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FAQs During An Interview

We all know that the greatest anxiety about a job interview is “What will they ask me?”, or “What if I can’t answer a question or my answer is not well thought out?” Thinking about the questions that may be asked and how you might answer these questions will better prepare you for the interview. Remember: the best candidates don’t necessarily get the job: the best interviewee does. 

By reviewing questions that are often asked in an interview, you will begin thinking about your skills, experiences, and qualifications and how you might answer questions to portray yourself as the best candidate. 

Through an interview, the employer is trying to achieve:

  • Who has the skills to do the best job?
  • Who will be the best representative to others outside their company?
  • Who will be able to get along well with the other employees within the company?
  • Who is likely to be the most productive?

In order to accomplish this, interviewers want to know:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • What kind of person are you?
  • What kind of employee will you be? They will attempt to determine your – willingness to take responsibility as well as directions, productive potential, loyalty, creativity and enthusiasm.
  • Do you have a sincere interest in their type of work and/or industry?
  • Will you be able to work/get along with your co-workers and supervisors?
  • Will you treat their customers respectfully and politely?
  • How long will you stay before you start looking for another job?

Interviewers will most likely not ask you these specific questions, however, they will ask questions they feel will reveal the answers. Interviewers will be looking for characteristics such as: competence, motivation, team player, good decision making skills, fast learner, problem solver, interpersonal communication skills, interest in the job, and personality -- will you fit in? 

By anticipating interview questions and practicing answers (without memorizing), you will be more prepared and relaxed during the interview. Listed below is a sample of the kinds of questions you may be asked during an interview.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How did you find out about this job?
  • What skills would you most like to use in a job?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • How do you plan to achieve your goals?
  • What motivates you to put forth your best effort?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you think that you will be successful?
  • Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How do you think a friend or instructor who knows you will, describe you?
  • Who has influenced you most in your lifetime?
  • Howell did you do academically in school?
  • In what types of volunteer community activities have you participated?
  • How do you spend your spare time?
  • Have you ever supervised people?
  • Have you ever handled money for an employer?
  • Do you mind if I contact your employer (or last employer)?
  • Of your past jobs, which did you enjoy most? Why?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • Do you have any physical limitations that would interfere with you performing the duties of the position you are applying for?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • How do you feel about relocating if you are offered this position?
  • If this job required that you complete further training or education, are you willing to do so?
  • Are you willing to work overtime?
  • What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?
  • What has been the most frustrating thing about any of your former jobs?
  • What do you like least about your present or most recent job?
  • What do you like best about your present or most recent job?
  • What are your three greatest personal accomplishments?
  • What are your three greatest career accomplishments?
  • What interests you most about this position?
  • What interests you least about this position?
  • What do you like most about your present or most recent boss?
  • What do you like least about your present or most recent boss?
  • What are two things you’d like to improve about yourself?
  • How do you respond to constructive criticism?
  • What makes this job more attractive to you than your current (last) position?
  • Which types of decisions are most difficult for you to make?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • How do your qualifications relate specifically to this job?
  • What equipment do you know how to operate?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success?
  • What qualities should successful manager or supervisor possess?
  • How has your education prepared you for a career?
  • If you were hiring a person for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement?
  • What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?
  • Did you work while attending college?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
  • What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
  • Give an example of a mistake you have made and what you learned from the experience.
  • A job scenario may be presented and you may be asked how you would handle it? (Interviewer is analyzing your thought process and evaluating how you prioritize, solve handle pressure and assessing your organizational skills)
  • Do you prefer work independently or with others?
  • Why didn’t you do better than a ____ GPA?
  • What is your knowledge level of computer usage?
  • Did you attend any professional conferences or seminars while in school? If yes, which one and what did you gain from your attendance?
  • What did you normally do on your summer breaks?
  • Do you think your grades reflect how well you will do on the job?
  • How do you deal with stressful situations?
  • If hired, how long do you expect to stay with our company?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How soon could you begin work?

Illegal questions

Whether an interviewer knows it or not, an illegal question may be posed to you. Most generally, any questions related to your martial status, race, gender, religion, age, criminal record, disabilities, social or political organizations memberships or where you live, are illegal! 

If you are asked an illegal question, the following are your options:

  • Answer the question – knowing you may be discriminated against due to your answer.
  • Refuse to answer the question – knowing the interview will probably be over.
  • Refer the question back to the interviewer – “How does this relate to my ability to do the job?”
  • Attempt to defuse the situation by making a joke and changing the subject.
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