10 Interview Questions You Better Be Ready to Answer


in Career,job interview

Presented here are a sample of standard job interview questions you might be asked in a typical interview. These focus more on you, your experience, and how you handle yourself in various situations. Obviously you will probably be asked more technical questions related to the job at hand but through my over all experience as both an interviewee and interviewer these are some I’ve been asked and have in turn asked myself. These questions would also be applicable to a phone interview or hr interview. More often than not you’ll be asked to answer the same question multiple times. Think through how you will respond ahead of time so you don’t spend 15 minutes dancing around the question in the actual job interview.

If you are looking for additional advice on what not to do on your job interview be sure to read Twelve Ways to Fail Your Job Interview 

This article was also featured in the 214th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance over at Poorer than You.  Be sure to check out all of the articles.

General Job Interview Questions

Question 1:  Why are you leaving your current job or conversely why did you leave your last job? Count on this question and have your honest answer ready. If you were fired or laid off you can merely say that the job was not a good fit for me and I’ve moved on. This is not an opportunity to defame your previous employer or manager, this is an opportunity to show your potential company that you are passionate about their position and the promise their company represents.

Question 2:  Why do you want to work here? This is where you want to demonstrate your knowledge and passion regarding this particular employer. You should at the very least have looked through their website or talked with some current employees about the company.

Question 3:  What would you say is your biggest strength? Don’t go overboard here, but don’t be afraid to highlight what you think your strengths are. If you can’t think of what they might be ask a friend, a parent, a spouse, your grocer. Get some honest feedback and be ready?

Question 4:  What would say is your biggest weakness? This is a tough one, just don’t answer “I work too hard or Care too Much.”  Again this is a time to show that you know what some of your shortcomings are, and that you can provide some evidence to show how you overcome those shortcomings. For instance if you say that are too task focused, be sure to document how you are able to be more visionary by spending some time each week brainstorming future direction. It’s just an example and this is really going to be tailored to you but be ready for it and practice with someone else.

Situation Based Job Interview Questions

Question 5:  Can you tell me about a time when had to solve a really tough problem?  Can you go through what you did and what were the end results? Whether or not you get a similar type of question this is a great theme to think about before your interview.  Think back through your career or education or any prior experience and think of a situation where you presented with a very difficult situation and how you either overcame the situation or didn’t.  Remember you don’t always have to win, but you need to demonstrate that you can learn from these types of situations.  This is not a one sentence answer, the interviewer is looking for you to demonstrate that you have problem solving skills to work through a situation or that you can handled some ambiguity.

Question 6:  Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with your supervisor?  How did you handle the situation? The interviewer wants to know how you are going to work with them and their style.  There isn’t a specific right answer here because there are definitely supervisors or managers that are very difficult to work with again the interviewer is looking for how you as the interviewee would fit in the team.

Role Specific Job Interview Questions

Question 7: Tell me about your experience with ? Each position is going to be different and obviously the interviewer is going to drill down on the specific functions of the job and test your knowledge. If you have listed it on your resume it’s fair game for the interviewer. Remember your resume may just give them some queues on questions to ask you. If you talk about your experience making snow cones be ready to describe the process in detail. If it’s something you truly don’t know, say as much but then offer how you think that it could work. Use it as an opportunity to show your willingness to figure things out.

Future Focused Job Interview Questions

Question 8:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Replace the 5 with a variable number of years but the key is that you are thinking about your future.  This is not the time to say retired!  A more ideal answer would be an advanced role that would still fit within this particular employer.  Don’t be afraid to say that you would like to be management or move up, but your answer needs to be tempered so that it doesn’t appear that you want this position just so you can drive your way to some other part of the company.  Absolutely you need to get your foot in the door, but don’t highlight the fact that you are considering this position just so you can find something better in the same company.

Question 9:  What would be your ideal job? This is an interesting question I’ve been asked several times, again a good one to prepare for ahead of time.  I would not provide an answer to a job that is entirely out of the field you are looking in.  For instance if you are interviewing to be an accountant I would not respond that your ideal job would be hand modelling.  Instead your going to want to tailor your answer more towards what this position is offering.

End of the Interview

Question 10:  Do you have any questions of me? I cannot stress this enough if you are asked if you have any questions, have some!  Some examples,  why do you like working here? How do you think I did? Do you have any other advice for someone looking to enter this field? How long have you worked here? These are just a few, have a collection of questions available in case you are asked multiple times, remember you want to make sure this job is a good fit for you, let them sell the position to you a little bit.

How about You?

Do you have any of your own interview questions you’d love to include? Please provide them in the comments I’ll compile them and add a reader provided question column.

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Early Retirement Extreme 2009/07/18 at 12:42 am

I think some interview questions are more prevalent on some kinds of jobs than others. For instance, I have interviewed in” highly technical fields with little personal interaction or management interference” and I have NEVER been asked any of the first 6 (I would almost consider those questions disrespectful). It was mostly 7 and then 10. And 8 and 9 only happened once (from an upper-management type).
.-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..The best posts of the first half of 2009 =-.

jason 2009/07/18 at 7:45 am

People should be ready for the last question before the interview. They should be ready for all of them but the last one is always important. I am a manager, of some sort, and hire people every once in a while and when I interview someone who does not have any questions for me, he or she is automatically out. That application is shredded immediately. If a person does not have any questions, to me that seems as if all they care about is getting the job and thats it.

tperko 2009/07/20 at 8:01 am

Jason – I think that #10 is a must also. Show some interest at the very least, but if you truly want the job you are interviewing for you should have a handful of questions!

Paul – Verbalizing your weaknesses and coming up with a 5 year career forecasts are difficult, but sitting down and preparing answers for these specific questions make articulating them much easier than just answering when simply put on-the-spot.

Great post!
.-= tperko´s last blog ..PocketMod Food Diary =-.

sri 2009/07/21 at 8:28 am

Nothing to worry or get nervous, just be confident and never tell any lie.. answer what you know.. are the first principles while attending an Interview. I had lot of experience in this area, so collected a big list of interview questions and answers sites (more than 220 sites) on wide variety of areas. This doesn’t cover just interview questions but also has information related to how to dress, how and what to ask the person who is interviewing you like if it is HR, you might want to know about the work environment, about the overtime rules, about the holiday structure, any medical benefits, insurance coverages etc.,. Thought it will be useful to all, so sharing them at the below link — might be of some help to you… today and even in future..
.-= sri´s last blog ..Walter Cronkite, another famous person to leave =-.

Pragati 2009/10/28 at 2:21 am

Write in about ten sentences how you would prepare yourself for an interview.
Please Ten Sentences for an Interview

pragati 2009/11/02 at 11:08 pm

Write in about ten sentences how you would prepare yourself for an interview.

Patrick 2009/12/09 at 12:55 am

Have a few party tricks up your sleeve to show them like the disappearing coin trick, the indian rope trick or invite the interviewer to give you a banknote and perform the ‘tear up a tenner’ trick. After all they are not remotely interested in your skills and how you would benefit their crap company, all they want is some l sort of performing seal whose only ability is to perform like a circus in an interview.

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