Commonly Asked Interview Questions – Traditional Interview
Following are some typical questions asked by employers. Practice your responses and prepare answers which offer a brief, results-oriented view of your experience and skills.
- Tell me about yourself. Focus on your experience and accomplishments as they relate to the position.
- Why do you want to work for our company? Use your research about the company/position to reply.
- What are your strengths/weaknesses? As they relate to performing the job, focus on accomplishments that highlight strengths and ways you are improving upon your weaknesses.
- What are your professional/career goals? Connect this to your personal career/future plans.
- What did you like best/least about your previous job? Never offer negative information about company or supervisor. Your examples should demonstrate/highlight particular values/skills
- How would you describe your ideal job? Connect this to your career objectives and the research you have done about the organization and position.
- Describe your most significant accomplishment…biggest challenge. Relate these experiences to attributes you will bring to the position.
- What motivates you? As it relates to your career plans.
- Why should I hire you? Focus on your accomplishments, experiences, and the abilities you can bring to the position.
- Do you have any questions? YES! This is when you can ask from memory or ask for permission to use your “prepared” list of questions. (Make sure questions are neatly typed on professional paper; 3-5 questions)
- Why did you leave your last job? Tell the truth positively.
- What do you see yourself doing five/ten years from now? Relate one or two of your long term goals to the position/organization.
- Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How did you resolve it? Focus on the process of conflict resolution, not the nature of the conflict itself.
- Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago? Focus on the decision-making process or aspects of Loyola’s mission which related to your goals.
- Is your GPA an accurate reflection of your ability? Focus on your activities, projects, classwork to further represent your capabilities.
- Why are you interested in our company/the position? Use your research findings to relate information about the organization to your needs/values.
- What kind of salary are you looking for? Research should give you an average range for the industry, position, and location. Additionally, by researching the company, you may be able to determine the organization’s salary ranges.
Behavioral Based Interviewing was developed as an objective measure of a candidate’s past performance. By asking about how someone has acted/reacted to a given situation in the past, an interviewer can get a clear picture of how that candidate will likely act in a similar situation in the future. Some companies will ask behavioral questions in addition to the more traditional questions.
- Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something unexpected.
- Tell me about a situation when you had to learn something new in a short time. How did you proceed?
- What has been the most difficult project for you to see through to completion?
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer, coworker, or team member.
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks. How did you prioritize? How did you manage your time? What was the outcome?
- Tell me about a situation when you worked with a person who did things differently from you. How did you get the job done?
Suggestions for Questions You Might Ask the Interviewer
- Clarification regarding particular aspects of the position; typical day/week; reporting relationships; learning opportunities; fit into the corporate structure?
- What are the typical issues of the industry/position?
- How would you describe the company’s values and management philosophy?
- What are the policies and procedures for evaluation in this position?
- What is the typical career path in this area of the organization?
- What qualities would it take to be successful in this job? The company?
- Where are you in the search process? What are the next steps?
- Why did the position become available?
- What do you feel are the essential factors for success in this position?
- Could you give me a profile of someone who does very well at _______?
- What problems/challenges do you feel the successful candidate should be able to solve?
- What short-term objectives would you like to see the person in this position achieve?
- Any questions which would be appropriate related to current events/trends/company-related content.
What to Ask in an Informational Interview
Remember an informational interview is your chance to learn about a certain career or company, it is not an employment interview and you must NOT ask for a job. You may, however ask some questions that might not be appropriate during an employment interview. Following are some possible questions that you can ask in this type of interview:
- How do you spend a typical day/week?
- What are the positive/negative aspects of working in this field?
- What skills, education, and experience are required?
- What are the toughest challenges you face in the organization?
- What is the typical salary for this type of position?
- Do you know of anyone who is looking for an individual with my skills and experience?
What to Do When Asked an Inappropriate Question
It can be an uncomfortable situation when asked an inappropriate or illegal question pertaining to such topics as race, nationality, religion, age, or marital status, especially if you are interviewing for a position that you really want. It is important to assess what kind of information an employer is seeking in asking these questions. For example, if an employer asks if you are planning on having children, they may be interested in whether or not you will be able to travel. You can address this issue in an interview without having to answer the question. For instance, a possible reply could be “Well, if you are worried about whether or not I will be available for business trips the answer is yes, I will be able to travel.” This can effectively convey the necessary information that the employer was interested in and direct the line of questioning away from the inappropriate topic.
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