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Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Give me some examples of how you have had to control costs/increase revenues.
Hint:  Accountability for cost containment or revenue enhancement. Scope of involvement and general knowledge. Discuss your ideas or actions that have saved money, increased revenues, or improved productivity in the past. Some ideas in this area may not be obvious because they provide an indirect benefit. For example, the cost savings associated with a reduction in turnover, or increased product revenues that resulted from improved service or customer satisfaction. Give actual dollar amounts, if appropriate to do so.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  Please describe for me a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome? How did you handle it?
Hint:  Creativity, goal accomplishment and organization skills. Try to identify an obstacle that is similar to what might be encountered in the new job, and then discuss how your overcame the obstacle.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Our organization has the following challenge (type of challenge). If we hire you, how would you handle it?
Hint:  Ability to address new or unfamiliar challenges. The more you know about the organization, the better prepared you will be to answer this question. Think about the organization's goals and market. Then discuss how you would bring value to the organization if hired.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Provide a specific example when you took the initiative to improve your department/function/organization's performance, quality, or cost-effectiveness
Hint:  The ability to make improvements in operations or processes is a valued skill. This is especially so if you take the initiative to do it without being asked by your manager. Give an example of how you identified the need and the steps you took to address that need.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What aspect of your previous job did you like the most?
Hint:  The applicant's likes and dislikes. Does the applicant like doing the kinds of things that can be expected in the new job? What are the applicant's particular aptitudes? Will the applicant be successful and happy in the new job?

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   Management

Question:  How would you describe your management style?
Hint:  How well the applicant's management style matches the management culture of the organization. Also, will the management style fit the particular needs of the employees being managed?

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  How do you see the role of the quality professional in an organization?
Hint:  Insight into your view of quality within the organization and how you can support organizational needs. Demonstrate your understanding of the role of quality in helping to achieve overall organizational success. Cover how quality impacts every aspect of operations and how quality should be a part of the organization’s culture. Discuss how you contribute to overall quality awareness.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   Management

Question:  Tell me about a difficult or controversial decision you have made in the last year.
Hint:  A test of your relative level of responsibility and decision-making authority. The answer to this question will provide the interviewer with a sense of your relative level of authority and responsibility. Think about decisions you have made in the past that are similar to the scope of decisions you would be required to make in the new job.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Discuss an important written document you were required to prepare, how you went about it and how you used it in your job.
Hint:  The ability to organize and communicate thoughts and concepts. Discuss how you go about researching, organizing and presenting information. Consider the needs of your target audiance and how the documents you have prepared have produced measurable benefits for the organization.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What to do you think qualifies you for this job?
Hint:  How well the applicant fits with the needs of the employer. If hired, will there be a need for additional training? Does the applicant have special skills that should be considered? Discuss your skills as they relate to the requirements of the new job.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  How do you think work in the private sector will differ from your work in the military?
Hint:  Recognition of different work cultures between military and non-military organizations. In most situations, non-military organizations will be less structured, have less formalized use of chains-of-command, and be more accepting of independent thinking. This can vary a lot and will depend upon individual circumstances and the job you are applying for.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  What do you think are the most important characteristics and abilities a person must possess to be successful in this job? How do you rate yourself in these areas?
Hint:  Job insight and evaluation of current skills. Think about the most important aspects of the job before answering this question. Give answers that relate to the job and that you have performed well in yourself.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  How have you adjusted your approach to others in order to become better accepted in your work setting?
Hint:  Willingness and ability to adjust behavior based upon the work environment. The primary focus of this question revolves around teamwork and your ability to be an effective member of the team. Discuss how you develop trust, cooperation, and communication among team members.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: Do you have a business card I can take with me?
Hint:  If available, always take one of the interviewer's business cards. You will find it handy for verifying contact information and preparing a thank-you letter.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How do you manage and control your department's operations?
Hint:  Scope of authority and management processes used. Talk about ways you monitor activities, reports you receive, goals you set and monitor, measurements of activities, assistance you receive from subordinates, etc.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  You seem to know a lot about [a particular subject]; how did you learn it all?
Hint:  Learning style, interests, and initiative. Let the interviewer know how you approach the learning process and what motivates you to become an expert in certain areas. Discuss how this trait will be applied to the new job.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  If you needed to get off the phone, how would you terminate a call from a talkative/upset customer?
Hint:  Appropriateness of the applicant's approach in dealing with stressful encounters and techniques used to resolve customer issues. Consider providing examples of past approaches you have taken and how they worked well for you.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  How do you demonstrate self-confidence when speaking in front of a group of people?
Hint:  Assessment of public speaking skills and techniques. Discuss your use of voice, body language, eye contact, gestures, etc. as tools to convey confidence to a group.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  How would you rate your interpersonal skills? Can you give me some examples?
Hint:  General overview of self-assessment as it relates to interpersonal relationships. The ability to work effectively as a team member is a valued trait. Discuss how you have worked effectively with others in the past and give some examples of success stories.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Why are you interested in working for this company?
Hint:  How well the applicant evaluated the company before applying for a position. Is the company special in the eyes of the applicant, or just a place of possible employment? Show that you have taken the initiative to learn about the organization and that you are a good fit.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Describe your past and current involvement in managing/controlling expenses within your department.
Hint:  Ability to control expenses. Most organizations view the control of expenses as very important. Discuss ways you have saved the organization money, avoided financial risk, conserved on supplies, improved productivity, etc.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What particular strengths did you bring to your last position that made you effective?
Hint:  Basic skills inventory and how the skills relate to success on the job. Discuss a strength that demonstrates your ability to perform the essential elements of the new job. Give an example or two of how you have used that strength to achieve success in the past.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about an experience in your last job when you felt you were especially good in dealing with people.
Hint:  Human relations skills and matters that provide personal satisfaction. Questions about interpersonal relations are fairly common. It helps to prepare a general response that includes an example or two ahead of time. Talk about how you resolved a conflict and the lessons you learned in the process.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  If a customer was using abusive language, how would you handle it?
Hint:  Ability to manage conflict, overall people skills, and problem solving ability. Discuss how you use your listening skills, empathy, etc. Talk about techniques for calming the customer.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  Tell me about your current/past compensation package.
Hint:  Types and level of compensation. Salary versus incentive payments, etc. Usually, it is best to discuss your current/past compensation package in general terms. The interviewer will ask for additional specifics, if needed.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of your ability to be a self-starter.
Hint:  Ability to identify needs in a timely manner and take the initiative to address them. Give an example or two of how you take the initiative to identify needs and address them without needing input or direction from others.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   Management

Question:  What elements are most important to your job satisfaction and that of your subordinates?
Hint:  Compatibility between personal and subordinate job satisfaction. It is a good idea to have job satisfiers in sync between the manager and their staff. The most important ones should be in sync with the requirements of the job and the needs of the organization.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  What schools did you attend ... what degrees/certificates/diplomas did you earn?
Hint:  Verification of educational background. As with any question that asks for general information, try to include some additional information that will help make you stand out from other candidates. For example, you might discuss special recognition you received, unique activities you participated in, etc.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  Do you prefer working alone, as part of a team, or leading a team?
Hint:  Work preferences as it relates to the job in order to determine if there is a good match. Does the job you are applying for require individual or team effort? Are there leadership opportunities? Answer this question in the context of the job you are applying for.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of a situation in which you had to deal with an upset customer or co-worker.
Hint:  The ability to successfully resolve conflict. Within the context of the new position, consider how you might explore both sides of an issue, listen empathize and work toward a win/win resolution. Discuss a process you would likely follow and successes you may have had in the past.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How do you get your staff to focus on those issues and processes that are most important to the company's success?
Hint:  Planning, motivating and goal setting skills and experience. Discuss how you develop, communicate, execute, and monitor goals and objectives that support the company's strategies. Talk about how you reinforce your team's focus on what is important to the company.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  Have you been involved in public speaking or made verbal presentations to groups or other organizations? Explain.
Hint:  Communication skills and ability to confidently present in front of groups of people. Public speaking skills can be an important part of the job. If so, give examples of the types of public speaking engagements you've been involved in and the types and size of audiences you've spoken to.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   Management

Question:  APPLICANT: What was the reason the previous manager left this position?
Hint:  This question can provide clues about the organization's management culture, internal promotion policy, politics, performance issues, re-engineering needs, etc.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   Management

Question:  APPLICANT: How many people/departments/division, etc. will report to me?
Hint:  Background on the scope of the job. Job scope and reporting relationships will help define level of responsibility. Scope will also help focus your responses to other questions; especially when discussing accomplishments in similar roles.

Category:  ReferencesType:   General

Question:  How well did your references know you?
Hint:  Verification of getting references from people that know the applicant well. Interviewers may be skeptical of references that know you too well or appear to be friends in addition to having a professional relationship. Ideally, your references will know you well enough to give an informed reference, but not be perceived as a friend that might embellish your capabilities.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  Describe your view of good customer service.
Hint:  Perception and attitude toward customer service, and general knowledge of what defines good customer service. Be sure to relate your view of good customer service to the kind of work required in the new job and the types of customers that will be served.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  Are you satisfied with your career progression so far?
Hint:  Check of career aspirations versus reality. Reasons for unmet expectations, if any. Be sure your career progression expectations are within reasonable norms for the types of positions you have had. Discuss why or why you are not satisfied with your career progression so far.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  Describe how you would approach your first 90-days on the job.
Hint:  Vision of the future, work style, planning and organization skills. This is normally a period of getting oriented to the organization and learning from others. Discuss how you would develop relationships with fellow staff members, how you would learn from their experience, identify a mentor, etc.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures to avoid the problems.
Hint:  The ability to recognize and proactively avoid problems is a valued skill. Describe how you had the foresight or did advance work to prepare for a situation and how that effort paid off in avoiding problems that would have otherwise occurred.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  How do you establish rapport with others you work with?
Hint:  Understanding of workplace people skills, and building and managing relationships. The interviewer will be interested in how you get to know people, what techniques you use to establish a good working relationship, social skills you use at work, activities you participate in, etc.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  How do you prioritize your daily work tasks?
Hint:  Organizational ability and techniques for prioritizing and managing day-to-day work. Discuss how you identify and plan each day's activities based upon departmental priorities to be sure the most important ones receive the greatest attention.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  Are there any situations where you feel it is appropriate to bypass your supervisor and go directly to their boss?
Hint:  Perception of the applicant's ability to manage conflict and make decisions based upon valid criteria. Discuss circumstances under which you might bypass your supervisor and how you would go about making that decision.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  What is it you have going for you that might make you successful in the job you're applying for?
Hint:  Opportunity for the applicant to sell themselves and highlight their strengths. This is an open-ended opportunity to focus on a particular strength that would strongly influence the interviewer about your suitability for the job. Use the Skill Inventory Form for ideas in this regard.

Category:  MilitaryType:   Management

Question:  You had a lot of leadership experience in the military. How would you describe your leadership style?
Hint:  Exploring how your military leadership skills will fit in the civilian world. Civilian leadership tends to be far less autocratic than military leadership. Explain your understanding of the differences and how you are confident in your abilities to fit your leadership style to the management culture of the civilian organization.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about yourself?
Hint:  Determine overall fit for the job. Listen to how well the candidate presents themselves, and get a first impression of the candidate's qualifications. Prepare in advance a two to three minute overview of your background and experience as it relates to the job you are applying for.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   Management

Question:  What kinds of things do you do to mentor your subordinates?
Hint:  Management style and personal commitment to developing staff. Staff development helps the employee and the employer. Discuss your philosophy on staff development and how mentorship fits into that philosophy. Talk about how you select staff for mentorship and what kinds of things you do to mentor them. Also discuss how you measure their progress.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   Management

Question:  Did you interview and hire your own staff? If so, did you have the final say on who was hired in your department/unit?
Hint:  Degree of authority for hire/fire decisions. An important part of management is the ability to select and develop members of your team. Lack of hiring or firing ability usually indicates minimal management authority.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   Management

Question:  How do you handle employees who are chronically late or absent?
Hint:  The interviewer is interested in how you handle important, but sensitive management issues. Some considerations are corrective actions taken, assistance offered to employees with problems, cost containment for the company, morale among other employees, and similar impacts. Try to demonstrate a logical and progressive path to correcting such problems.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  Which of your traits or qualities do you feel could be strengthened or improved upon?
Hint:  Identification of possible short-comings or incompatibilities with the job. Consider picking a trait or quality that is minimally related to the needs of the job. You can also pick a trait that you are fairly strong in and talk about how you are always trying to improve upon it.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  How would you handle a phone call from an upset customer?
Hint:  Appropriateness of the applicant's approach in dealing with stressful encounters and techniques used to resolve customer issues. Discuss phone skills that have worked well for you in the past.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What is your weakest point and what have you done to overcome it?
Hint:  How the applicant overcame a weakness and might have turned it into a strength. If possible, talk about a weakness you had early in your career and how you have since developed skills and experience that turned that weakness into a strength. Give an example to validate your statement.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  Give an example of your ability to complete a difficult project satisfactorily, despite unfavorable odds. What did you learn from that experience?
Hint:  Project management, overcoming adversity, creativity, innovation and job growth. Describe the project and the difficulties you had to overcome. Talk about how you addressed and overcame the difficulties, the techniques you used, the resources deployed, and the outcome you achieved. Discuss any lessons learned from this experience and how your knowledge could be applied to the new job.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  If I asked you to prepare a report on "XYZ," how would you go about it and how long do you think it would take?
Hint:  Organization of work, vision of the finished product, and relative measure of efficiency. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you feel you need additional information. Utilizing your past experience as a guide, discuss the relative scope and content of the report you envision, and then provide your best guess on how long it would take to complete.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  If there is an aspect of the salary, benefits, or working conditions that are non-negotiable for you, what are they?
Hint:  Screen for issues that could eliminate the applicant from consideration for the job. It is not normally a good idea to be non-negotiable on any particular aspect of the job. Try for a win-win attitude.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  Describe your experience with quality audits and how you use audit findings to improve quality standards.
Hint:  Discuss the types of quality audits you have either been involved in or conducted yourself. Describe components of a quality audit that you thinks are especially important. Also, discuss how you have used audit findings to make overall improvements to the quality assurance program, including how you communicate findings to important stakeholders.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How do you assure your efforts are consistent with the organization's strategic plans or direction?
Hint:  Planning and organizing skills and strategic focus. Discuss how you evaluate the organization's strategic needs and focus your strategies on tactics or matters that support those needs. Discuss how you develop your plans and communicate them to your staff.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  Think about something that you consider a failure in your business life, and tell me why you think it occurred and how it might have been avoided.
Hint:  Self-assessment, personal insight, and ability to learn from mistakes. Minimize the failure aspect of this question, while showing you are always looking for ways to improve how you do things. Ideally, see if you can come up with an example of something that worked out fairly well in the past, but could have had a much better outcome if you had a chance to do it over again.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about a job or project you have had that required long hours. How did you feel about it?
Hint:  Willingness to work extended hours. Many employers have special projects or busy times that require extra effort by employees in order to complete a big project, fill a large order, etc. They normally want to hire employees that are willing to pitch in when those needs occur. If you have examples of times you've worked extra hours, talk about them.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  Describe your public speaking style?
Hint:  Important if part of the job. Communication skills and self-confidence, and ability to connect with the audience. Do you add humor to your presentations, is audience participation important, what kind of visual aids do you use, do you use tone or volume to emphasize points, etc?

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  Describe how you've handled a past problem with a co-worker.
Hint:  Insight into problem-solving ability and people-skills. It is usually best to give an example of how you have utilized team-working skills to create a better work environment for all parties involved. If you have mentored a fellow employee, this can demonstrate your abilities to work effectively as part of a team.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  What kinds of things do you do to assure high quality results in your job?
Hint:  Orientation toward measuring and maintaining high levels of quality. Discuss quality management techniques you utilize, and how you measure results in order to verify the quality of outcomes.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  Describe the three most important characteristics you would like to see in the next company you work for.
Hint:  Attempt to match desired characteristics with the actual characteristics of the organization in order to determine compatibility. Try to relate your answer to characteristics that the new organization has. Do some research on the Internet ahead of time so you have a good understanding of how the new organization differs from its competition.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  What is your current salary?
Hint:  Indication of relative level of compensation needed for a competitive offer. As long as your current salary is within a reasonable norm for the job you are applying for, simply tell the interviewer. If it is outside the norm, follow up with an explanation. Applicants have been known to embellish their salary claims. Some employers will ask for verification.

Category:  ReferencesType:   General

Question:  When we call, what will your previous employers say about your job performance?
Hint:  Indication of other's perception about one's work habits. Discuss your overall job performance. If appropriate, you might relate your job performance to performance appraisal scores, or other forms of job performance recognition.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  How long will it take you to make a measurable contribution to our organization?
Hint:  Self-confidence and vision of the future. The sooner you can become a productive member of the team, the better. Discuss how you would approach the new job in such a way that measurable contributions could be expected very quickly. Focus on the important aspects of the job from the employer's perspective.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   Management

Question:  As a manager, how do you motivate your staff?
Hint:  Leadership ability and the skills necessary to get people working toward a common goal. Discuss your management philosophy as it relates to motivating and leading staff. Discuss motivational techniques you have used in the past, and provide an example or two, if possible, of past successes.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   Management

Question:  How would you deal with an employee who is afraid to make routine decisions about their job?
Hint:  Interpersonal relations, mentoring skills, staff development, and empowerment. Discuss the steps you'd take to identify the problem and the techniques you'd use to resolve it. If possible, give examples of past successes in this area.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  What do you consider your single most important idea or accomplishment in your last job?
Hint:  Creativity, innovation and problem solving. Past accomplishments are very good indicators of future performance. Always prepare ahead of time a few noteworthy accomplishments that you can discuss with the interviewer. Discussion of your accomplishments is appropriate for many types of interview questions so plan accordingly.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   Management

Question:  Do you conduct formal or ad-hoc staff meetings? Describe a typical meeting.
Hint:  Communication, management style, and organization skills. Discuss how you organize and conduct meetings. For example, is there usually an agenda, how well do you stick to an agenda, do you do most of the talking or are your meetings interactive, are your meetings fairly formal or informal, etc?

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  In your military career, what knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences would you say are most valuable?
Hint:  Testing alignment with the open position. Relate your answer to the key duties and responsibilities of the open position. Avoid military jargon in your answer. Discuss things you learned and how you would apply that knowledge on the job. Think about special accomplishments or results you achieved that can be related to the civilian work you would do in the new job.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   Management

Question:  How do you handle day-to-day communications with staff/co-workers/subordinates/superiors? Are you satisfied with this communication process?
Hint:  Communication ability and interpersonal relations. Discuss the types of communication processes you utilize for various employee groups, departments, etc., as well as frequency and media utilized.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Describe a time when you identified a potential problem and developed preventive measures.
Hint:  Ability to think strategically and be proactive. Consider the types of issues likely to be encountered by the organization and cover similar issues. Describe how you have been proactive in reviewing past challenges and the approach you take to mitigate potential problems.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Describe a person with whom you had a difficult time building trust and what techniques you used to build an effective working relationship with that person.
Hint:  Behavioral questions seek information about how you have personally dealt with situations in the past. Describe behaviors that you utilized to successfully deal with interpersonal relationships. Demonstrate how your "people skills" have been effectively utilized to solve real world work issues.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  Compared to others, do you feel you are a good employee? Please explain.
Hint:  Self-ranking provides insight into a person's perception of their skills and their value to the employer. Be prepared to give an example or two of how you stand out from other applicants. Discuss aspects of your background that help support your view.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  Do you feel you get adequate recognition for the work you do? Explain.
Hint:  Personal need for job recognition and degree of work that warranted recognition. If you have been recognized for good work in the past, give as many examples as seems appropriate. However, avoid giving the impression that you need lots of recognition in order to be motivated to do a good job.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Take the most complicated concept in your field and describe it to me in a way that is easy for someone without your expertise to understand.
Hint:  This examines your thought processes and communication skills. Avoid use of acronyms or jargon and convert each step of the concept you are describing into logical and sequential elements. Try to avoid long answers if excess information complicates the concept.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  How has your military experience prepared you for this job?
Hint:  Basic qualifications and screening for the particular job. Within the context of the open position, share some examples of things you learned and applied during your military experiences. Relate your answer to how you will apply your experience to various aspects of the job. Think about things like motivating employees, using teamwork, focusing on goals, managing resources, measuring results, etc. Keep your discussion to things that are relevant to the job.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   Management

Question:  Have you ever fired an employee, and if so, how do you handle employee terminations?
Hint:  Handling of sensitive and difficult tasks. Experience in employee relations. Try to demonstrate the use of a logical and fair process in the handling of employee terminations. Consider questions such as was the employee made aware of their performance problem, did they understand the consequences of failure to improve, did they have the training and support they needed, and when fired, did the process enable them to retain their dignity?

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What do you feel are some of the best work-related qualities and traits you possess?
Hint:  Job-related strong points that apply to the job. Think about qualities or traits you are most proud of and discuss them in the context of the job you are applying for. For example, are you very focused, goal-oriented, hard working, loyal, committed, customer-oriented, quality conscious, innovative, creative, cost-conscious, etc? See the list of Personal Characteristics Words in the Tools section for additional ideas.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  What kinds of things do you feel most confident in doing?
Hint:  Comfort level on the job. Areas of greatest skill or experience. Try to focus your answer on things you do that would have the greatest impact on the success of the job you are applying for. You might be able to fit in more than one thing by saying you have two that you feel equally confident in doing.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  Note: Be sure to see the military transition document in the resources area of this website.
Hint:  You will find helpful hints about what to expect regarding interest in your military experience.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  How do you think your education prepared you to take on this job?
Hint:  Understanding of relevant areas of study and how they can be related to requirements of the job. Talk about the types of courses that you think helped prepare you the most. You can also discuss how various activities, committees, and school projects may have helped you.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What is your strongest skill and how has it helped you succeed?
Hint:  How the applicant might apply their strongest skill to be successful in the job. Discuss a skill that would be important in the new job. Give an example or two of how you have used that skill to achieve success in the past.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  Outside of your formal education, what training have you had to improve you skills?
Hint:  Initiative in continuing one's learning experience and their interest in improving skills. We all continue to learn as a result of life experience. Discuss any aspect of your life that has helped you, as well as things like reading, hobbies, peer activities, personal interests, etc., that you can relate to the needs of the new job.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Describe a time when you were given a project without much direction, and describe the steps you took to assure successful implementation of the project.
Hint:  This question will test your ability to deal with ambiguity. As you describe your personal situation, think about things you did to learn background information and details that enabled you to organize and plan a successful implementation of your project.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   Management

Question:  What do you consider to be your greatest managerial strength/weakness?
Hint:  Strengths and weaknesses that can impact job performance and managerial ability. When discussing your strength, think about the most important management trait required in the new job and try to relate your strength to that trait. Minimize the discussion of any weakness and avoid discussing any weakness that relates to an essential element of the new job.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  Do you foresee any challenges as you transition to civilian employment?
Hint:  Exploration of potential difficulties. Alleviate any concerns the interviewer may have about your ability to make the transition. Acknowledge your awareness of differences between military and civilian employment. If appropriate, discuss previous civilian employment experience. Focus on skills such as motivating people, managing difficult issues, developing teamwork, problem-solving, being cost conscious and similar skills.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  How would you describe your ideal career position?
Hint:  Match between the applicant's ideal position and the position they are applying for. Potential for job satisfaction and professional growth. Identification of tasks and duties the applicant likes doing vs. those required in the new job.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  Did you work while going to school? If so, what sort of jobs did you have while you were in school?
Hint:  Ability to handle multiple challenges. Motivations and interests. Talk about your jobs as a learning experience and how your various jobs helped prepare you for the work ahead. Discuss the various skills you developed and how you can apply them to the job you are applying for.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  How do you handle unhappy or angry customers?
Hint:  Interpersonal relationships, managing conflict, and willingness to listen and empathize with customers. Discuss your overall customer relations skills and give some examples of how you have effectively handled unhappy or angry customers.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  Have you ever worked extra-long hours on a regular basis? How do you feel about working extended hours?
Hint:  Willingness to put in extra effort to get the job done. This is probably a hint that the job requires working long hours from time-to-time. The interviewer will be looking for an answer that confirms a willingness to work extended hours. Examples of working long hours in the past can be helpful.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Give me three words that best describe you as an employee.
Hint:  Applicant's self-perception and how that perception relates to the requirements of the job. Overall match of personality and work traits with company needs.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What will you be remembered for most in your last job?
Hint:  Noteworthy achievements or outcomes that might be indicators of future success on the new job. Try to think of a special achievement or recognition for something you did that you can relate to the requirements of the new job. You might also talk about your reputation for outstanding performance in some area such as quality, customer service, cost containment, creativity, teamwork, etc.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  Do you think you'll need new skills or competencies to do this job now and in the future?
Hint:  Evaluation of applicant's understanding of their job and the skills needed to perform it, now and in the future. This question helps discover the applicant's knowledge about how the job is evolving and what skills will be needed to keep up with changes.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  How do you keep organized in your job?
Hint:  Techniques for prioritizing and managing work. Discuss how you plan your work days, goals you set, techniques for managing various tasks, ways you track your progress, etc.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  What are some of the things your current/past company might have done to be more successful?
Hint:  Vision and understanding of the job and company. Avoid being overly critical of a past employer. There may be very good reasons for the way they conducted business. Discuss areas of potential improvement in the context of the job you are applying for. For example, if customer service is a key element of the new job, you might discuss some ideas on how customer service could have been improved in your current/past company.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Describe some of the most important projects you have worked on.
Hint:  Identification of the size and scope of past projects the applicant has experience with. This question will help the interviewer judge whether your past experience with projects meets or exceeds the scope of projects that are required in the new job. Discuss important projects you've worked on and explain how the activities, tasks, or responsibilities you had could be applied to the new job. Also, discuss how they contributed to the achievement of important organizational goals.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  Tell me about some of the techniques you used to handle a past issue with an irate customer.
Hint:  Demonstration of putting job knowledge and experience to work in managing real-life situations. Give an example of a past experience that turned out to have a positive outcome.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How do you decide what to delegate and to whom when it comes to important tasks or projects?
Hint:  Management style, willingness to delegate and empowerment. Discuss how you identify resource needs and delegate tasks to those resources. Also, talk about how you select and develop the resources necessary within your span of control to meet the demands of the job.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: Is there anything else I can tell you that would help you make an informed hiring decision?
Hint:  This is an opportunity for the applicant to see if there are an lingering questions by the interviewer. It can also provide an opening for highlighting skills or qualifications.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  In your career, which position gave you the most satisfaction?
Hint:  The interviewer is examining how close your past work preferences match the requirements of the job. To the extent you can, try to relate past preferences for work with the new job you are applying for. Give some examples of parallel activities that you particularly enjoy.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  How do you work with others when you have a complex problem to solve?
Hint:  Teamwork and leadership ability. Describe your approach to solving complex problems. Discuss the analysis, planning, and execution of your approach, including how you involve others and any techniques you use to encourage good teamwork among those working with you.

Category:  QualityType:   Management

Question:  What kinds of skills and traits do you look for when hiring staff that report to you?
Hint:  View of skills and traits that lead to success. To the extent it is reasonable to do so, discuss skills or traits that are consistent with those that are required for the new job. Be sure to discuss the importance of hiring quality staff and their role in your overall success.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  How would your manager describe your analytical skills?
Hint:  Assessment of the view others have of the applicant. Try to think of a recent assignment or project you worked on for your manager that required the use of your analytical and problem solving abilities. Discuss your analytical abilities using that recent experience as an example.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  Do you think the amount of time you held your last job was about right, too long, or too short? Why?
Hint:  Perception of personal growth and initiative. This will test your view of your past career advancement and give hints about expectations for the future. Interviewers are often concerned about the potential that a newly hired employee will only stay with the organization for a short period of time.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  If given a major assignment that is totally new to you, how would you go about doing it?
Hint:  Creativity, research and effective utilization of resources. Show how you can utilize past experiences as a guide to taking on new challenges. Discuss how you would utilize your research and analytical abilities to learn about the new assignment, and follow through to a successful outcome.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  How do you go about the process of establishing goals for yourself, and how do you measure yourself against those goals?
Hint:  Planning and implementation skills, and setting criteria to measure success. Do you use the organization's goals as a starting point, how do you assure your goals are consistent with the organization's needs, do you review your goals with your manager, are you able to quantify measures of success for your goals, who measures your success, etc?

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   Management

Question:  How do you prefer to handle day-to-day interactions with your subordinates?
Hint:  Management style, communication, and empowerment. The interviewer may also be seeking information about your compatibility with the existing management culture. If you have some familiarity with the management culture of the organization, try to answer this question within that context. Stress your communication skills and talk about accomplishments that validate your answers.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  If I spoke to your present manager, what would he/she say are your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses?
Hint:  Reality check of skills inventory and self-perception of strengths and weaknesses. Generally, your manager's perception of your strengths and weaknesses should be fairly close to your own perceptions. Focus on strengths and minimize the discussion of weaknesses.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: What are the next steps in the selection process?
Hint:  This question will help you understand the hiring process and prepare for contingencies such as reference checks, pre-employment physicals, drug screening tests, additional interviews, etc.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  What do you think would be the most significant pluses and minuses of the job you are applying for?
Hint:  The interviewer is likely going to press you to discuss both the pluses and minuses, so you probably won't be able to avoid a complete answer. However, it is worth a try brushing past the minus issue by saying you really don't see any negative aspects. As a rule, you want to minimize any minuses you discuss, and emphasize the pluses. Try to cover pluses that are key elements of the job. Any minuses you mention should not be key elements of the job.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   Management

Question:  What would you do if one of your subordinates said he/she was out to get your job?
Hint:  Self-confidence, willingness to develop, mentor, and support subordinate staff. Most interviewers would expect managers to want their subordinates to grow and advance within the organization. As staff gain new skills, they eventually are capable of moving into higher level positions. This enables their managers to advance as well.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What do you view as your most outstanding quality?
Hint:  Applicant's perception of the most important attribute they would bring to the job. Think about qualities that would be important to your success in the new job and focus in that area.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  What would your past employers say about your work habits and punctuality?
Hint:  A self-assessment of past performance. Employers know there is risk in hiring people who are not dependable. They will be looking for signs of past problems in this area. Discuss any aspects of your background that would assure them of your strong work ethic and dependability. They might also ask if past employers would validate your self-assessment. What would they find out if they asked this question of your current or past supervisor?

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  Are you familiar with contemporary management theories regarding quality management? Explain.
Hint:  Knowledge of quality and general management theory. Discuss your background and experience in implementing or working with quality-based programs.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  How do you feel about overtime work?
Hint:  Commitment to the job and employer. Employers generally will favor an applicant who is willing to put in extra effort to get the job done.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  Describe your work habits and how you organize your daily work.
Hint:  General work habits and organizational traits. Do you start each day with a plan or goal? How do you prioritize your work? What things do you do first, etc?

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What do you think is your greatest strength?
Hint:  Understand the applicant's perception of their greatest strength and whether it fits with the needs of the job. Discuss your strength as it relates to the requirement of the new job and give examples, if possible.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: How would you describe the culture of this organization?
Hint:  Cultural fit is important for the employer and employee. If the culture is consistent with your own needs and preferences, explain areas of greatest compatibility. Help the interviewer see how you would be a great fit.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Give an in-depth (beginning-to-end) description of two or three major accomplishments.
Hint:  Depth-of-knowledge, verification of skills and organization of work. This question can be asked in may ways, hence it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time to discuss your most noteworthy accomplishments. To the extent possible, relate the accomplishments to the kinds of work you would be doing in the new job, if hired.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  What kind of management traits do you prefer in a boss?
Hint:  Hints at compatibility with a potential new boss. Because you don't know the personal management traits of the new boss, avoid being perceived as overly negative. It usually helps to discuss your ability to work effectively with supervisors of varying management styles.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  What do you see as your biggest motivator?
Hint:  Motivations must be acceptable and compatible with the business needs of the organization. Think about aspects of the new job that are important to the organization. For example, if customer satisfaction is an important aspect of the job, a high level of customer satisfaction might be a good choice as a motivator for you.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about your previous boss and what you liked and disliked about him/her.
Hint:  Preferences for the type of person the applicant will report to. How well the applicant's preferences match the attributes of their prospective new manager. The level of management direction the applicant might require.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Describe the size and role of the department you worked in.
Hint:  Attempt to understand the size, scope, and role of the department and how it might compare to the department you would work in if hired. This can also identify possible inconsistencies between stated job titles and actual accountabilities. You want to make the interviewer comfortable about your knowledge and experience as they relate to the activities of the department.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  What are your three strongest skills or competencies?
Hint:  Matching the applicant's skills with the needs of the job. Focus on skills or competencies that relate to the new job. Try to talk about a skill that will help differentiate you from other applicants. Review your Skill Inventory Form for ideas on how to answer this question.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  Tell me some specific things in your past experiences that affected your present career objectives?
Hint:  Insight into factors that influence decisions and assist in setting goals. Discuss what you have learned from others you've worked with, as well as your past successes and failures. It's OK to discuss failures as long as you can show you have learned from them and become a better employee as a result.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   Management

Question:  When making decisions, do you like your subordinates to present you with lots of data and research first, or do you prefer summary information?
Hint:  Management style, decision-making process and ability. This question can tell the interviewer a lot about how people go about making management decisions. The preferred answer will depend largely upon the type and level of position. By necessity, some positions must depend upon a great deal of detail. Higher-level positions, however, normally depend upon subordinates to handle the details, hence only require summary information for decision-making purposes.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  Are you responsible for making presentations to internal or external audiences?
Hint:  Experience and confidence in public speaking abilities. If you have experience in this area, discuss it. Presenting to others is a good skill to have. If you don't have specific experience in this area, discuss experiences that are similar such as giving instructions to other staff, mentoring, training, interactions with the public, etc.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: How long will my application be kept on file, and what is the best way to keep your records current if I have changes in my resume?
Hint:  Many employers will keep an application on file for several months. However, in some cases, as time passes the application files get stale and may not be as active as they once were. It is a good idea to periodically update your resume and resubmit it.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  How do you think your customers would describe the service you provided?
Hint:  Interpersonal relationship and attitude toward customer service. As you discuss the perceptions of your customers, you will be more convincing if you can discuss examples of the kind of service you provided.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How do you plan and prioritize the daily work of your subordinates?
Hint:  Ability to plan and organize based upon priorities, timelines, and organizational needs. Discuss how you establish workload activities and communicate them to your staff. Are your daily tasks based upon the organization's strategic needs or some other criteria?

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   Management

Question:  How much direction do you give when handing out assignments to your staff?
Hint:  Communication skills and level of empowerment granted to subordinates. Do you give detailed instructions on how to complete an assignment or more of an overview along with a description of desired outcomes? How do you track and measure the results of the direction you give?

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   Management

Question:  If an employee came to you with a personal problem that was affecting their job, how would you handle it?
Hint:  Sensitivity, concern for employee needs versus needs of the employer, and confidentiality issues. Demonstrate your ability to support the needs of your employees while fulfilling your primary obligation to the employer. Discuss any processes or programs you might utilize, e.g., the employer's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help the employee get through their personal problem.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to convince someone to see things your way.
Hint:  A test of your reasoning, communication and leadership abilities. Think about ways you may have considered multiple points of view, listened to others, then used empathy and reasoning to gain consensus.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What would you say was the biggest failure in your career?
Hint:  The applicant's perception of a past problem or mistake. How large was the mistake, was it avoidable, and what did the applicant do to mitigate the problem. Has the applicant learned from the experience?

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  How would you deal with a supervisor who treated you harshly for no apparent reason?
Hint:  Ability to deal appropriately with a difficult and sensitive situation. Think about how you would react. Would you conduct a self-evaluation of your performance, discuss your concerns directly with your supervisor, take other steps, do all of the above?

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: Are there issues in this job that need immediate attention?
Hint:  Helps demonstrate your interest in solving problems for the organization. This question gives you an opportunity to discuss how you would use your skills and knowledge to solve an existing problem. It gives you a chance to show the immediate value you would bring to the job.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  Describe a situation where you had to persuade a manager or executive to increase their focus on quality assurance activities.
Hint:  Quality assurance knowledge and communication skills. Demonstrate your ability to convince others of the importance of quality and how higher levels of quality can benefit the organization. Discuss your technique and talk about how you accomplished your goal of improving quality.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  When in college, what made you select the major you chose and when did you settle on it?
Hint:  How focused was the applicant and for how long did the applicant focus on a particular course of study. Discuss the major you chose and how it enabled you to pursue your current career interest. Demonstrate that you had a plan and followed through on it.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  Do you plan to continue your education (get a degree, higher degree, certificate, etc.)?
Hint:  Career goals, self-improvement and motivation. Continuing your education shows an interest in self-improvement and personal motivation. Try to relate your continuing education to a desire to hone your skills and enable you to advance your career with the new company.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  Did you ever consider making a career of the military service? Explain your decision.
Hint:  Reason for leaving and preferences for the future. The interviewer will be looking for clues as to the applicant's career preferences and any parallels that apply to their military career. Be prepared to discuss what challenges you are looking forward to in the public/private sector.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  Do you prepare work-plans, goals, objectives, etc. to help you perform better?
Hint:  Planning and goal orientation, and general knowledge of planning concepts. Discuss formal or informal ways in which you plan and organize your day-to-day work and how you stay focused on longer-term work objectives.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  If you were responsible for organizing and conducting a meeting, how would you go about it?
Hint:  Organization and planning skills. Interacting with others. Walk the interviewer through the process from start to finish and explain the details of key steps.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   Management

Question:  Please describe your management style?
Hint:  General management style and how you lead and motivate people. This is one of the most common management questions and you should prepare ahead of time to answer it. Try to get hints ahead of time about the organization's management culture and answer the question in that context. You might talk about how you feel about communication, empowerment, teamwork, goal-orientation, etc.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   Management

Question:  How important do you think planning is in this job and why?
Hint:  Relative importance of planning and how it relates to effective performance of the job. Discuss the importance of planning in maintaining organizational focus and achieving the organization's goals.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  How do you optimize your time on the phone when dealing with customers/prospects?
Hint:  Does the applicant have knowledge and experience in the effective utilization of phone skills or techniques? Think about past situations where you used your skills to achieve positive outcomes.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  Give me three adjectives that best describe you.
Hint:  An adjective is a word that expresses an attribute of something. The interviewer will be looking for adjectives compatible with the requirements of the job. Evaluate the primary attributes of the job and think about descriptive terms that apply. They should match closely to the requirements of the job. This is a common interview question so think about your answer before you go to the interview. See Personal Characteristic Words in the Tools section for ideas.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  What do you find most frustrating in a job?
Hint:  Clues about possible job match problems, and the applicant's problem resolution skills. If possible, discuss a frustration that the employer is likely to agree with. For example, frustration with employees who take too much sick time and don't carry their share of the workload. Be careful not to come across as overly negative.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  In what ways has your supervisor helped you to further develop your capabilities?
Hint:  Interactions and support from a superior. Your ability to observe, learn, and emulate the skills of others can be important. Discuss direct and indirect learning experiences you have had with your supervisor. If appropriate, you can also discuss what you have learned not to do as a result of observations, etc., however, avoid being overly critical of others.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of how you would go about analyzing and solving a complex problem.
Hint:  Organization and analysis of complex issues. Discuss how you approach complex problems. Describe the analysis, planning, organizing, execution, testing, and measurements of success you utilize.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   Management

Question:  What kinds of management development or training programs have you attended during the past two years?
Hint:  Nature of recent training and attitude toward continuing education and professional growth. You want to show that you view continuing education as an important aspect of your career. In addition to any management development or training programs, talk about books, professional journals, association meetings, etc. that have helped you stay current in your profession.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   Management

Question:  Have you ever reported directly to a board of directors (management committee, etc.)? If so, how did you handle board/management relations?
Hint:  Interactions and comfort level when dealing with top management. Demonstrate through example or otherwise your abilities to work with top level management. Discuss interactions and communication strategies that are consistent with the requirements of the new job.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  If you could add a particular skill or experience to you background, what would it be? Why?
Hint:  Analysis of current skills inventory and identification of areas for improvement. It is better to talk about enhancing a skill or experience than to add to them. Be sure you don't give the impression you aren't qualified to perform the essential duties of the job you are applying for.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  What was your most significant academic achievement?
Hint:  Special accomplishments or scholastic effort. Don't focus solely on grades when it comes to academic achievement. In addition to grades, you should consider scholastic activities, special projects, published works, areas of research, etc.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  Tell me about a situation involving conflict that you feel you handled especially well.
Hint:  Conflict resolution abilities and interpersonal skills. Demonstrate the ability to work well with people and effectively manage conflict. Discuss how you utilize communication, empathy, listening skills, etc. to arrive at a win/win resolution.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Describe how you plan your days and what a typical day on the job looks like.
Hint:  Work traits and overview of job. Demonstrate your organizational and follow-up skills by giving some examples. If you have ways you measure the success of each day, mention those as well. Try to relate your answer to the kinds of organizational processes that would be required in the new job.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  What would you do if a customer started yelling at you while you were doing work for them at their business/home/etc?
Hint:  Managing stress, interpersonal relations and problem-solving skills. Discuss how you would use your listening skills, empathy, etc., and discuss techniques for calming the customer.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of how you have used formal documentation to improve quality standards.
Hint:  Scope and depth of quality-related documentation as a tool for improving quality. Discuss the importance of documentation as both a reference for users and as a communication tool. Demonstrate your knowledge about preparing and disseminating quality assurance information.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  How would you describe your phone skills?
Hint:  Testing of knowledge of proper phone etiquette and how well skills are applied on the job. Where possible, give an example of how you have utilzed your skills to achieve positive outcomes.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: What other departments, regions, divisions, etc. will this position interface with?
Hint:  Looks beyond immediate job functions and helps underscore the value of cooperative working relationships. It can be helpful to emphasize how you value working relationships in getting optimal results. If possible, talk about a past success that came as a result of close cooperation with other departments, etc.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   Management

Question:  Tell me about the most difficult management decision you've ever had to make and how you handled it.
Hint:  Assessment of management skills and the level of difficulty encountered. Discuss the management decision with the job you are applying for in mind. Try to relate your experience to the new job and how you might handle things if faced with the same challenge again.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  How do you deal with difficult people?
Hint:  Problem solving and managing interpersonal relationships. If possible, discuss how you have turned a difficult situation into a positive outcome. Give examples of team-building or mentoring situations that have worked for you in the past.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to achieve group concensus.
Hint:  Examination of your ability to develop and present ideas. Think about how you have researched, organized and presented ideas to groups of people in order to inform them of facts and gain agreement on a course of action. Try to answer this question in the context of job you are applying for.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  What methods do you use to ensure details aren’t overlooked when monitoring quality initiatives?
Hint:  General knowledge and approach to managing quality. Demonstrate you have experience in managing multiple quality initiatives and that you take an organized approach to identifying and monitoring quality.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  What skill or trait qualifies you most for this job?
Hint:  Matching the best employee skill with the most needed skill for the job to see if there is compatibility. Discuss the best skill or trait you have that matches the need for the job, then give an example or two of some successes you have had when utilizing that skill or trait.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  How much latitude do you have to exercise independent judgment in your job?
Hint:  Overall ability or authority to make decisions without checking with a supervisor first. Think about the need for independent judgment in the new job and answer accordingly. If your current job doesn't allow for independent judgment, think about other jobs or situations where you were able to do so.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  Please describe your present/past job responsibilities. Which are the most difficult and why? Which are the most enjoyable and why?
Hint:  Depth of current job and preferences for type of work. Possible weaknesses related to responsibilities that are difficult. Think about the primary duties of the new job as you answer this question. Focus on responsibilities that are important in the new job and minimize any discussion of responsibilities that might have been difficult in the past.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  How do you assure effective communication when using email?
Hint:  Knowledge of email etiquette and effective writing skills. Demonstrate you understand basic email etiquette and understand the importance of using email one aspect of the organization's overall communication process.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  How would your current/past boss describe your attitude toward your work?
Hint:  Attitude and demeanor when interacting with others in the work setting. Describe your boss' attitude toward you as it relates to your abilities to accomplish the more important functions of the job.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  Do you think your education reflected the realities of what you will be doing on the job?
Hint:  Ability to relate to differences between educational and real-world experiences. There are many differences between what is taught in school and the realities of the work world. Demonstrate your ability and willingness to learn whatever it takes to get the job done.

Category:  Planning/Organization AbilityType:   General

Question:  Give me some recent examples of your ability to multitask.
Hint:  Prioritizing and managing tasks in a way that meets the employer's needs, and the ability to work on more than one project at a time. Discuss how you divide your work day among various tasks, how you prioritize them, the types of tasks that can apply to multiple projects, which tasks can be done concurrently and which ones might need to be handled separately. Talk about how successful you are in your multitasking efforts.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  What would you like to be earning two years from now?
Hint:  Expectations for job and compensation growth. This will give the interviewer a feel for your salary and career expectations. Factor in any anticipated promotions and keep your answer within reasonable norms for the type of job you are applying for.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  When speaking before a group, do you prefer speaking to large crowds or small groups?
Hint:  Important if part of the job. Communication skills and self-confidence, and scope of speaking experience. Consider the needs of the job you are applying for as you craft an answer to this question.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  Do you have any particular salary goals or targets? If so, how did you arrive at them?
Hint:  Salary desires versus reality and reasonableness. Salary questions are difficult. The more you know about going rates for the type of job you are applying for, the better off you will be when it comes to discussing salary. Some discussion considerations to start things off are: 1) salary is less important than other aspects of the job, 2) you need to know more about the job before answering, 3) you feel comfortable that the salary offer will be fair, 4) whatever the going rate is in the market is fine with you, 5) your salary requirements are flexible, 6) your salary requirements are $XXXXX.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: What are the short- and long-term goals for this position?
Hint:  Shows an interest in goal attainment. This question also offers an additional opportunity to discuss how you can bring your experience and skills into play in meeting the organization's goals.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  What did you do in the military?
Hint:  Understanding of how your military role relates to the job you are seeking. Very briefly describe your relevant military experience. Then immediately discuss how that experience translates to the civilian job you are seeking. Within the context of the open position, discuss relevant skills you learned in the military. This might include leadership skills and experience, how you motivated others, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and the like. To the extent possible, discuss your accomplishments and contributions.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  Describe your view of your perfect job?
Hint:  Attempt to discover compatibility between the perfect job and the job applied for. Discuss four or five desirable qualities that closely match the key elements of the new job and organization. Discuss why those qualities are important to you.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What is your greatest weakness?
Hint:  Seeking a potential problem area or skill deficit that might preclude the candidate from further consideration, or place another candidate in higher standing. Also, would the candidate require additional training, if hired? Try to respond with a weakness that the interviewer might actually view as a strength. For example, you like having your work organized for the following day and sometimes work too late into the evening getting things ready.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  When was your last salary increase? Was it up to your expectations?
Hint:  Self-perception versus superior's perception. If the salary increase wasn't up to your expectations, be prepared to provide a plausible explanation why. The interviewer is also likely to ask you the percent of the increase and how it was determined.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  What types of decisions are you responsible for making in your current/last job?
Hint:  Assessment of the scope, depth, and importance of decision-making authority. Discuss your decision-making responsibility in terms that relate to accountabilities you would have in the new job.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  What was the best decision you ever made on the job?
Hint:  Evaluation of the nature and impact of the decision. Discuss a decision that had very good timing or resulted in an especially good outcome for the organization.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  Describe a time in your work-life that you were the happiest and explain why? When were you most unhappy?
Hint:  Key job satisfiers and career preferences, as well as dissatisfiers. Try to relate things during your happiest time with the duties or responsibilities of the new job. Avoid discussing any unhappy events in your work-life that are similar to duties or responsibilities of the new job.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  Do you consider your career progress representative of your ability? Why?
Hint:  Reality check of the applicant's perception of their career growth. Career growth is largely related to the amount of time you have worked and the level of your education. Consider other people in your field who have similar work experience and education, then judge how you have progressed when compared to them. This will give you a baseline to judge how well you have done and how to answer this question.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  How would you describe your customer relations skills? Give me some examples of how you have used these skills.
Hint:  Skills in dealing with people and meeting their needs. General attitude toward customer relations. Discuss your customer relations philosophy, how you apply your skills within that philosophy, and provide examples that support your claims.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  What types of documents have you been responsible for writing or editing?
Hint:  Understanding of the scope, depth, content, and complexity of the documents the applicant works with. Give some examples of the documents you have prepared, the scope and format of content, the target audience, and how you put it all together.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  What is the least acceptable compensation you would accept?
Hint:  Test to see flexibility and confidence in self-worth. This is a tough question. Be prepared to answer it, but try to get out of it by saying salary is negotiable or far less important than other aspects of the job.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  Of the supervisors you have had, which one was your most/least favorite? Why?
Hint:  Preferences for management style and compatibility for the current job. You might start by saying you liked all of your past supervisors, but if you must choose, it would be a certain one based upon whatever criteria is appropriate. Avoid being perceived as overly negative.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  Tell me about a politically sensitive situation you were involved in and how you handled it.
Hint:  Ability to exercise good judgment in managing interpersonal relationships. If you haven't been involved in any politically sensitive situations, say so. If you have, discuss the thought process you went through and the reasons you handled it the way you did.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: When do you think you will be making a hiring decision?
Hint:  This will give you a feel for how long the hiring process will take. It will also give you an idea of how long you should wait before inquiring about the status of your application.

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  What aspects of your military service are most applicable to this job?
Hint:  Identify skills and background applicable to the job. Thinks about parallels between your military experiences and what will be required in the new job. Focus on the key elements of the job, as described in the job posting.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  Have you received any awards or special recognition for the work you have done?
Hint:  Recognition by others and special achievements. If you have several awards, choose those that most closely relate to the needs of the job. If you don't have formal awards, discuss informal recognition such as compliments from your manager or peers, special thanks for a job well done, or statistics or other measures that demonstrate superior performance.

Category:  Communication/Presentation SkillsType:   General

Question:  Tell me some of the things you do to assure lines of communication remain open between you and others you work with.
Hint:  Communication techniques and processes. Talk about your experiences in implementing effective communication among coworkers. Give examples that demonstrate your abilities at work.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: Will I be notified if I am not selected for the job?
Hint:  Because of high volumes, some employers do not notify interviewees who are not selected for an open job. If this is the case, you want to know when and where to call to check on your status.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Why did you leave your previous employer?
Hint:  Motivations for leaving the past job. What aspects of the last job were considered negative? Were there undesirable conditions at the last job that might be similar to conditions in the new job? Did your employer initiate your departure?

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  Give me an example of how you have exercised independent judgment in the past.
Hint:  Indication of how past experience and skills have been used to make decisions. Discuss your ability to analyze a need and take action on that need without having to go through your supervisor. Give an example or two that show your ability to use good judgment when taking independent action.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What would you say was the biggest accomplishment in your career?
Hint:  The applicant's perception of a significant accomplishment and how it might predict future success. How does the accomplishment compare to what might be expected in the normal scope of the new job?

Category:  MilitaryType:   General

Question:  What are the most important skills you learned while in the military?
Hint:  Perception of important skills and how they relate to the job. To the extent possible, relate your military skills to the requirements of the job. If your military skills were highly specialized and focused on military technology, you may need to stress other skills, such as teamwork, ability to learn quickly, a focus on tactical or strategic objectives, etc.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  What kind of people do you enjoy working with the most?
Hint:  Trait preferences in co-workers and personality clues. If appropriate, discuss your preference for working with varied personality types because they bring greater diversity and problem-solving ability to the job. Discuss your ability to work effectively with all types of people.

Category:  ReferencesType:   General

Question:  Do the people on your reference list know I will be calling?
Hint:  Validation of references and tacit approval to contact them. You normally wouldn't let your references know a particular employer would be calling until after the interview and some indication you are a serious candidate. Most interviewers won't mind if you ask for a little time so you have an opportunity to let your references know to expect a call.

Category:  Closing Questions (Applicant)Type:   General

Question:  APPLICANT: Do you have any concerns about my skills or background?
Hint:  This question gives the applicant an opportunity to discover any concerns the interviewer may have about their skills or background and provides an opportunity to overcome any perceived deficiencies.

Category:  Customer Service/SupportType:   General

Question:  What types of client interaction are you responsible for?
Hint:  Overview of the scope and accountabilities in dealing with clients and solving their problems. Try to give examples that are similar to the types of interactions you would have in the new position. Provide success stories where possible.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  What do you consider as fair salary progression from date of employment on?
Hint:  Personal and financial goals. Match with the job. This will help the interviewer determine if the applicant's salary progression expectations are within an acceptable norm. Some basic research about going rates for salary increases with the industry can help answer this question. Expectations regarding the potential for promotion need to be factored in.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Tell me about your educational background, including any training you're received on the job.
Hint:  Does the applicant have the core education necessary to perform effectively on the job? Will additional education or training be required? Has the applicant kept current with their skills and training? Discuss your education and training, and include information about how you keep your skills current.

Category:  ReferencesType:   General

Question:  Which reference will give you the best/worst recommendation?
Hint:  Indication of applicant's perception of their best reference and what that reference thought about them. You can expect this question to be followed by inquiries about why your references would respond as anticipated. Focus on the best, and minimize the worst. If appropriate, you might be able to characterize the worst reference recommendation as still being very good, just not as good as the others.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
Hint:  Is this a person who does better as an independent worker, or as part of a team? Is there a match with the requirements of the job?

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  How would your former boss describe you?
Hint:  This provides an indication of what might be expected if your boss is called for references. Perception of how others view your performance. How consistent is your former boss' view with the needs of the new boss?

Category:  QualityType:   Management

Question:  What techniques do you use to communicate expected quality standards to team members?
Hint:  Organization and communication abilities. Explain the importance of creating a culture of quality and how you have used various communication techniques to help instill awareness and support of quality standards. Discuss any communication tools you have used in the past such as quality manuals, policies, quality measures and reporting processes.

Category:  ReferencesType:   General

Question:  Can you give me a list of professional references I can contact?
Hint:  Part of the applicant screening process. References are used to verify past experience and helpful in determining suitability for the job. As part of your job search planning, you should identify professional references you can use. It is normally acceptable to provide these to the interviewer a day or so following the interview. Be sure you let your references know they might get a call from the interviewer so they are prepared.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Did you have responsibility for special projects? Please describe.
Hint:  Demonstrates initiative, organizational skills, and leadership abilities. In addition to discussing the projects you might have worked on, you might also mention why you were chosen for the project, e.g., special skills, organizational ability, etc. Discuss any noteworthy outcomes of the projects and any special recognition you may have received.

Category:  Interpersonal Skills/RelationshipsType:   General

Question:  Give a couple of examples of times you've been criticized in your job. How did you react and why?
Hint:  Willingness to admit mistakes, accept responsibility and handle criticism. It's OK to say you haven't been criticized. If you have had past criticisms, try to pick one that was in the distant past, minimize the nature of the problem, and show how you learned from the experience.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   General

Question:  How do you think you could best contribute to achievement of our company's goals?
Hint:  The interviewer is interested in 1) how much you know about the company's goals, and 2) how you believe you can contribute to their achievement. Hopefully, you have done some research about the company prior to the interview. If so, you should then relate how you believe your background or skills will enable you to effectively contribute to the company's success. Try to relate your answer to the specific requirements of the job you are applying for.

Category:  QualityType:   General

Question:  How would you describe your attention to detail and assuring high quality or accuracy?
Hint:  Ability to manage details effectively and accurately. Describe techniques or process you use to assure high quality results in the work you do. Discuss how you measure the results of your efforts.

Category:  Strengths and WeaknessesType:   General

Question:  Describe your greatest strength ... also describe what you perceive to be an area of weakness.
Hint:  Personal view of strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the strength and minimize the weakness. Try to characterize the weakness as a potential strength or neutral, e.g., an impatience with staff that don't follow through on their commitments.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  How do you feel you can contribute to our company's success?
Hint:  Potential for contribution to company growth and success. Some advance research about the company and the job will help you answer this question. Within the context of the job you are applying for, think about things you have done in the past that contributed to your employer's success. Give an example or two of proven successes.

Category:  Work Habits/TraitsType:   General

Question:  How would you describe your working style?
Hint:  The interviewer is giving you an opportunity to answer a pretty open-ended question. The working style you describe should be positive and consistent with the needs of the job you are applying for. Wherever possible, try to insert some special accomplishment or recognition you received that demonstrates the success you've enjoyed as a result of your working style.

Category:  Goals, Motivations, InterestsType:   General

Question:  Do you sometimes wish you had gotten into a different kind of work? If so, what kind of work and why?
Hint:  Satisfaction with current career path choice and indication of future satisfaction. Unless there are clear indications to the contrary, do not be tempted to say you would like to have gotten into any kind of work other than the type of work found in the job you are applying for.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   Management

Question:  What do you think is the single most important role of a manager?
Hint:  Managerial focus and vision of primary role as a manager. To the extent possible, answer this question in the context of what managerial roles are most important in the job you are applying for. You might want to talk about a fundamental managerial role that is important and then relate to how it applies to the new job.

Category:  Self-assessment/VisionType:   Management

Question:  If I were to ask those people who presently report to you what kind of manager you are, what would they say?
Hint:  The applicant's view of other people's perception of them, especially how this relates to the new job. Examples might be goal-oriented, fair, devoted to quality outcomes, etc.

Category:  Pay/CompensationType:   General

Question:  What are you basing your compensation requirements on?
Hint:  Determine if compensation requirements are based upon quantitative data or a guess. If you have done some research ahead of time, you can provide a basis for how you arrived at your compensation requirements. If you don't have reasonable data, don't try to make the interviewer think you do. The interviewer usually has access to a lot of salary data from various sources.

Category:  Decision-Making/JudgmentType:   General

Question:  Tell me about a politically sensitive situation you were involved in and how you handled it.
Hint:  Ability to exercise good judgment in managing interpersonal relationships. If you haven't been involved in any politically sensitive situations, say so. If you have, discuss the thought process you went through and the reasons you handled it the way you did.

Category:  Common Interview QuestionsType:   General

Question:  What aspect of your previous job did you like the least?
Hint:  The applicant's likes and dislikes. Are there any tasks, projects, or responsibilities in the new job that the applicant might not enjoy or want to do? The applicant's overall fit with the requirements of the job.

Category:  Education/Skills/Training AbilityType:   General

Question:  What made you choose the college you attended?
Hint:  The thought process you used when selecting your school can offer clues to how you make other important decisions in your life. Discuss how the school you choose made sense in light of your educational and career goals at the time. If you have changed substantially from earlier education or career goals, explain what caused the change and what you are now doing as a result.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   General

Question:  Can you draw a basic organization chart of your current/past company for me?
Hint:  Validation of knowledge of the company and its operations. Understanding the structure of the organization helps validate your understanding of the organization an how the various functions are organized. A typical organization chart is much like a pyramid and starts with a box at the top for the CEO/President. Lines and boxes flow down the chart showing the reporting relationships for subordinate staff, departments, and functions.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  Discuss your experience in analyzing and developing a major project or program in your last/current job?
Hint:  Scope and depth of job experience. Planning, organizing, controlling, and evaluating a project. Choose a project or program that is similar to the requirements of the new job, then discuss the planning, organizing, and execution process you normally go through. Give some examples of successes and the criteria you used to measure success.

Category:  Attitude/Self-confidence/InitiativeType:   General

Question:  How do you measure the success or failure of what you do in your job?
Hint:  Job knowledge and focus on outcomes. Typically, success or failure would be measured by the two or three most important aspects of your job. Consider what aspects of the job are most important and discuss how you execute and measure a successful outcome.

Category:  Problem Solving/Analytical AbilityType:   General

Question:  In your previous job, what kind of pressures did you encounter? How did you deal with them?
Hint:  Working with and coping with job pressures. Past job environment versus the open position. Consider the types of pressures you dealt with, e.g., tight schedules, difficult customers, financial pressures, high volumes, etc. Demonstrate that you handled the pressure with minimal difficulty and give an example or two to show your capabilities in dealing with on-the-job pressures.

Category:  General Work/Skills/ExperienceType:   Management

Question:  Did you ever attend meetings of the board of directors (executive management, etc)? If so, what was your role at the meetings?
Hint:  Level of management and interaction with top policy makers. The higher the management position you are applying for, the more important it is that you demonstrate a proven ability to work with top-level management. Give examples of the types of management staff you worked with, how you communicated with them, reports or information you provided, meetings you participated in, what role you played, etc.

Category:  Behavioral QuestionsType:   General

Question:  Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
Hint:  Give an example of your ability to persuade others to achieve desired goals. Think about how you may have motivated, mentored or helped guide them in such a way that your abilities as a leader to accomplish work-related tasks or projects. Consider what techniques might you have employed and what were the positive outcomes.

Using Interview Trainer


The Interview Trainer has been designed to help you hone your job interview skills. You can review and practice answering questions from the 200+ sample questions provided. For best results, practice answering the questions as if you were participating in a real job interview.


Interview Tips

The interview questions are broken down into 21 question categories so you can choose the types of questions that are most relevant to your needs. Each question includes hints about the interviewer's motivation in asking the question and provides other factors to consider when giving an answer. Question types are identified as general or management.

To use Interview Trainer, select a question category from the question category list. Then use the navigation keys at the bottom of the Interview Trainer to browse through the questions in that category. Repeat the process for other question categories you want to review.

If you prefer, you can view all questions in random order. Each time you launch Interview trainer from the main menu, it randomizes all questions and categories.

The following link provides additional information:

Optimize Your Interview Experience. It discusses interviews and how to use Interview Trainer to optimize your job interview skills. See the eBook chapter on Interviewing for more in-depth information about the job interview process. Whether you have an in-person, phone, or video interview, the knowledge and skills you acquire will serve you well.