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1. What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?

The most important value that I have is my integrity. I demonstrate honesty and trust in all my actions to
establish credibility as a leader. By having this conviction behind my words and actions, those who I lead
are gain buy in to the direction I take them.
2.How have you gained commitment from your team?
I gain commitment from my teams by influencing and persuading them to set specific objectives and also
buy into the process. Once they have established cooperation and cohesion, they are on board to attain
the goal.
3.How can a leader fail? Tell me about a time when you failed as a leader.
A leader can fail when they cant get their team on board with the goals of the organization. Factors
outside of a leaders control may also lead to failure such as available resources, time constraints, and the
In the example you give, make sure that you talk about how dealt with a difficult challenge and how you
analyzed the setback. Make sure you explain how to seek honest feedback to ensure that you learned
from the failure.
4. What is the difference between a Team leader and a Team manager?
A manger is able to handle tasks and responsibilities and ensure that others get their work done. A leader
will inspire and motivate their team to achieve their goals.
5. What is your greatest strength?
Being able to lead and inspire a team to perform their best and strive to achieve goals. I do this through
relationship building, being passionate about the goals, and influencing those around me.
6. What would be your greatest weakness?
When I delegate duties to others that I know I can do better myself. However if I dont delegate, then I
could end up with more work than I can handle myself. Ive taken courses in time management and
learned how to effectively delegate tasks to overcome this weakness.
7. How do you get others to accept your ideas?

I talk about the benefits of the idea and how to apply it. I would stay open to other thoughts and change
my ideas in a way that we can all agree. When you gain buy in from others, you are much more successful
in attaining the goals than when you make it mandatory to follow procedure.
8. How would you go about praising a team member in public?
I would use a time when we would be gathered in a group, such as a meeting to bring up the praise to the
team member. I would recognize their success in front of the group so others could also learn best
9. Are you more effective in a group or one on one basis?
I feel that I am more effective in a group because everyone has some special quality that they bring to a
group. We can develop our interpersonal skills by helping those in the group who need it as well as
learning from those who are successful.
10. How often do you feel its necessary to meet with your team?
I feel that I should meet with my team at least once a week on a set time and day of the week.
Communication among teams is critical and this will give the team an opportunity to get together on a
regular basis and talk about their challenges and best practices. Also, when our team reaches a
milestone, new project begins, an award or promotion is given, or when there is a challenging situation, I
would want to bring the team together. Everyone will get the same message that way and we can
celebrate successes or come together in challenging times.
11. Describe a time you took a leadership position when you did not have the title
of a leader.
In this question, take an example from a situation where you were in a group and took responsibility to
delegate to achieve goals. Show how you gained buy in from the other members to follow your lead and
the result of your leadership.
For instance, in college we were put into groups of four to complete a marketing project. We had to
prepare a 15 page paper and 10 minute presentation on a new product that we would introduce to country
outside the U.S. I took initiative among the group to lead a discussion on how we should split up the work,
when we will meet throughout the semester, and deadlines for each persons part of the work. Because I
was the one to take lead the discussion and had a plan in mind, I gained the buy in of the other members
quickly. I took everyones e-mail address and created a group email to help us all keep track of our
progress and so we could help each other outside of class and our meetings. By the end of the semester,
my group achieved a 95% on our project.

12. How would you go about getting cohesion among a team who disagree?
I would find common ground between the members who disagree. I would talk about the importance of the
overall goal and the implications if we cant come together to achieve it. We would then work together to
come to an agreement that is a win/win for both sides.
13. What sort of leader would your team say that you are?
The type that will support them in their goals and success. They would describe me as someone who will
clear the way when there are obstacles and always has their back.
14. How do you motivate your team?
I find out what motivates them individually so I can speak to how a goal or change is going to benefit them.
I ensure that I have the right amount of positive and constructive feedback to help them perform
effectively. My actions always match my words so when I speak to my team with conviction, they are onboard with performing their best.
15. How do you set an example to those on your team?
I perform my best at everything and ensure that my actions match my words. My team sees that my
expectations that are set for them are the same expectations I put on myself.
16. Have you ever been in a mentor to another aspiring leader? How did you go
about establishing that relationship?
Yes, I treated it much like the relationship that I have with my team. I built a strong working relationship
with the person, listened to their goals, gave advice, and my personal experience. I shared my best
practices and constantly monitored their progress to celebrate their success and move them in the right
17. What is the most difficult part of being a leader?
In some ways, although you are part of group, you are alone. Its a leaders responsibility to see the end
goal and vision of an organization to lead others towards it. When others do not see it the same way, you
have to be the lone voice to bring them back on track.
18. How do you lead through change?
As a leader, you have to be the first one to embrace change because if you dont those around you will
quickly see that. After that, I ensure that I can communicate the change with conviction that its the right
path to adopt .I prepare by ensuring that I can answer any questions that may be asked ,or have the

resources to find the answers. I listen to others concerns about the change and help them through the
19. How do you measure success for you as a leader?
By the goals that the team achieves. When someone on the team is successful, then it reflects on my
20. What motivates you to be a leader?
I am motivated by my teams growth and achievement of their professional and personal goals.
21. What is a leaders best asset?
Their ability to motivate and inspire a team of professionals who can work together to achieve the goals of
the organization.
22. What do you do when you are unsure about how to achieve the goals of the
You have to be open to feedback and be willing to ask for help when you are not clear on how to achieve a
goal. I would ask my leader first for their feedback on how they believe I should go about achieving the
goals. In addition, I would use all the resources available to me to find the best course of action.
23. Are you more comfortable with verbal or written communication?
I am comfortable with both, however I feel that verbal communication is more effective. When you speak to
someone directly, you will be able to see their body language toward the communication. You are also
able to address questions/concerns faster than in written communication.
24. How would you deliver bad news to your team?
I would bring them together and state the news. I would explain as much as possible as to why it occurred
and what steps we will need to take in the future. I would also open it up to the team to speak about their
concerns, answer questions, and share their viewpoints as to how we can avoid a similar situation.
25. Is competition among a team healthy? Why or why not?
I believe competition among a team is good as long as it is in good spirit. A team has to have a high level
of cohesion among its members to prevent misunderstandings. As a leader, its my responsibility to ensure
that when there is competition that it is being monitored to ensure its positivity.
26. What are the most difficult decisions to make?

Its difficult to make the decision to let an employee go. However, if they are not performing the way that
they should be, it is the right decision. It is never easy to make a decision that will impact a persons life.
27. What do you get the most criticism about you on?
I have not received criticism on the same area over and over. Im always open to personal and
professional growth and welcome any opportunity to improve. When I receive criticism, I work on
improving that aspect and furthering my growth.
28. How would you proceed to reorganize your team?
I would look at the overall goals of the organization and match my teams strengths up with the
29. Have you ever been a member of a successful team? What was your role in the
success of the team?
Use an example of when you were part of a team and demonstrate the leadership skills that you used to
pertain to your role.
30. How do you build support for ideas/goals with people who do not report to you
and you have no authority over?
In situations where I must build support for my ideas with cross-functional teams, I ensure that I
communicate my idea clearly and effectively. I listen to their feedback to the idea and I will make amends if
they are necessary to build support or improve on the idea. I foster an environment where input is sought
and validate my idea by explaining why its the best route.
31. How do you go about resolving conflict?
I take a mediated approach to conflict. I believe its important to listen to both sides and understand where
each is coming from. There is usually some common ground among conflict and I start there and build.
32. Name a time when an employee disagreed with your directive and how you
handled it?
I heard them out to understand why they disagree. I may have to go back and re-explain the directive and
reasons for it. I would listen to their feedback and if it is the right thing to do, take it to change the directive.
However, if that is not the case I would stick to the facts as to why their commitment is necessary.
33. Who are the most important members of your team?

Everyone is equally important. Each person contributes something different to the team and that makes us
as a whole stronger.
34. How do you delegate responsibilities to your team?
I match up responsibilities with each members strengths. If I have a team member who is working on
improving an aspect, I will give them the opportunity to take on the task and ensure they have the tools
necessary to be successful. I would monitor their progress as well.
35. Name a time when you had to change a decision due to new facts.
Pick a situation where you showed that you were open to change and show how you were effectively at
changing your decision based on the new facts.
For example, I had created new spreadsheet for managers to use at the end of the night to keep track of
sales for the day. This spreadsheet was due in an e-mail every morning and helped us see how we were
doing on a daily basis. A few months later, our point of sales system allowed us to input this information in
a program that would allow managers to input sales for the day. With this new technology, I decided to do
away with the spreadsheet and had the managers use the program to capture the information and send it
to me.
36. How do you achieve objectives in a fast-paced environment?
I ensure that the team knows the objectives and the timeliness that have been set. I place milestones so
each member can check in on their progress.
37. Explain a time when you had to make a decision without all the relevant facts.
Pick a decision that you would not have all the facts for at the time of the decision. Make sure that you
speak about all the different options you had and how you picked the best one out of what you had
available. Talk about the results/takeaways.
For instance, I had to decide whether our organization was going to be involved in a new marketing
campaign that used social media to advertise our products. At this point in time, our company did not have
relevant information on how successful our previous social media marketing campaigns were. If we were
to proceed, I was going to have dedicate at least one member on my team to its success. It would be timeconsuming and if not successful, would take up a lot of productivity time. I decided to take part in the
campaign because it was relatively inexpensive and the potential to gather information about best
practices when launching them in the future. We ended up with a very successful marketing campaign
with measurable results.

38. How do you formulate and present arguments to others?

I look at all sides of an argument first so I know what may come up when I present my position. I base my
arguments strictly on facts that are objective.
39. How did you a handle a time when you had to make an unpopular decision?
Talk about a decision that you made that was necessary, but not popular with your team. Explain how you
communicated the decision, listened to their concern, and stood your ground on the decision.
One possible answer
Last year I decided to change our commission structure to our sales reps. I felt it was a necessary change
because there were too many sales reps who were doing the bare minimum to collect a paycheck.
Needless to say, many of the sales reps were upset with the decision. I reiterated the reasons for the
change and ensured they had the tools they needed to be successful in the new commission structure.
The organization saw an increase in their revenue and sales reps were making 5% more with the new
commission structure.
40. What do you do to remain engaged in a conversation?
I actively listen by para-phrasing what others say to me. That ensures that I am on the same page as the
other person and keeps me attentive to the conversation.
41. How do you organize projects and tasks?
I organize them by what is the most important and time sensitive to complete.
42. Explain a time when you were not able to meet a deadline?
Use an example were you were not able to meet a deadline due to outside factors.
For instance , there was a big project that my team was working on and I had split up the work among
some members and myself. During that time, one member of the team had to leave due to their spouse
getting a position in another city. He left at a critical time and I had to re-assign his duties to someone
else. I had to get this new person up to speed with the progression of the project and due to this, was not
able to complete it on time. We were still able to complete the project a few days after the deadline even
with the change in team member.
43. How have you rallied your team in the past in difficult projects/tasks?

I communicate my confidence in their ability to complete the project. I ensure that I remove as many
obstacles as possible and they have all the tools/answers they need to complete the task. I ensure theres
clear expectations and open communication.
44. How do you encourage the development of your employees?
I develop my employees by being a mentor, giving effective performance feedback on a regular basis, and
coaching. I take a personal interest in the development of my employees and when they see that I am
committed to their growth, they are more motivated.
45. What is the most significant change that you brought to an organization?
Provide an example that shows how you demonstrated your vision to make a positive change in the
organization. Also, talk about the results of the change.
For instance, at my previous organization, the management team came up the ranks and never had formal
management training. They did not know how to lead their former peers and were uncomfortable having
productivity discussions with their teams. I felt there was a need to train these managers on the skills they
would need to be successful. So I made my case to the leadership team on why it is important and
provided examples I was seeing. Due to this, all managers go through a rigorous management training
program that prepares them for their new role.
46. Have you were developed an innovative solution to a non-traditional problem?
In your example, show how you promote change and innovation. Solutions to unique problems occur when
there is a constant information flow in all directions to ensure responsiveness to change.
For instance, I was responsible for a sales team in my previous position. A separate production staff
handled the orders that my sales team would prepare. This production team had difficulty making the
deadlines that my sales team promised their clients. In addition, the product was sometimes not
customized to the level the client was looking for. So I decided to change the process that our sales reps
put in sales order by having the sales rep communicate with the production team who was responsible for
each clients product. This helped my sales rep create achievable timeliness and a product that was the
way the client expects.
47. What is the role that leadership plays to a manager?
A leaders role is to communicate with clarity to the strategic vision to the management team. This vision
must be able to be in the form of a clear direction and plans. There should be clear priories, objectives
timeliness, accountability, and performance measures.

48. What leadership style do you use?

This answer should be based on the type of organization you are joining. You should show that you are
able to change your style in different circumstances.
49. How would you go about developing your team?
I encourage training courses, soft skills workshops, on the job mentoring, and coaching.
50. Have you ever taken on a job that you were unqualified for?
In your example, show how you are not afraid of taking risks to achieve goals at work. Demonstrate your
focus on the job at hand and how it inspired others.
For instance, I took on management responsibilities in my previous position to take the place of my
manager who had left. I did not have any management experience but I knew that the team was not going
to be able to be effective without a leader in place. I may have made a few mistakes, but ultimately was
successful in taking on that additional responsibility. The upper level management were impressed by my
growth and efforts so they ended up promoting me into that position.

Sample Interview Questions for Managerial Positions

Decision Making Questions
1. At which point do you find it necessary to bring others into your decision-making process? Why?
2. Describe your approach to making decisions and solving problems. Why do you do it this way?
3. When you recommend something to management, what approach do you usually use?
4. How do you assemble relevant data to make your decisions? How do you know you have enough
5. How much leeway do you give your employees to make decisions? How do you still maintain
Administration Questions
1. What areas are within your sphere of responsibility in your current position? How do, you make
sure that you know what is happening (problems, changes, etc.)?

How do make sure that your employees are accountable?

3. What operating systems do you use to monitor and maintain control of your area of

What do you typically do when you hear of a problem in your area? Explain?


How useful have you found written procedures and guidelines in helping you manage your area?

6. Do you feel that the chain of command is important? Why? When do you feel it might inhibit
organizational effectiveness?

Share an effective method you have used to enforce rules and regulations.

Writing Skills Questions


When you have to write letters, how do you usually get started?


How do you keep track of incoming and outgoing correspondence?


What do you see as the difference in writing strategy for a report vs. memo vs. a letter?

Financial Questions
1. What responsibility do you have for budgeting? What budgeting method do you use?
2. Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize limited resources? How? What worked and what
did not?
Leadership Questions

How do you get your employees (or others) to follow you?


How do you use power or authority to get what you want done?

3. How do you delegate responsibility for an assignment? Who do you choose? What and how do
you delegate, and what do you monitor and follow up?

How do you describe your management style?

5. Please share with me an example of how you helped coach or mentor someone. What
improvements did you see in the person's knowledge or skills?
6. Provide an example of a time when you successfully organized a diverse group of people to
accomplish a task.
7. Provide an example of a time when you were able to demonstrate excellent listening skills. What
was the situation and outcome?
8. In your experience, what is the key to developing a good team? (Look for how they build mutual
trust, respect, and cooperation.)
Evaluating Performance

What do you do to ensure objectivity when you evaluate the work of others?


What sort of performance standards have you held Employees to? Were they written?


How often do you evaluate your employees?


How do you get your employees involved in their own evaluation?


How do you evaluate your departments overall performance?


When you evaluate someones performance verbally, what approach do you take?


How do you plan for performance improvements?


How do you measure performance in your area?

9. What have you found to be the best way to monitor the performance of your work and/or the
work of others? Share a time when you had to take corrective action.
Employee Relations

How do you go about developing the people you manage?


How do you help your employees become committed to a job or to the organization?


How do you deal with an attitude problem?


How often do you think it is necessary to meet with your employees?


How have you handled complainers?


How do you deal with an employee who needs to be disciplined? Explain your strategy.


What sort of employee training do you think is necessary to offer?


How do you handle a, personnel situation, which might have a, potential legal impact?


How do you develop trust and loyalty in your employee?

Planning Questions

How far in advance do you typically plan activities for yourself and your employees?


How do you assess priorities? How do you then assign them?

Organizational Relationships

How would you deal with politics in a work place?


What would you describe as an effective staff meeting? Ineffective?


How do you typically get cooperation from someone in another department?


Have you had to make an oral presentation to other managers? Explain.

How do you motivate your employees/team members?

The more your employees or team members understand about their jobs and responsibilities the more
motivated they are. Show how you ensure each subordinate has clarity about his or her role and
responsibilities. Discuss how you set clear, specific and realistic targets that are agreed on rather than
dictated. Focus on how you involve employees by asking for suggestions, ideas and feedback.

Tell me about a time an employee made a significant mistake. What action did
you take?

This is a behavioral or situational interview question. You are expected to provide an example of how you
successfully managed a difficult employee or team member. Find out more about handling the behavioral
In your answer to this supervisor interview question focus on your ability to communicate openly to
understand the cause of the mistake. To discuss with the employee how it can be prevented from
happening again. To view the mistake as a learning opportunity to improve future performance.

Describe a time you had to introduce important change in your last job.
Your ability to persuade and influence your employees or team members to accept change is key.
Show how you were able to gain support and commitment from them by using the appropriate
communication style, by listening and responding to concerns and questions, by asking for their help and
commitment and by providing support.

Describe a time you had to manage conflict within your

Your example can show how you identified the source of conflict, used the conflict situation as a
constructive process to exchange opinions and ideas and clarify roles and responsibilities. Discuss how you
kept the focus on the desired outcome rather than on personal grievances.

Tell me about a time you had to coach an employee to perform a task.

Coaching and developing others is part of the supervisor function. Supervisor interview questions about
the development of employees should include your ability to agree on the outcomes and methods of
coaching with the employee, to explain and demonstrate task performance, to observe and provide
constructive feedback.

Tell me about a short term plan you developed for your

These supervisor interview questions explore your ability to plan and organize. Your interview answer
should demonstrate your ability to set priorities, establish objectives and milestones, schedule activities
and plan proper use of resources.

When evaluating an employee or team member's performance what factors are

most important to you?
This question is designed to assess your performance standards. Show how you set high work standards
for yourself and your subordinates, how you communicate your expectations and how you monitor

1. What do you like most and least about your current job?
The interviewer is assessing your match with the job opportunity. When referring to what you like about
your current job highlight an aspect that relates directly to the job you are interviewing for. When
discussing what you dislike about your current job avoid referring to any duties or tasks that are part of

the job you are interviewing for. Avoid personal attacks on your colleagues, managers and the

2. What motivates you in your job?

Consider carefully what does motivate you. It is a personal characteristic and will depend on your
experience and competencies. Understand the job you are interviewing for and emphasize the
motivational fit between you and the job. How do the job itself and the organizational environment provide
the motivation and satisfaction you want?

3. How do you deal with conflict?

Every job, team and organization contains an element of conflict. The interviewer is exploring your
approach to conflict with top ten interview questions like this. What resources do you use to manage
conflict at work? How do you prevent conflict from escalating or happening again?

4. How do you define success in your job?

Success means different things to different people. This question explores your interpretation of success
and if it is compatible with what the organization views as success. What do you consider to be a
challenge? What are your career goals?

5. How would your manager and co-workers describe you?

This interview question is all about your self awareness. Do you know how you come cross and how you
are perceived in the workplace? Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses? Do you ask for and
receive feedback? Make sure your answer focuses on work related characteristics. The interviewer is not
really interested in what a great dancer you are!

6. What do you consider to be the key skills for this job?

A number of these top 10 job interview questions demand that you have a good understanding of the job
Display your knowledge of the position by listing the skills required and highlighting those that are key to
the expected job performance and outcomes.

7. What salary are you looking for?

This is a tricky question. It is easier to answer if you know what salary the job offers and you have a
salary history to refer to. There are a number of ways to handle this difficult question. It is essential to
have done some research on typical salary ranges for this type of job. This will provide you with the data
you need to support your interview answer.

8. What is your reason for leaving your current job?

Avoid negative and critical answers, focus on the positive aspects of what you are moving towards. Never
badmouth former employers, this is viewed by interviewers as destructive and unhelpful behavior.

9. Describe your ideal job.

Your interview answer should correlate with what motivates you and the key skills required for the job you
are interviewing for. Try not to be too specific. Rather focus on general positive attributes that any number
of jobs can offer an individual such as the opportunity to learn and grow, the opportunity to make the best
use of your skills and to make a meaningful contribution to the organization.

10. What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Top 10 interview questions are likely to include those that explore what you have accomplished to date.
Focus on an achievement that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for. It should be something that
you had to work hard for and that was a real challenge to accomplish. What goals do you set yourself?
What do you consider important? How do you overcome obstacles?

List of Most Common Interview Questions for Managers & Supervisors

1. How many people have you supervised in the past?

2. Have you personally hired, trained, and coached staff?
3. How do you handle difficult employees?
4. Have you ever fired someone due to erratic behavior? If so, explain what process or steps you
used to conduct the dismissal?
5. Describe your management philosophy.
6. How would your subordinates describe your management style? If asked, what would your
subordinates say about you?
7. What aspects of your previous management roles have you excelled within?
8. Why should we choose you over other applicants? What's unique about you?
9. How do you decide important decisions when it comes to staffing, accounting, operations,
warehousing, sales, and so on?
10. With your past (or most recent) employer, what have you done to cut costs? Provide a couple of
11. How do you motivate your staff to produce optimal performance?
12. What have been your most notable achievements from the last 2-3 years?
13. What programs or systems have you introduced to streamline internal operations?
14. Have you been involved in renegotiating contracts with small to large vendors? What have been
your successes?
15. What has been your experience working with union and non-union personnel?

16. Have you received any awards or recognition that you're particularly proud of?
17. How would you describe your personality?
18. When a problem arises, do you pause and think of a solution, or have you conditioned yourself to
act immediately with what seems right?
19. How many hours per week are you capable of committing to this position?
20. Are you someone who will stay until the job is done, or do you typically leave when your shift is
21. What techniques do you use to rally your team?
22. What has been your involvement with self-evaluation and 360-degree programs?
23. What are your thoughts on organizational restructuring?
24. Have you had any experience with mergers and acquisition?
25. Have you been involved with securing or assisting with the maintenance of ISO certifications?
26. Any involvement with certain methodologies or strategies; i.e. Kanban, Agile, Lean Management?
27. What is your expected salary?

Manager and Supervisory Job Skills List

Regardless of the company, industry or job level a manager is responsible for optimizing productivity to
accomplish tasks and achieve objectives. This list of job skills is generic to most management positions.

establish realistic short and long-term goals and objectives

delegate tasks appropriately to employees

organize and allocate the right resources for task achievement

schedule and co-ordinate activities for maximum efficiency

effectively work with diverse staff members

empower staff members to achieve outcomes

monitor progress towards desired objectives

handle obstacles and challenges to goal achievement

motivate staff towards goal attainment

build constructive relationships with staff and team members

recruit, place and develop staff

manage and evaluate staff performance

identify and resolve conflict

develop and implement policies, practices and procedures for improvement

plan and implement change effectively

utilize technology to effectively support the management function

What is a competency?
You will find many different definitions of this concept. Generally a competency is described as the
knowledge, skills and behavioral attributes necessary for acceptable job performance.
Knowledge refers to previous education and experience, skills refers to the technical or practical skills
required to perform the job and behavioral attributes refer to personality characteristics that are key to
successful job performance.

The 12 core competencies for job success


Decision Making


Work Standards

Key Actions

Uses sound judgment to make

good decisions based on
information gathered and analyzed.

Considers all pertinent facts

and alternatives before deciding on
the most appropriate action.

Commits to decision.

Interacts with people

effectively. Able and willing to
share and receive information.

Co-operates within the group

and across groups.

Supports group decisions and

puts group goals ahead of own

Sets and maintains high

performance standards.

Pays close attention to detail,

accuracy and completeness.

Shows concern for all aspects

of the job and follows up on work



Problem Solving


Planning and Organizing

Displays energy and

enthusiasm in approaching the job.

Commits to putting in
additional effort.

Maintains high level of

productivity and self-direction.

Takes personal responsibility

for job performance.

Completes work in a timely

and consistent manner.

Sticks to commitments.

Analyzes problem by
gathering and organizing all
relevant information.

Identifies cause and effect


Comes up with appropriate


Adapts to changing work

environments, work priorities and
organizational needs.

Able to effectively deal with

change and diverse people.

Plans and organizes tasks and

work responsibilities to achieve

Sets priorities. Schedules


Allocates and uses resources


Expresses ideas effectively.

Organizes and delivers

information appropriately.

Listens actively.



Shares complete and accurate


Maintains confidentiality and

meets own commitments.

Adheres to organizational
policies and procedures.

1. So, tell me a little about yourself.

I'd be very surprised if you haven't been asked this one at every interview. It's probably
the most asked question because it sets the stage for the interview and it gets you
talking. Be careful not to give the interviewer your life story here. You don't need to
explain everything from birth to present day. Relevant facts about education, your career
and your current life situation are fine.

2. Why are you looking (or why did you leave you last job)?
This should be a straightforward question to answer, but it can trip you up. Presumably
you are looking for a new job (or any job) because you want to advance your career and
get a position that allows you to grow as a person and an employee. It's not a good idea
to mention money here, it can make you sound mercenary. And if you are in the
unfortunate situation of having been downsized, stay positive and be as brief as possible
about it. If you were fired, you'll need a good explanation. But once again, stay positive.

3. Tell me what you know about this company.

Do your homework before you go to any interview. Whether it's being the VP of
marketing or the mailroom clerk, you should know about the company or business
you're going to work for. Has this company been in the news lately? Who are the people
in the company you should know about? Do the background work, it will make you stand
out as someone who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the company and
the job.

4. Why do you want to work at X Company?

This should be directly related to the last question. Any research you've done on the
company should have led you to the conclusion that you'd want to work there. After all,
you're at the interview, right? Put some thought into this answer before you have your

interview, mention your career goals and highlight forward-thinking goals and career

5. What relevant experience do you have?

Hopefully if you're applying for this position you have bags of related experience, and if
that's the case you should mention it all. But if you're switching careers or trying
something a little different, your experience may initially not look like it's matching up.
That's when you need a little honest creativity to match the experiences required with
the ones you have. People skills are people skills after all, you just need to show how
customer service skills can apply to internal management positions, and so on.

6. If your previous co-workers were here, what would they say about you?
Ok, this is not the time for full disclosure. If some people from your past are going to
say you're a boring A-hole, you don't need to bring that up. Stay positive, always, and
maybe have a few specific quotes in mind. "They'd say I was a hard worker" or even
better "John Doe has always said I was the most reliable, creative problem-solver he'd
ever met."

7. Have you done anything to further your experience?

This could include anything from night classes to hobbies and sports. If it's related, it's
worth mentioning. Obviously anything to do with further education is great, but maybe
you're spending time on a home improvement project to work on skills such as selfsufficiency, time management and motivation.

8. Where else have you applied?

This is a good way to hint that you're in demand, without sounding like you're whoring
yourself all over town. So, be honest and mention a few other companies but don't go
into detail. The fact that you're seriously looking and keeping your options open is what
the interviewer is driving at.

9. How are you when you're working under pressure?

Once again, there are a few ways to answer this but they should all be positive. You may
work well under pressure, you may thrive under pressure, and you may

actually prefer working under pressure. If you say you crumble like aged blue cheese,
this is not going to help you get your foot in the door.

10. What motivates you to do a good job?

The answer to this one is not money, even if it is. You should be motivated by life's noble
pursuits. You want recognition for a job well done. You want to become better at your
job. You want to help others or be a leader in your field.

11. What's your greatest strength?

This is your chance to shine. You're being asked to explain why you are a great
employee, so don't hold back and stay do stay positive. You could be someone who
thrives under pressure, a great motivator, an amazing problem solver or someone with
extraordinary attention to detail. If your greatest strength, however, is to drink anyone
under the table or get a top score on Mario Kart, keep it to yourself. The interviewer is
looking for work-related strengths.

12. What's your biggest weakness?

If you're completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt. If you say you don't
have one, you're obviously lying. This is a horrible question and one that politicians have
become masters at answering. They say things like "I'm perhaps too committed to my
work and don't spend enough time with my family." Oh, there's a fireable offense. I've
even heard "I think I'm too good at my job, it can often make people jealous." Please,
let's keep our feet on the ground. If you're asked this question, give a small, workrelated flaw that you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told I occasionally
focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've been spending time laying out the
complete project every day to see my overall progress."

13. Let's talk about salary. What are you looking for?
Run for cover! This is one tricky game to play in an interview. Even if you know the
salary range for the job, if you answer first you're already showing all your cards. You
want as much as possible, the employer wants you for as little as you're willing to take.
Before you apply, take a look at for a good idea of what someone with your
specific experience should be paid. You may want to say, "well, that's something I've
thought long and hard about and I think someone with my experience should get

between X & Y." Or, you could be sly and say, "right now, I'm more interested in talking
more about what the position can offer my career." That could at least buy you a little
time to scope out the situation. But if you do have a specific figure in mind and you are
confident that you can get it, I'd say go for it. I have on many occasions, and every time
I got very close to that figure (both below and sometimes above).

14. Are you good at working in a team?

Unless you have the I.Q. of a houseplant, you'll always answer YES to this one. It's the
only answer. How can anyone function inside an organization if they are a loner? You
may want to mention what part you like to play in a team though; it's a great chance to
explain that you're a natural leader.

15. Tell me a suggestion you have made that was implemented.

It's important here to focus on the word "implemented." There's nothing wrong with
having a thousand great ideas, but if the only place they live is on your notepad what's
the point? Better still, you need a good ending. If your previous company took your
advice and ended up going bankrupt, that's not such a great example either. Be
prepared with a story about an idea of yours that was taken from idea to
implementation, and considered successful.

16. Has anything ever irritated you about people you've worked with?
Of course, you have a list as long as your arm. But you can't say that, it shows you as
being negative and difficult to work with. The best way to answer this one is to think for
a while and then say something like "I've always got on just fine with my co-workers

17. Is there anyone you just could not work with?

No. Well, unless you're talking about murderers, racists, rapists, thieves or other
dastardly characters, you can work with anyone. Otherwise you could be flagged as
someone who's picky and difficult if you say, "I can't work with anyone who's a Bronco's
fan. Sorry."

18. Tell me about any issues you've had with a previous boss.
Arrgh! If you fall for this one you shouldn't be hired anyway. The interviewer is testing
you to see if you'll speak badly about your previous supervisor. Simply answer this
question with extreme tact, diplomacy and if necessary, a big fat loss of memory. In
short, you've never had any issues.

19. Would you rather work for money or job satisfaction?

It's not a very fair question is it? We'd all love to get paid a Trump-like salary doing a job
we love but that's rare indeed. It's fine to say money is important, but remember that
NOTHING is more important to you than the job. Otherwise, you're just someone looking
for a bigger paycheck.

20. Would you rather be liked or feared?

I have been asked this a lot, in various incarnations. The first time I just drew a blank
and said, "I don't know." That went over badly, but it was right at the start of my career
when I had little to no experience. Since then I've realized that my genuine answer is
"Neither, I'd rather be respected." You don't want to be feared because fear is no way to
motivate a team. You may got the job done but at what cost? Similarly, if you're
everyone's best friend you'll find it difficult to make tough decisions or hit deadlines. But
when you're respected, you don't have to be a complete bastard or a lame duck to get
the job done.

21. Are you willing to put the interests of X Company ahead of your own?
Again, another nasty question. If you say yes, you're a corporate whore who doesn't
care about family. If you say no, you're disloyal to the company. I'm afraid that you'll
probably have to say yes to this one though, because you're trying to be the perfect
employee at this point, and perfect employees don't cut out early for Jimmy's baseball

22. So, explain why I should hire you.

As I'm sure you know, "because I'm great" or "I really need a job" are not good answers
here. This is a time to give the employer a laundry list of your greatest talents that just

so happen to match the job description. It's also good to avoid taking potshots at other
potential candidates here. Focus on yourself and your talents, not other people's flaws.

23. Finally, do you have any questions to ask me?

I'll finish the way I started, with one of the most common questions asked in interviews.
This directly relates to the research you've done on the company and also gives you a
chance to show how eager and prepared you are. You'll probably want to ask about
benefits if they haven't been covered already. A good generic one is "how soon could I
start, if I were offered the job of course." You may also ask what you'd be working on.
Specifically, in the role you're applying for and how that affects the rest of the company.
Always have questions ready, greeting this one with a blank stare is a rotten way to
finish your interview. Good luck and happy job hunting.