EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING: General Interview Questions
1. Tell me about yourself. The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Start with the item farthest back and work up to the present.
2. Why did you leave your last job? Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason, such as an opportunity, a chance to do something special, or other forward-looking reasons.
3. What experience do you have in this field? Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.
4. Do you consider yourself successful? You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good explanation is what you have to set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others.
5. What do co-workers say about you? Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. Either a specific statement or a paraphrase will work.
6. What do you know about this organization? This question is one reason to do some research on the organization before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are going. What are the current issues and who are the major players?
7. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year? Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive selfimprovement. Have some good ones handy to mention.
8. Are you applying for other jobs? Be honest, but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is a distraction.
9. Why do you want to work for this organization? This may take some thought and certainly should be based on the research you have done on the organization. Sincerity is extremely important here and will easily be sense. Relate it to your long-term career goals.
10. Do you know anyone who works for us? Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organization. This can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought of.
11. What kind of salary do you need? A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, “That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position?” In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.
12. Are you a team player? You are, of course, a team player. Be sure to have example ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag, just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point.
13. How long would you expect to work for us if hired? Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I’d like it to be a long time. Or as long as we both feel I’m doing a good job.
14. Have you ever had to fire anyone? How did you feel about that? This is serious. Do not make light of it or in any way seem like you like to fire people. At the same time, you will do it when it is the right thing to do. When it comes to the organization versus the individual who has created a harmful situation, you will protect the organization. Remember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in force.
15. What is your philosophy towards work? The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. Do you have strong feelings that the job gets done? Yes. That’s the type of answer that works best here. Short and positive, showing a benefit to the organization.
16. If you had enough money to retire now, would you? Answer yes if you would. But since you need to work, this is the type of work you prefer. Do not say yes if you do not mean it.
17. Have you ever been asked to leave a position? If you have not, say no. if you have, be honest, brief and avoid saying negative things about the people or organization involved.
18. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization. You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.
19. Why should we hire you? Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not mention any other candidates to make a comparison.
20. Tell me about a suggestion you have made. Have a good one ready. Be sure and use a suggestion that was accepted and was then considered successful. One related to the type of work applied for is a real plus.
21. What irritates you about co-workers? This is a trap question. Think real hard but fail to come up with anything that irritates you. A short statement that you seem to get along with folks is great.
22. What is your greatest strength? Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples: Your ability to prioritize, your problem-solving skills, your ability to work under pressure, your ability to focus on projects, your professional expertise, your leadership skills, your positive attitude.