Frequently asked interview questions and what to ask an employer

The interview is the main event of the job search process.

50 Common interview questions
25 Questions to ask

50 Common interview questions

Being able to interview well is the final key to job search success. This 'audition' with a prospective employer occurs no matter what program you have taken, how much experience you have or who you know. It is your opportunity to help the interviewer get to know you and how you might 'fit' in their job and their organization. Like any audition, it is best to be prepared and a significant number of interview questions can be anticipated. Below are some common questions you can use to prepare your own interview answers.

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Describe how you have been able to apply something you learned from your program to a real-life or work-related situation.
  3. Besides your education, is there anything you have been involved in at college or while you have been at college that you are really proud of?
  4. How has your education (your classes/degree/diploma/certificate) prepared you for this position?
  5. What courses have you taken in school that qualify you for this position? What do you think your academic studies will add to this position that experience alone will not?
  6. Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your ability in . . . (a subject taken that reflects a skill area needed in the work)?
  7. Have you ever been put on the spot by an instructor when you felt unsure of yourself? How did you respond?
  8. How would you clarify an unclear assignment?
  9. Are you experienced in (major job task area of the work you are applying to do)?
  10. Describe your experience working with computers.
  11. Where did you receive your most practical experience for this job?
  12. What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Your greatest disappointment?
  13. How do you determine if you are successful in a task?
  14. Describe a time when you had to take on something new and had little or no guidance or support. How did you handle it ?
  15. Describe an important goal you have set and tell me how you reached it.
  16. Give me an example of your ability to calm down an irate customer or client.
  17. What role do you take in group situations? Give examples.
  18. What experiences did you gain from your (previous/current) employer?
  19. What do you know about our product (or service or customers)? How did you find out?
  20. How much do you know about this job?
  21. If I hired you for this position, what components of the job do you most look forward to doing? Least?
  22. What are 3 things you want to get out of this job?
  23. Describe your ideal post-graduation job based on the industry right now.
  24. How does your ideal job measure up against this job?
  25. What are the most important characteristics you are looking for in a job and why?
  26. How did you prepare for this interview?
  27. How are you conducting your job search?
  28. Define cooperation.
  29. What was the most successful team project you worked on? What was your contribution?
  30. What would your past supervisors tell me about you?
  31. Are you competitive?
  32. Describe a situation in which you had to handle a variety of projects simultaneously.
  33. Do you manage your time well? Why do you think so? How do you do it?
  34. The successful candidate will be working with long term, well trained individuals. What will you do to fit in?
  35. How do you influence someone to agree with your ideas?
  36. Tell me about your 'biggest sale'? What did you do?
  37. What do you see as your greatest strengths?
  38. What do you consider your major weaknesses? How will they affect your performance?
  39. How do you make important decisions?
  40. Under what circumstances do you typically make mistakes?
  41. What can you do for us that other applicants cannot?
  42. What did you do particularly well in your last job?
  43. What did you do during the gap in your employment history?
  44. What did you dislike most about your previous job/supervisor/company?
  45. What would you like to tell me that would convince me that I should hire you for this position instead of another candidate?
  46. Tell me about your work experience.
  47. What are your working methods?
  48. I see from your resume you have only the minimum experience for this position. Why should I hire you?
  49. How do you see yourself contributing to our organization?
  50. What do you think are the biggest challenges you'll face in this position?

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25 Questions to ask

The interviewer is not the only one who asks questions in an interview. Asking questions demonstrates your interest in the opportunity. In addition, it is during the interview that you can also find out information that will assist you in deciding if this is the right opportunity for you. Here is a list of questions you may wish to consider.

  1. Would you please describe what a typical day on the job would look like?
  2. What are the top priorities of the job for successful candidate?
  3. What is the first task or problem that would need attention?
  4. What are other areas to be improved?
  5. How has the job been performed in the past?
  6. What are other things to be done by the successful candidate that are not a formal part of the job?
  7. What type of training is provided (i.e. is it structured/formalized)?
  8. How much autonomy would I have in the position?
  9. What would you like to say about the new hire a year from now?
  10. Why is this position vacant? What happened to the person who previously held this job?
  11. Typically, how long have people stayed in this position?
  12. What kind of personal characteristics are you looking for? Risk-taking? Entrepreneurial? A team player?
  13. Can you describe the environment and values here?
  14. What significant changes do you see in the company/industry/department in the future?
  15. What do you see as the department's strengths and weaknesses?
  16. What is the organization's plan for the next 3 years and how does the department fit in?
  17. What kinds of employee achievements are recognized by the company?
  18. Who would I be reporting to?
  19. Is there a current organizational chart available?
  20. May I meet the other people who work in the area?
  21. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
  22. Can I clarify anything more for you abut my skills, education or experience?
  23. What's the next step in the process?
  24. When do you expect to make a decision on the successful candidate?
  25. Does the position involve working with other parts of the organization?

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