Questions Interviewers Ask
and a few good responses
TRADITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
- Tell me about yourself (in two minutes).
- Why do you feel that you will be successful in ...?
- Why did you decide to interview with our organization?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- Why did you choose your major?
- Tell me about your scholastic record.
- What courses did you like best? least? Why?
- Tell me about your extra-curricular activities and interests.
- What have been your most satisfying and most disappointing school or work experiences?
- What did you learn from your part-time or summer job experiences?
- What supervisory or leadership roles have you held?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have plans for graduate study?
- How do you spend your spare time?
- Why should we hire you?
- Describe briefly your philosophy of education or nursing (etc.).
- Tell me about your practice teaching or clinical experiences (etc.).
- Why did you choose to become a teacher, nurse,...?
- How would your last supervisor describe you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
- Do you think your grades are a good indication of your academic achievements?
- How do you work under pressure?
- Why do you want to leave your current job? (If employed full-time.)
- Describe one or two achievements which have given you the most satisfaction.
- In what ways would you contribute to our organization?
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Tell me about a time when you . . .
- Worked effectively under pressure.
- Handled a difficult situation with a co-worker.
- Were creative in solving a problem.
- Missed an obvious solution to a problem.
- Were unable to complete a project on time.
- Persuaded team members to do things your way.
- Wrote a report that was well received.
- Anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
- Had to make an important decision with limited facts.
- Were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Had to adapt to a difficult situation.
- Were tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours.
- Were disappointed in your behavior.
- Used your political savvy to push a program through that you really believed in.
- Had to deal with an irate customer.
- Delegated a project effectively.
- Surmounted a major obstacle.
- Set your sights too high (or too low).
- Prioritized the elements of a complicated project.
- Got bogged down in the details of a project.
- Lost (or won) an important contract.
- Made a bad decision.
- Had to fire a friend.
- Hired (or fired) the wrong person.
- Turned down a good job.
- Experienced failure in the past few years.
"Tell Me About Yourself"
A common opener, this broad question can "throw" many interviewees. It is in fact a "sell-me" invitation. Develop a brief summation of your background leading into your interest and desire to work for the organization as well as your qualifications for the position.
"Why Should We Hire You?"
From your research, you should have gathered information on entry level opportunities within the organization and the necessary qualifications for those positions. From your own self-analysis you will have gained insight into your strengths and accomplishments. Mention key functions of the job and discuss your skills in relation to these functions. Use experiences from previous jobs, internships, and activities as examples to support your answer.
"What Are Your Long Range Goals?"
This question is popular because it gathers a lot of useful information: maturity, foresight and realistic outlook, degree of preparation in career planning, and commitment to the organization and profession. --In your research determine what position you could reasonably reach in five years. Speak to others who have successfully advanced themselves in the organization or profession. Express your desire and capability to grow within the organization. While you may be unsure of your future plans, demonstrate your knowledge of potential career paths.
"What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
Everyone has a weakness but remember not to answer in a negative way. Turn your weakness into a positive (for example) "Because I tend to procrastinate, I have learned to work well under pressure and to always get work done on time."
"Tell Me About Your Schooling"
The key to this question is to keep your reply positive. Speak well of your alma mater. You are a product of your school's educational programs. Be prepared to address questions about low grades, major changes, etc.