Career Services

Sample Interview Questions

There is no definitive way to predict what you will be asked in an employment interview.  However, there are questions that are frequently asked.  In addition, if you are prepared to answer these common questions, you are generally prepared for most interviews.  The interview is your chance to tell your story, to paint a picture in words of your worth.  Whenever possible, include a story, example or specific evidence in your interview answers.  

Typical Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What can you offer us?
  • What are your strengths? weaknesses?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What is an accomplishment you are proud of?
  • How have your educational, employment, and other experiences prepared you for this position?
  • How did you choose your academic field/career path?
  • What are your career plans for the next five years?
  • Describe your work style.
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why did you take (or leave) your last job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What salary are you expect
  • How do you define professionalism?
  • How would your current or most recent supervisor describe you?
  • What have you learned from your past mistakes?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success?
  • Describe your most rewarding college experience.
  • Will you relocate? Do you have a geographical preference?
  • How do I know you're the best candidate? 

Behavioral Interview Questions

  • Describe a specific time you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to convince someone to see things your way.
  • By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
  • Describe a time on any job that you held in which you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated good decision making skills.   
  • Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
  • Give an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation which you have had to complete.
  • Tell me about a time you experienced a conflict with a co-worker or peer.
  • Describe a situation in which you were successful.
  • Tell me about a time you managed multiple responsibilities and deadlines.
  • Tell me of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked under tremendous stress.
  • Describe a rewarding experience you had on your current or most recent job.
  • Tell me about a time you had to "think on your feet."
  • Describe a challenging situation you encountered in you current or most recent job.
  • Tell me about a time you set and achieved a goal. 
  • Describe a time when you worked with a difficult person.
  • Give me an example of a problem you faced on any job and how you went about solving it.
  • Describe an experience when you dealt with an angry customer.
  • Give me an example of a time you demonstrated good communication skills. 
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated creativity.
  • Describe a difficult decision you've had to make.
  • Tell me about a time you received constructive feedback.
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

Your response to behavioral questions should include a brief description of the specific situation, the tasks and challenges of the situation, the specific action you took, and the result or outcome, including what you learned from the experience.  One acronym used to guide responses is STAR:

                           Specific situation
                           Task or challenge
                           Action taken
                           Result of action, including what you learned
                                                                                                                
    

Illegal Questions

Interview questions must all be job/experience related. If questions come up that are illegal or improper, such as questions about your family plans, etc, then you need to consider your options:

  • Refuse to answer: this can tell the employer you think the question is improper
  • Answer the question: you decide to swallow your pride and privacy
  • Answer the legitimate question and ignore the illegal or improper questions
  • Ask a question rather than answer the improper question. When in doubt, ask for clarification
  • For more information, visit these web sites:

       About.Com Illegal Interview Questions
       Alexander Hamilton Institute 
       Wisebread