Career Advice:

Why Prepare for Interview Questions

By rehearsing interview questions, either in your head or in a mock interview with a friend or family member acting as a potential employer, you will feel much more comfortable, relaxed and prepared for your real interview. Following are some questions you should be prepared to be asked along with some tips on what kind of answer the interviewer expects. A list of more questions without answers can be found after that, then a list of questions you can ask your potential employer.

Q. Tell me about yourself.
This question is asked to find out about your job skills. Answer it by making a short statement of your education and professional achievements, finishing your answer by stating your qualifications for the job.

Q. Why did you leave your last job?
With this question, your potential employer is trying to find out if you had any problems in your last job. If you didn't, simply answer honestly. If you did, keep your answer light. Explain a little bit about what problems you may have had but do not dwell on the subject and do not speak negatively of your former employer. Also, try to show how you will learn from the experience and be sure to mention that any problems you had in the past will definitely not affect your performance at the new company.

Q. Why do you want to work for this company?
The employer expects you to show knowledge of and interest in the company. Try to
indicate through your answer that you researched the company and speak of any
policies, business news or company figures you can recall. Talk about how your
professional skills will benefit the company.

Q. What are your career/future goals?
The interviewer is probably trying to find out if you are ambitious, plan ahead, or set goals for yourself. The interviewer may also want to know what kind of expectations you have of the company. Talk about your desire to improve your performance and learn as much as possible.

Q. What is your major weakness?
Although you may sound as if they are looking for an answer that reflects negatively on you, that is not the case. Never be negative during any part of your interview. Turn this question into a positive one by answering with something that seems like a good quality for an employee to have. Try answering that you sometimes have trouble delegating because you want your work to be the best it can possibly be and cannot always count on others to put forth as much effort as you would.

Q. How much do you expect in compensation?
It is not a good idea to answer this question with a direct answer stating a specific amount. Your best bet is to wait for the employer to make the first offer. In response to this question, you can answer by asking a question of your own along the lines of how much do you expect to pay the best candidate for the job or how much do you usually pay someone with my experience?

Q. What do you consider to be your best skills?
The answer to this question depends on the job you are interviewing for. If you've had experience in a similar position you should know the kinds of skills that are valued so name these and give examples of how you have demonstrated these skills. Even if you have no similar experience, you should know the kinds of skills they are looking for through your research of the company.

Other common interview questions:

  1. What can you do that someone else can't do?
  2. What qualifications do you have that indicate you will be successful in your field? How would they relate to our position? What do you have to offer?
  3. What are your own special abilities?
  4. What new skills or capabilities have you developed over the past year?
  5. What have you done which shows initiative and willingness to work?
  6. What are your greatest work and non-work accomplishments during the past two years?
  7. Describe three things that are most important to you in a job.
  8. What motivates you?
  9. What have you been doing since your graduation from college? Since you left your last job?
  10. How would a co-worker, or friend, or boss describe you?
  11. What are your interests outside of work, school?
  12. What qualities do you admire most in others?
  13. How would you describe your own work style?
  14. What would you like to being doing five (ten) years from now?
  15. What type of position are you interested in?
  16. What are your salary requirements--short term/long term?
  17. What is success? What personal characteristics will contribute to your success?
  18. How will employment with us contribute to your career plans?
  19. What do you expect from a job?
  20. What are your career objectives - short and long range?
  21. This job is a total change from previous employment. How does it fit your career goals?
  22. What are your location preferences?
  23. How does your education relate to this position (or how does your education prepare you for this position)?
  24. What activities did you engage in at school?
  25. What classes did you like most in school? Least? Why?
  26. Why did you decide to go to _______________ school?
  27. Why did you choose your major?
  28. Describe your academic strengths and weaknesses?
  29. What are your plans for continuing your education?
  30. What career related skills do you possess as a result of your academic preparation?
  31. What have you read recently in your field?
  32. What have you learned from your past jobs?
  33. How often, and in what way, did you communicate with your subordinates and superiors?
  34. What were the biggest pressures on your last job?
  35. How did your job description for your last job change while you held it?
  36. What specific skills acquired or used in previous jobs relate to this position?
  37. How does your previous experience relate to this position?
  38. Why did you leave your last job?
  39. What did you like most/least about your last job?
  40. Whom may we contact for references?
  41. Why should we hire you?
  42. Why do you want to work here?
  43. What do you know about this organization?
  44. What salary do you expect?
  45. Why do you think you would like this type of position? Company?
  46. What kind of boss do you like to work for?
  47. How long do you intend to stay here?
  48. What do you think determines a person's progress in an organization?
  49. What interests you about our product or service? How would you improve it?
  50. What do you think would be your greatest contribution to our operation?
  51. How do you solve problems?
  52. When can you start to work?
  53. Can you travel overnight?

Questions you can ask your potential employer:

  1. How would your describe the duties of the position?
  2. How would you describe a typical day in this position?
  3. How much travel is normally expected?
  4. How frequently do you relocate professional employees?
  5. Why are you looking to fill this position? (Is it a newly created job? Did the previous employee leave? Why?)
  6. How many people have had this position and where have they gone?
  7. What is the average stay in this position?
  8. Outside my department, who else will I work with?
  9. How much evening or weekend work is expected?
  10. How high a priority is this department within the organization?
  11. What are the prospects for advancement beyond this level?
  12. How does one advance in the organization?
  13. How often are performance reviews given?
  14. How often do the training programs begin?
  15. About how many individuals go through your training program each year?
  16. How does your company's tuition reimbursement program work?
  17. What new product lines/services have been announced recently?
  18. What is the average age of top management?
  19. Will you describe ______________ to me? (The personality of a ranking officer often reveals a lot about the company philosophy).
  20. Could you tell me about public transportation to your company?
  21. How many people are you interviewing for this position?
  22. What are the things you like least/most about working here?
  23. If I am extended an offer of employment, how soon after this would you like me to start?
  24. What can I tell you about my qualifications?
  25. When can I expect to hear from you?