Sample Interview Questions

When I was teaching and coaching speech communication, I would constantly say to my students, “Practice, practice, practice.

Of course, whether giving a speech or an interview, you don’t want to sound too rehearsed (like you’re quoting a memorized script), but you don’t want to respond to critical questions with a blank stare, either – or, worse, give a long-winded response that really doesn’t answer the question. It’s important to think through your skills, strengths, and specific achievements prior to an interview and be prepared to back up what you say with concrete examples.

For example, one starter question is often, “Tell me about yourself.” I have seen people ruin all chance at a job by their inability to succinctly answer that simple question. Remember to answer it in relation to your professional background, rather than your hobbies or outside interests, and give a specific example to back up your answer to every question. For example:

Answer to the question “Tell me about yourself”: “With 12-years experience as an Executive Assistant, I have learned to multi-task with the best of them!”

Specific example: “In my most recent experience, I answer to the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation, and also serve as his liaison to people throughout the company, both domestically and internationally, as well as critical customers. In addition, I am expected to provide up-to-date marketing, budgeting, and sales numbers on a moment’s notice to executives and managers throughout the corporation daily.”

Additional interview questions might include:

What is your greatest strength and how will this affect your performance?

When and how did you solve a problem relating to your job? What were the results?

What are your long-term goals, and how did you determine them?

Do you believe you have supervisory potential? Why?

How would you go about influencing someone to accept your ideas?

Describe your response to a difficult work situation that you would handle differently if given the chance?

Describe an assignment you successfully completed despite feeling the odds were stacked against you.

Why are you leaving your present position?

Under what conditions have you been the most, and the least successful?

In your current [or most recent] position, what do [did] your co-workers think of you?

In your last job, what did you like most about it? What did you like the least?

What do you think of the way your current [or most recent] boss managed you?

How do you handle pressure on the job?

Give an example of a project or new process that you had to convince someone else to support. What was your strategy, and what were the results?

Describe a situation when you had to deal with an angry customer?

Tell me about a time when you saw something that needed to be done and you took the initiative to implement a solution or strategy for change.

~ Anne Follis, CPRW

© Copyright 2007, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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