1

www.jobinterviewquestions.org/ GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Questions start the minute the interview does, and to show that you are an exceptional candidate, you need to be prepared to answer not only the typical questions, but also the unexpected. You can expect questions regarding your qualifications, your academic preparation, career interests, experience, and ones that assess your personality. 1. Tell me about yourself The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. e careful that it does not sound rehearsed. !imit it to work"related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done and #obs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. $tart with the item farthest back and work up to the present.

%. &hy did you leave your last #ob' $tay positive regardless of the circumstances. (ever refer to a ma#or 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. ,. &hat 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 experience, get as close as you can. -. .o you consider yourself successful' You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. / good explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others. 0. &hat do co"workers say about you' e prepared with a quote or two from co"workers. 1ither a specific statement or a paraphrase will work. 2. &hat do you know about this organi)ation' This question is one reason to do some research on the organi)ation before the interview. 3ind out where they have been and where they are going. &hat are the current issues and who are the ma#or players' 4. &hat have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year'

/re you applying for other #obs' e honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. 19. &hen it comes to the organi)ation versus the individual who has created a harmful situation.. ut since you need to work. &hat kind of salary do you need' / loaded question. 8emember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in force. *nstead. this is the type of work you prefer. the interviewer. . say that it can depend on the details of the #ob.% Try to include improvement activities that relate to the #ob. This is a key point. 1-. $o. of course. 5ave you ever had to fire anyone' 5ow did you feel about that' This is serious.o not make light of it or in any way seem like you like to fire people. e sure to have examples ready. &hat is your philosophy towards work' The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. 11. #ust say it in a matter"of"fact tone. 12. 1%. would you' /nswer yes if you would. That:s the type of answer that works best here.o not brag. Then give a wide range.o you have strong feelings that the #ob gets done' Yes. . / nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. 5ave some good ones handy to mention. /re you a team player' You are. +eep the focus on this #ob and what you can do for this organi)ation. =r /s long as we both feel *:m doing a good #ob. . e careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought of. a team player. say something like. 5ow long would you expect to work for us if hired' $pecifics here are not good. $omething like this should work< *:d like it to be a long time. you will do it when it is the right thing to do. This can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not relatives. showing a benefit to the organi)ation. /nything else is a distraction. do not answer it. taken off guard.o you know anyone who works for us' e aware of the policy on relatives working for the organi)ation. &hy do you want to work for this organi)ation' This may take some thought and certainly. 6. $hort and positive. / wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self"improvement. $pecifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude.an you tell me the range for this position' *n most cases. *f you had enough money to retire right now.o not say yes if you do not mean it. . 10. That:s a tough question. 8elate it to your long"term career goals. will tell you. 1. 7. should be based on the research you have done on the organi)ation. . /t the same time. $incerity is extremely important here and will easily be sensed. . you will protect the organi)ation. . *f not.

brief and avoid saying negative things about the people or organi)ation involved. &hy do you think you would do well at this #ob' >ive several reasons and include skills. but the work is the most important. *f you have. *t gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. %0. >ive a little advance thought to this relationship. %. %1. 5ave you ever been asked to leave a position' *f you have not. Think real hard but fail to come up with anything that irritates you..o not be trivial. Your leadership skills. &hat are you looking for in a #ob' $ee answer @ %. Tell me about a suggestion you have made 5ave a good one ready. 14. 1xplain how you would be an asset to this organi)ation You should be anxious for this question. &hat would your previous supervisor say your strongest point is' . The best is to stay genetic and say something like< / #ob where * love the work. violence or lawbreaking to get you to ob#ect. 16. %2. &hat kind of person would you refuse to work with' . %6. &hat is more important to you< the money or the work' Aoney is always important. #ust stay positive. &hat irritates you about co"workers' This is a trap question. Your positive attitude . %4. Your ability to focus on pro#ects. Your problem"solving skills. *t would take disloyalty to the organi)ation.. . &hat is your greatest strength' (umerous answers are good. / few good examples< Your ability to prioriti)e. you strain credibility. %9. be honest. say no. e sure and use a suggestion that was accepted and was then considered successful. There is no better answer. like the people. %-. You cannot win. you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with this position if hired. 17. Your professional expertise. &hy should we hire you' ?oint out how your assets meet what the organi)ation needs. Your ability to work under pressure. experience and interest. *f you say another #ob is it. *f you say the #ob you are contending for is it. %%. Tell me about your dream #ob. Ainor ob#ections will label you as a whiner. =ne related to the type of work applied for is a real plus. can contribute and can:t wait to get to work. $tay away from a specific #ob.o not mention any other candidates to make a comparison. / short statement that you seem to get along with folks is great.

*nitiative.2. &hat has disappointed you about a #ob' .reativity.escribe your management style. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure.hallenge.ompany did not win a contract. instead of one si)e fits all. . Bust say yes. *f you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former boss. You were laid off in a reduction . 1nergy. . you may well below the interview right there. . which would have given you more responsibility. . e totally honest. salesman or consensus. /re you willing to put the interests of the organi)ation ahead of your own' This is a straight loyalty and dedication question.on:t get trivial or negative. 1xpertise.1.%.. $ome of the more common labels. . Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor iggest trap of all. $afe areas are few but can include< (ot enough of a challenge. /re you willing to work overtime' (ights' &eekends' This is up to you. like progressive. .0. ?ositive attitude. . because it says you will manage according to the situation. >ive an example that relates to the type of position applied for. ?atience.-. &hat motivates you to do your best on the #ob' This is a personal trait that only you can say. 8ecognition . .o your skills match this #ob or another #ob more closely' ?robably this one. This can create a lot of problems later on in your career. The situational style is safe. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure. . can have several meanings or descriptions depending on which management expert you listen to.There are numerous good possibilities< !oyalty.Your boss tell you that you are successful .o not worry about the deep ethical and philosophical implications.o not give fuel to the suspicion that you may want another #ob more than this one. . $tay positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor. . Team player. 5ard work. Your outcomes are a success.o not say yes #ust to get the #ob if the real answer is no.6. . . 5ow would you know you were successful on this #ob' $everal ways are good measures< You set high standards for yourself and meet them. e honest at this point and save yourself future grief. !eadership.9. &ould you be willing to relocate if required' You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if you think there is a chance it may come up.4. Try to avoid labels. . /chievement. but good examples are< . ?roblem solver %7..

5ow soon will * be able to be productive' and &hat type of pro#ects will * be able to assist on' are examples. . &hat have you learned from mistakes on the #ob' 5ere you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. determination to get the #ob done and work hard but en#oy your work are good. *f you know about blind spots. point that out. Aake it small.o you think you are overqualified for this position' 8egardless of your qualifications. -7. . . a sense of humor. state that you are very well qualified for the position. -%.escribe your work ethic. fair. --. point out Cif trueD that you are a hard working quick learner. they are no longer blind spots.7. $how acceptance and no negative feelings. . /ll bosses think they have these traits. /n example would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a pro#ect and thus throwing coordination off.o not hand it to them. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the #ob. 09. $afe qualities are knowledgeable. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others. 1mphasi)e benefits to the organi)ation. . loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. . -0. -2. -1. &hat has been your biggest professional disappointment' e sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. *f you are comfortable in different roles. . what would you look for' e careful to mention traits that are needed and that you have. -. bring that up< Then. 5ow do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience' 3irst. Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organi)ation.0 . -9. -4. -6. &hat position do you prefer on a team working on a pro#ect' e honest.o you have any blind spots' Trick question. . if you have experience that the interviewer does not know about.o you have any questions for me' /lways have some questions prepared.o not reveal any personal areas of concern here. !et them do their own discovery on your bad points. *f you were hiring a person for this #ob.oncentrate on your problem solving technique and not the dispute you settled. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organi)ation are good. Things like.. &hat qualities do you look for in a boss' e generic and positive. well intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. ?ick a specific incident.

. be %bsorbe' into t(e org%nis%tion wit(out 'isru.tion to t(e e2isting te%/ '&n%/i0s.escribe a time where you set yourself a challenging goal' &hat happened' &hat would you do differently' Wi. Tell me about a time where you had to work towards a deadline.erson%. .id you meet it' *f not.. . Tell me about a significant achievement in your life.e'ge sets.osition/org%nis%tion) Are &ou wi.so/eone w(o wi.. %ttributes to %.. sets %n' .%&er.ing to ..ow &ou to 'o t(e job) Types of questions could include< &hat parts of your education do you see as relevant to this position' &hat prompted you to studyE.2 O! S"E#I$I# QUESTIONS #%n &ou 'o t(e job) *o &ou (%ve t(e +now.e%rn) Are &ou %/bitious %n' +een to su00ee') Types of questions could include< &hy do you want to work for us' &hat do you know about our companyFpracticeFbusiness' &hat are your short termFlong term goals' &here do you see yourself in five years time' . be % goo' te%/ ... what would you do differently next time' *o &ou w%nt t(e job) *o &ou w%nt to wor+ in t(is .s+i.. &ou 1it in) T(e interviewer w%nts to 'eter/ine i1 &ou wi.' Tell me about a time when you had to communicate information to a group of people.

and the industry..i0%nt %n' job) W(%t /%+es &ou t(e best %..' .' .' t(e e/.i+e to %s+ us) This is your opportunity to find out more about the #ob.osition) W(& s(ou.an you give me an example of working as part of a team. 5ave you stated your ma#or selling points' &ere you unhappy about a particular answer during the interview' This is an opportunity to address that. &hat was your contribution to the team and what was the outcome of this exercise' &hat would you do ifEEEEEEE' !est 1it between %..i0%nt 1or t(is .an you give me five words that best describe you' &hat skills and qualities can you bring to this position' Is t(ere %n&t(ing &ou wou.i0%nts) Types of questions could include< &hy do you think you are the best person for the #ob' &hat are your strengths and weaknesses' ..i+e to %'') This is an opportunity to bring particular skills or qualities to the attention of the interviewer.. &hy are you the best person for the #ob' Tell the interviewerG Is t(ere %n&t(ing &ou wou..o&er t%+e &ou over ot(er %.. You could ask questions like< &hat are the career prospects within your company' .4 Types of questions could include< . the company.escribe a time where you had to work with a group of people to achieve a common goal' .

The ?ersons with . to name a few. regulations. Therefore. may appear to be benign. or local entity specifically provides a list of illegal interview questions. gender. >enerally. &hile no specific federal. there is sufficient precedent Clegal historyD in court rulings. you should be aware of the types of questions that may be problematic in the H$ as well as how to handle them in an interview. . the list of potentially illegal questions Cor their legal counterpartsD presented here is in no way exhaustive. religion. QUESTIONS TO AVOI* 8egulations and H$ !aw provide extensive protection against discrimination in employment. /s an interviewee. organi)ations are increasingly careful about the way in which they ask questions in interviewingI no one wants to be the sub#ect of a lawsuit claiming discriminatory hiring practices. ear in mind that both law and precedents continue to change. state. ecause of these laws. marital status. asically. this means that they do not discriminate on the basis of age.g. employers must focus on what they need to know to ascertain whether the candidate is capable of doing the #ob.isabilities /cts also specifically protects people with physical or mental disabilities or handicaps in addition to providing special accommodations for them Ce.6 &hat staff training and development opportunities are available' &ho would * be reporting to' &here would * be located' /void asking too many questions about salary and conditions of employment such as holidays but know what salary range you are prepared to accept. and constitutional laws to govern certain categories of questions. Aany companies and organi)ations you will encounter state explicitly that they follow 1qual =pportunity 1mployer guidelines. or sexual orientation. legislative decisions. $ome of these questions may be perfectly acceptable outside of the H$ and so. wheelchair accessD. /ll questions must be directly relevant to the #ob for which the candidate is applying.

e Interview Questions "erson%.7 S%/. .s &hat are your 0"year goals' Tell me what JsuccessJ means to you. &hat does JfailureJ mean to you' .o you set goals for yourself and how do you do that' #o//uni0%tion Tell me about a work situation you had that required excellent communication skills. Go%.o you consider yourself successful' .. 3otiv%tion %n' Tr%its 5ow do you feel about your present workload' &hat motivates you to do your best work' 5ow can we best help you get your #ob done' Tell me about a time you went Jout on a limbJ to get the #ob done' &hat are the disadvantages of this line of work' &hat do you find most frustrating at work' Tell me about a pro#ect that got you really excited' 5ow do you define doing a good #ob' &hat makes a #ob en#oyable for you' Hnder what conditions do you work best' &hat is your greatest strengthFweakness or deficiency' Tell me about a work task you en#oy.

o you prefer to speak directly with someone or send a memo' 5ow would you grade your ability to communicate with upper level management. 5ow did you handle it' *:m interested in hearing about the last time you took a risk.it& Tell me about the last change which occurred in your office. 5ow did you like the environment' &hat kinds of decisions are most difficult for you' &hat is the most difficult work situation you have faced' &hat types of #obs do you have the most difficulty with' &hat do you do when you:re having trouble with your #ob' &hat do you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short period of time' 3%n%ge%bi. 5ow much advance notice did you have' You have worked in a fast paced environment. &hat was it and in retrospect.it& . was it the right decision' 5ow important is communication and interaction with others on your #ob' 5ow many departments did you deal with' &hat problems occurred' Tell me about a time when a work emergency caused you to reschedule your workFpro#ects. >ive me an example of the last time you went above and beyond the call of duty to get the #ob done *n what areas do you typically have the least amount of patience at work' Stress Tell me about a deadline you had to meet.e2ibi. written or oral communication' $.19 . customers. and peers' &hat was more important on your #ob.

11 &hat do you do when you:re having trouble with a boss' *f your boss knew you were interviewing. &hat are some of the things about which you and your boss disagree' &hat are some of the things your boss did that you disliked' *n what areas could your boss have done a better #ob' * would be interested to hear about an occasion when your work or an idea was critici)ed. what was critici)ed. what would you do' &ould you like to have your boss:s #ob' &hy or why not' Tell me about a time when your manager was in a rush and didn:t give you enough attention. The worst. who critici)ed you.escribe the best manager you ever had. &hat do you do' *f your supervisor unfairly critici)ed you. and how did you handle it' . &hat qualities did each of them have' • • • • • &hat do you think are the three key skillsFstrengths vital to this position' &hat characteristics do the achievers in this company seem to share' *s there a lot of team pro#ect work' &hat would * be expected to accomplish in the first six months on the #ob' in the first year' &hat are some of the departmentKs ongoing and anticipated special pro#ects' . what would he say' &hat do you feel an employer owes an employee' Your supervisor tells you do to something in a way you know is dead wrong.

o not ask about salary and benefits. does the organi)ation offer tuition benefits' .1% • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • *dentify a typical career path in your organi)ation for someone with my qualifications. &ill * work independently or with others' &ho directly supervises this position' &hat is his or her background' &hat:s he or she like' Aay * talk to other people who report to this person' /re there any recent or anticipated changes in the structure of the organi)ation Cmergers.an * provide you with any other information to help you in the decision making process' &ill * have a written employment agreement' . cutbacksD' *f * want to further my education. as well as future training programs.oes your company require that * sign a non"compete agreement' 5ow many women and minorities hold management positions in your company' &here do the other employees live' 5ow far away are these communities' . &hat are the companyKs strengths and weaknesses' &ho are your clients' Aay * talk with one' &ho are your competitors' &hat kinds of computers and programs do you use' &ill * have my own computer' 5ow would you describe your companyKs personality and management style' *s it company policy to promote within' Tell me the work history of your top management.escribe the work environment. &hat are your expectations for new hires' &hat is the overall structure of the department where this position is located' &hat qualities are you looking for in your new hires' *s this a new position or a replacement' &hat happened to the person who held it previously' *s there someone already employed by the firm who thinks they should have this position' &hat is the next step in the hiring process for this position' . &hat are the challenging facets of this #ob' &hat industry trends will occur in this company' . 5ow is an employee evaluated and promoted' &hat is the retention rate of individuals in the position for which * am interviewing' Tell me about your initial.an you describe them' &hat is the commute like' 5ow many other candidates are you considering for this position' &hat can you tell me about them' 5ow soon can * expect to hear from you' .