You can never really predict the questions you may be asked in an interview…that’s what keeps it interesting! However, we’ve assembled a list of the questions you’re most likely to be asked based upon our many years of sending candidates out for interviews.
The following is a list of questions frequently asked during interviews. While they may not be phrased in these exact words, you can be sure that many of the topics listed below will be covered in some way. Following each question is a list of reminders on different things to consider when answering them. There is no standard or “right” way to respond to these questions. Simply use this guide as a reference.
- Why are you looking to change jobs and/or why did you leave your previous job?
Don’t bash your current employer…it’s a surefire way to make a negative impression. Answers that point to a positive progressive career path are best. Hopefully, most of your changes have been for a better career opportunity. If it was because of downsizing, plant closure, or the sale of your company, tell them that.
- What do you like most/least about your current job?
Mention the things about your current position that get you excited and give you the most fulfillment. Be honest, but not overly critical, when asked about least favorite aspects.
- Why should we hire you instead of someone else?
If you sell yourself effectively, they won’t want anybody else. Cite specific, concrete attributes and accomplishments.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Focus on the strengths you have that are directly related to the position for which you are interviewing. For weaknesses, pick an attribute you have most recently improved on, giving a positive answer. It is best to mention a “positive negative.” Examples: “I drive myself too hard sometimes;” “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I tend to expect a lot from my subordinates.”
- What would be the first thing you would do if you were in this position?
If you have listened carefully to what they are looking for, you should have no problem answering this question. Identify the areas that appear to be important to the company, and match them up to your specific skill set and experience.
- What have you done that shows initiative?
Talk about the projects or ideas that you’ve put into action, and mention the positive influence they’ve had on the company. Mention the problems that you have identified, the solutions you came up with, and the results.
- What would your boss say about you?
Can your boss depend on you? Do you take some work off your boss’s shoulders? What impressions have you made?
- What are you looking for in a job?
This is a simple but thought-provoking question. “The opportunity to build my career” is a good answer.
- What do you know about our company?
Do your homework about the company. The library, Internet, and your recruiter are all good resources.
- Would you tell me about yourself?
Many people stumble on this question because they don’t know what the interviewer wants to hear. Realize that most interviewers use this question not only to gather information, but also to assess your poise, style of delivery, and communication ability. Don’t launch into a mini-speech about your childhood, schooling, hobbies, early career, and personal likes and dislikes. Instead, cite recent personal and professional work experiences that relate to the position you’re seeking. About five to eight sentences ought to do it.
- Where do you see yourself in 1 year? In 5 years?
Be careful not to inadvertently threaten any interviewers by talking too aggressively about advancement, making it seem like you want to advance too quickly, or talking about taking over the interviewer’s position someday. It is better to speak in terms of increased responsibility and value to the company rather than specific moves up the ladder or titles you want to have. You could also mention general career goals you have set for yourself and facets of the business to which you would like to gain exposure.
- How do you handle difficult employees?
Cite specific examples, if possible.
- How do you handle difficult situations?
Again, cite specific examples. Be honest. Remember, not everyone can do everything. Cite how you handled the situation and the end result. Try to tailor your response to the position for which you are interviewing.
- What are some of your accomplishments?
Get specific. Have you increased productivity? Cut costs or downtime? Created programs? Helped increase sales?
- What can you do for our company?
This is your chance to “wow” them. Get them excited about you! Mention the things that you have done for your current employer that you are most proud of, and tell them that you can do the same (or more) for their organization. (If you have specific ideas about what you would do, go ahead and talk about those as well.) Tell them what you’ve done to make the company money, save the company money, and/or improve a process to impact the bottom line.
- Why do you want this job?
What was it initially about this job that caught your attention? What have you heard about this job/company since then that has increased your interest level? What are the opportunities in this job that you don’t see in your current job?
- Don’t you think you’re overqualified for the position we have to offer?
Strong companies need strong people. A growing, energetic company is rarely unable to use its people talents. Emphasize your interest in a long-term association, and point out that the employer will get a faster return on investment because you have more experience than required.
- What is your management style?
This is your chance to talk about your management philosophy. Talk about your training methods and how you develop subordinates. Also, mention how you delegate responsibility and empower the people that report to you.
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