You are on page 1of 10

Now that the Career Vision students finally know how to write a great CV along with a Cover Letter,

its time to know about the basic questions asked during an interview board. The following notes are NOT mine and are carefully selected from a lot of resources from the internet. ere you all go! 1. Tell me about yourself: The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. tart with the item farthest back and work up to the present. 2. Why did you leave your last job? tay positive regardless of the circumstances. !ever refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors" co-workers or the organi#ation. $f you do" you will be the one looking bad. %eep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an opportunity" a chance to do something special or other forward-looking reasons. 3. What experience do you have in this field? peak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. $f you do not have specific e&perience" get as close as you can. 4. o you consider yourself successful? You should always answer yes and briefly e&plain why. ' good e&planation is that you have set goals" and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others. !. What do co"#or$ers say about you? Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. (ither a specific statement or a paraphrase will work. )ill *lark" a co-worker at mith *ompany" always said $ was the hardest workers she had ever known. $t is as powerful as )ill having said it at the interview herself. %. What do you $no# about this or&ani'ation? This question is one reason to do some research on the organi#ation before the interview. +ind out where they have been and where they are going. ,hat are the current issues and who are the major players(. What have you done to improve your $no#led&e in the last year? Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. ' wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. .ave some good ones handy to mention. ). *re you applyin& for other jobs? Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. %eep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organi#ation. 'nything else is a distraction. +. Why do you #ant to #or$ for this or&ani'ation? This may take some thought and certainly" should be based on the research you have done on the organi#ation. incerity is e&tremely

important here and will easily be sensed. /elate it to your long-term career goals. 1,. o you $no# anyone #ho #or$s for us? Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organi#ation. This can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought of. 11. What $ind of salary do you need? ' loaded question. ' nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. o" do not answer it. $nstead" say something like" That0s a tough question. *an you tell me the range for this position$n most cases" the interviewer" taken off guard" will tell you. $f not" say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range. 12. *re you a team player? You are" of course" a team player. Be sure to have e&amples ready. pecifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. 1o not brag" just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point. 13. -o# lon& #ould you expect to #or$ for us if hired? pecifics here are not good. omething like this should work2 $0d like it to be a long time. 3r 's long as we both feel $0m doing a good job. 14. -ave you ever had to fire anyone? -o# did you feel about that? This is serious. 1o not make light of it or in any way seem like you like to fire people. 't the same time" you will do it when it is the right thing to do. ,hen it comes to the organi#ation versus the individual who has created a harmful situation" you will protect the organi#ation. /emember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in force. 1!. What is your philosophy to#ards #or$? The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. 1o you have strong feelings that the job gets done- Yes. That0s the type of answer that works best here. hort and positive" showing a benefit to the organi#ation. 1%. .f you had enou&h money to retire ri&ht no#/ #ould you? 'nswer yes if you would. But since you need to work" this is the type of work you prefer. 1o not say yes if you do not mean it. 1(. -ave you ever been as$ed to leave a position? $f you have not" say no. $f you have" be honest" brief and avoid saying negative things about the people or organi#ation involved. 1). 0xplain ho# you #ould be an asset to this or&ani'ation You should be an&ious for this question. $t gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. 4ive a little advance thought to this relationship.

1+. Why should #e hire you? 5oint out how your assets meet what the organi#ation needs. 1o not mention any other candidates to make a comparison. 2,. Tell me about a su&&estion you have made .ave a good one ready. Be sure and use a suggestion that was accepted and was then considered successful. 3ne related to the type of work applied for is a real plus. 21. What irritates you about co"#or$ers? This is a trap question. Think real hard but fail to come up with anything that irritates you. ' short statement that you seem to get along with folks is great. 22. What is your &reatest stren&th? !umerous answers are good" just stay positive. ' few good e&amples2 Your ability to prioriti#e" Your problem-solving skills" Your ability to work under pressure" Your ability to focus on projects" Your professional e&pertise" Your leadership skills" Your positive attitude 23. Tell me about your dream job. tay away from a specific job. You cannot win. $f you say the job you are contending for is it" you strain credibility. $f 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 like2 ' job where $ love the work" like the people" can contribute and can0t wait to get to work. 24. Why do you thin$ you #ould do #ell at this job? 4ive several reasons and include skills" e&perience and interest. 2!. What are you loo$in& for in a job? ee answer 6 78 2%. What $ind of person #ould you refuse to #or$ #ith? 1o not be trivial. $t would take disloyalty to the organi#ation" violence or lawbreaking to get you to object. 9inor objections will label you as a whiner. 2(. What is more important to you: the money or the #or$? 9oney is always important" but the work is the most important. There is no better answer. 2). What #ould your previous supervisor say your stron&est point is? There are numerous good possibilities2 Loyalty" (nergy" 5ositive attitude" Leadership" Team player" (&pertise" $nitiative" 5atience" .ard work" *reativity" 5roblem solver 2+. Tell me about a problem you had #ith a supervisor Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. $f you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former boss" you may well below the interview right there. tay positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor.

3,. What has disappointed you about a job? 1on0t get trivial or negative. afe areas are few but can include2 !ot enough of a challenge. You were laid off in a reduction *ompany did not win a contract" which would have given you more responsibility. 31. Tell me about your ability to #or$ under pressure. You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. 4ive an e&ample that relates to the type of position applied for. 32. o your s$ills match this job or another job more closely? 5robably this one. 1o not give fuel to the suspicion that you may want another job more than this one. 33. What motivates you to do your best on the job? This is a personal trait that only you can say" but good e&amples are2 *hallenge" 'chievement" /ecognition 34. *re you #illin& to #or$ overtime? 1i&hts? Wee$ends? This is up to you. Be totally honest. 3!. -o# #ould you $no# you #ere successful on this job? everal ways are good measures2 You set high standards for yourself and meet them. Your outcomes are a success.Your boss tell you that you are successful 3%. Would you be #illin& to relocate if re2uired? You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up. 1o not say yes just to get the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself future grief. 3(. *re you #illin& to put the interests of the or&ani'ation ahead of your o#n? This is a straight loyalty and dedication question. 1o not worry about the deep ethical and philosophical implications. )ust say yes. 3). escribe your mana&ement style. Try to avoid labels. ome of the more common labels" like progressive" salesman or consensus" can have several meanings or descriptions depending on which management e&pert you listen to. The situational style is safe" because it says you will manage according to the situation" instead of one si#e fits all. 3+. What have you learned from mista$es on the job? .ere you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. 9ake it small" well intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. 'n e&ample would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and thus throwing coordination off. 4,. o you have any blind spots? Trick question. $f you know about blind spots" they are no longer blind spots. 1o not reveal any personal areas of concern here. Let them do their own discovery on your bad points. 1o not hand it to them.

41. .f you #ere hirin& a person for this job/ #hat #ould you loo$ for? Be careful to mention traits that are needed and that you have. 42. o you thin$ you are over2ualified for this position? /egardless of your qualifications" state that you are very well qualified for the position. 43. -o# do you propose to compensate for your lac$ of experience? +irst" if you have e&perience that the interviewer does not know about" bring that up2 Then" point out :if true; that you are a hard working quick learner. 44. What 2ualities do you loo$ for in a boss? Be generic and positive. afe qualities are knowledgeable" a sense of humor" fair" loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. 'll bosses think they have these traits. 4!. Tell me about a time #hen you helped resolve a dispute bet#een others. 5ick a specific incident. *oncentrate on your problem solving technique and not the dispute you settled. 4%. What position do you prefer on a team #or$in& on a project? Be honest. $f you are comfortable in different roles" point that out. 4(. escribe your #or$ ethic. (mphasi#e benefits to the organi#ation. Things like" determination to get the job done and work hard but enjoy your work are good. 4). What has been your bi&&est professional disappointment? Be sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. how acceptance and no negative feelings. 4+. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job. Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organi#ation. !,. o you have any 2uestions for me? 'lways have some questions prepared. <uestions prepared where you will be an asset to the organi#ation are good. .ow soon will $ be able to be productive- and ,hat type of projects will $ be able to assist on- are e&amples.

<uestions2 Tell me about yourself. ,hat are your strengths,hat are your weaknesses,ho was your favorite manager and why,hat kind of personality do you work best with and why,hy do you want this job,here would you like to be in your career five years from nowTell me about your proudest achievement. $f you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done" what would you do$f $ were to give you this salary you requested but let you write your job description for the ne&t year" what would it say,hy is there fu## on a tennis ball.ow would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the teamThere=s no right or wrong answer" but if you could be anywhere in the world right now" where would you be.ow would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you,as there a person in your career who really made a difference,hat=s your ideal company,hat attracted you to this company,hat are you most proud of,hat are you looking for in terms of career development,hat do you look for in terms of culture -- structured or entrepreneurial,hat do you like to do4ive e&amples of ideas you=ve had or implemented. ,hat are your lifelong dreams,hat do you ultimately want to become.ow would you describe your work style,hat kind of car do you drive-

Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job. ,hat=s the last book you read,hat maga#ines do you subscribe to,hat would be your ideal working situation,hy should we hire you,hat did you like least about your last job,hat do you think of your previous boss.ow do you think $ rate as an interviewer1o you have any questions for me,hen were you most satisfied in your job,hat can you do for us that other candidates can=t,hat are three positive things your last boss would say about you,hat negative thing would your last boss say about you$f you were an animal" which one would you want to be,hat salary are you seeking,hat=s your salary history.ow do you want to improve yourself in the ne&t year,hat were the responsibilities of your last position,hat do you know about this industry,hat do you know about our company.ow long will it take for you to make a significant contribution're you willing to relocate,hat was the last project you headed up" and what was its outcome,hat kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job4ive me an e&ample of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work. ,hat would you do if you won the lottery*an you describe a time when your work was critici#ed.ave you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight- .ow did you handle it-

,hat is your personal mission statementTell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. .ow did you handle it,hat is your greatest failure" and what did you learn from it,hat irritates you about other people" and how do you deal with it,hat is your greatest fear,ho has impacted you most in your career" and how,hat do you see yourself doing within the first 8> days of this job,hat=s the most important thing you=ve learned in school,hat three character traits would your friends use to describe you,hat will you miss about your present?last job$f you were interviewing someone for this position" what traits would you look forList five words that describe your character. ,hat is your greatest achievement outside of workell me this pencil. $f $ were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with" what would you do1o you think a leader should be feared or liked,hat=s the most difficult decision you=ve made in the last two years,hat do you like to do for fun,hy are you leaving your present job,hat do you do in your spare time.ow do you feel about taking no for an answer,hat was the most difficult period in your life" and how did you deal with it,hat is your favorite memory from childhood4ive me an e&ample of a time you did something wrong. .ow did you handle itTell me one thing about yourself you wouldn=t want me to know. Tell me the difference between good and e&ceptional. ,hy did your choose your major,hat are the qualities of a good leader- ' bad leader-

,hat is your biggest regret" and why,hat are three positive character traits you don=t have,hat irritates you about other people" and how do you deal with it$f you found out your company was doing something against the law" like fraud" what would you do.ow many times do a clock=s hands overlap in a day.ow would you weigh a plane without scales,hat assignment was too difficult for you" and how did you resolve the issue$f $ were to ask your last supervisor to provide you additional training or e&posure" what would she suggest$f you could choose one superhero power" what would it be and why,hat=s the best movie you=ve seen in the last year1escribe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day" and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them. ,hat techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organi#ed$f you could get rid of any one of the @ states" which one would you get rid of" and why,ith your eyes closed" tell me step-by-step how to tie my shoes. if you had to choose one" would you consider yourself a big-picture person or a detail-oriented person$f selected for this position" can you describe your strategy for the first A> days,ho are your heroesTell me B> ways to use a pencil other than writing.

3ix .ntervie# *ns#ers 4ou 1eed to 5et -ired By 5eter Cogt" 9onster enior *ontributing ,riter 1uring the typical job interview" you=ll be asked a lot of questions. But do you really understand what the interviewer needs to knowD9ost students have no idea why a recruiter asks a particular question"D says Brad %arsh" a former recruiting professional for advertising giant Leo Burnett and current president of career consulting firm )ob Bound. DThey tend to think it=s a competition to outwit the interviewer.D The reality is that employers have neither the time nor inclination to play games with you" especially when hiring. Your interviewer is not trying to outguess you -- he=s trying to assess your answers to si& key questions2

o 4ou -ave the 3$ills to o the 6ob? 'ccording to %arsh" the employer must first determine whether you have the necessary hard skills for the position" e.g." the programming knowledge for a database administration job or the writing chops to be a newspaper reporter. DBy really probing into what the candidate has done in the past" an interviewer can tap into hard skills.D But the interviewer is also looking for key soft skills you=ll need to succeed in the job and organi#ation" such as the ability to work well on teams or Dthe requisite common sense to figure things out with some basic training"D says Terese *orey Blanck" director of student development at internship company tudent (&perience and a partner in *ollege to *areer" a consulting firm. o 4ou 7it? D(very organi#ation=s first thought is about fit and potentially fit in a certain department"D *orey Blanck says. That means the interviewer is trying to pinpoint not only whether you match up well with both the company=s and department=s activities but also whether you=ll complement the talents of your potential coworkers. o 4ou 8nderstand the 9ompany and .ts :urpose? $f the organi#ation fits well with your career aspirations" you=ll naturally be motivated to do good work there -- and stay more than a month or two" *orey Blanck reasons. D$ don=t want someone to take the position because it=s a job and it fits their skills. $ want them to be e&cited about our mission and what we do.D -o# o 4ou 3tac$ 8p *&ainst the 9ompetition? You=re being evaluated in relation to other candidates for the job. $n other words" this test is graded on a curve. o the interviewer will constantly be comparing your performance with that of the other candidates=. o 4ou -ave the ;i&ht <ind"3et for the 6ob and 9ompany? D$=m always looking for someone who has a can-do type of attitude"D *orey Blanck e&plains. D$ want someone who wants to be challenged and is internally motivated to do well. *orey Blanck points out that an employer can=t train for this essential trait. DBut you can hire for it. 'nd if you don=t" you=ll end up with a lower-performing employee.D o 4ou Want the 6ob? 9ost employers know better than to believe everyone they interview actually wants the position being offered. They understand some candidates are e&ploring their options" while others are using an interview with a company they don=t care about to hone their interview skills. o you have to prove you really want the job" says 'l 5ollard" senior college recruiter for *ountrywide +inancial. D$ use the ditch-digger analogy2 9any of us can dig ditches" but few are willing to -- and even fewer want to.D