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Questions by topic

Experience

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How have your past experiences prepared you for this position?
  • What has been your most important accomplishment to date?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • Describe a weakness that you have as it relates to your career goals.
  • If I were to ask one of your professors (or your supervisor) to describe you, what would he or she say?
  • What do you believe is your strongest qualification for this position? Why?
  • What is your definition of diversity and what experience do you have working with diverse populations?

Education

  • What is your educational background?
  • How has your education prepared you for your career?
  • Do you have plans to further your education?

Goals and motivation

  • What are your goals for the next 5-10 years?
  • What motivates you when working on something you don’t enjoy?
  • What have you done to show initiative?

Organization/Position

  • What do you know about our company/organization?
  • Why are you interested in working for our company/organization?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in this position?
  • What is your ideal position/career?
  • Why should we hire you? What do you think you could contribute to our organization?
  • What qualities do you look for in an ideal supervisor?

Interpersonal skills

  • Do you prefer to work individually or as part of a team?
  • Do you consider yourself more detail oriented or more creative? Explain.
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • What strategies do you use to relieve everyday tension and stress?
  • How do you respond when your ideas are rejected?
  • What kinds of people do you work best with?
  • How have you handled problems with co-workers?  

Unique questions

  • If you were a kitchen appliance, which would you be and why?
  • If you could be any color of the rainbow, what color would you be? Why?    

Questions to ask the interviewer

  • What opportunities exist for professional growth and development?
  • What is the company’s management style? What is your management style?
  • In your opinion, what is the most important contribution I can make to this company/organization?
  • What is it you enjoy most about working here?
  • What is the typical work week/month?
  • Is continued training valued or encouraged, and if so, what opportunities are available to employees in this company?
  • What makes your organization different from similar organizations or competitors?
  • What are the top priorities you would first like to see accomplished?
  • What do you think is the most challenging part of this job?
  • What do you consider to be the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you tell me more about how this department works as a team and what would be expected of me as a team member?
  • Is there a structured or typical career path within your company?
  • What’s the makeup of the team? Where does this position fit in the team makeup?
  • What are the measurements for success within your organization?
  • I feel my background and experience are a good fit for this position and I am very interested. What is the next step in the hiring process?

Behavioral interview questions

Behavioral interview questions are asked to ensure applicants describe specific examples during the interview process which provide details  about the skills the applicant has for the position. These questions typically begin with phrases such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a situation in which you…”

When answering behavioral interview questions, it is important to use a specific example and the components of the P.A.R. technique.

P.A.R. technique

Problem: What was the situation and specific problem that had to be addressed?
Action: What specific skills/tools did you use to address the task?
Result: What was the result of your behavior?

Sample question/answer

Question:

Describe a time when you took the initiative to do something when it wasn’t your responsibility to do so.

Answer (Problem):

 The past two years, I have been in a mentor program. During the course of the program, I noticed there were many other student and alumni matches in our area, but we didn’t have a formal way to connect with each other. (Action) When I became aware of this, I scheduled a time to meet with the mentor program coordinator to talk about ways to increase our networks. We developed a plan to start a blog for participants to talk about their experiences and share insights from the program. (Result) As a result of our thoughtful approach we increased networking opportunities among the members in the program. It was a huge success!

Sample behavioral interview questions

  • Tell me about a time when you had great difficulty communicating your thoughts clearly to another person or group and how you handled this situation.
  • Tell me about the most significant project you worked on in which it was crucial to keep track of details while still managing the “big picture.”
  • Describe a time when you took the initiative to do something when it wasn’t your responsibility to do so.
  • Discuss a time when you were responsible for a project that didn’t go the way you expected. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you took a leadership role amongst your peers. What specific things did you do that showed leadership and how did others respond to you as a leader?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person. What made them difficult and how did you handle those interactions?
  • Describe a time when you worked on an effective team. Why was the team effective and what was your role in the team’s success?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to motivate or excite others about a project or event. What strategies did you use to make this happen?
  • Tell me about an aggressive goal that you achieved. What specific steps did you take to achieve the goal?
  • Tell me about a time when you built strong relationships where none existed before.
  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures.