Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can. Give several reasons and include skills, experience and interest.

What could you see as the major objectives of this job?
Here’s where your research about the company will help you stand out among the other candidates. Explain how you’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that… provides a vital public service, leads the industry in innovative products, whatever… find something specific about that company that you can tie in with your answer.

Why did you leave your last job?
Answer with a positive statement. Avoid saying such things as you were fired or you didn’t get along with a co-worker, etc. Instead, say something like you got a new job, your contract ended, your job was seasonal, you wanted to change career, you returned to school, you relocated, you wanted to raise a family, etc. People change jobs many times in their career. It’s no longer something to be ashamed of.

How would you resolve conflict in a group situation?
This is a likely question if the position for which you are applying requires supervisory duties. Explain how you used problem-solving skills, listening skills, and coaching skills to help the employee. If those techniques turned the employee around, be sure to say so. If those techniques failed, tell how you followed the company’s policies and what the end result was.

When can you start work?
If you are staying in the same field, you may have ideas as to what you can do. You can also stress your transferable skills and the fact that you can adapt quickly.
Otherwise, mention that you would like to make a contribution your first day on the job, but acknowledge that you will need time to learn about the organization and acquaint with your co-workers. Nonetheless, you will bring a positive attitude to the job.

Describe your work ethic.
Emphasize benefits to the organization. Things like, determination to get the job done and work hard but enjoy your work are good.

Is there anything else I should know about you?
Since a committee isn’t supposed to ask you specifically about certain personal situations, they are giving you the opportunity to bring it up if it is an issue. So, yes, spousal hires, or whether there are opportunities in general for a partner. Or, you might even ask if there are any private schools in the area for your kids, or what have you.
If you have no special concerns, you do not really have to make anything up, just move on. Most of the time, “No, I think we’ve covered the main issues” is a good answer.

Do you have any questions for me?
Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? And what type of projects will I be able to assist on?

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