1. So, tell me a little about yourself.
You don't need to explain everything from birth to present day.
Relevant facts about education, your career and your current life
situation are fine.
2. Why are you looking (or why did you leave you last job)?
This should be a straightforward question to answer, but it can trip
you up. Presumably you are looking for a new job (or any job) because
you want to advance your career and get a position that allows you to
grow as a person and an employee. It's not a good idea to mention
money here, it can make you sound mercenary. And if you are in the
unfortunate situation of having been downsized, stay positive and be
a***rief as pos***le about it. If you were fired, you'll need a good
explanation. But once again, stay positive.
3. Tell me what you know about this company.
Do your homework before you go to any interview. Whether it'***eing
the VP of marketing or the mailroom clerk, you should know about the
company or business you're going to work for. Has this company been in
the news lately? Who are the people in the company you should know
about? Do the background work, it will make you stand out as someone
who comes prepared, and is genuinely interested in the company and the
4. Why do you want to work at X Company?
This should be directly related to the last question. Any research
you've done on the company should have led you to the conclusion that
you'd want to work there. After all, you're at the interview, right?
Put some thought into this answer before you have your interview,
mention your career goals and highlight forward-thinking goals and
5. What relevant experience do you have?
Hopefully if you're applying for this position you have bags of
related experience, and if that's the case you should mention it all.
But if you're switching careers or trying something a little
different, your experience may initially not look like it's matching
up. That's when you need a little honest creativity to match the
experiences required with the ones you have. People skills are people
skills after all, you just need to show how customer service skills
can apply to internal management positions, and so on.
6. If your previous co-workers were here, what would they say about you?
Ok, this is not the time for full disclosure. If some people from your
past are going to say you're a boring A-hole, you don't need to bring
that up. Stay positive, always, and maybe have a few specific quotes
in mind. "They'd say I was a hard worker" or even better "John Doe has
always said I was the most reliable, creative problem-solver he'd ever
7. Have you done anything to further your experience?
This could include anything from night classes to hobbies and sports.
If it's related, it's worth mentioning. Obviously anything to do with
further education is great, but maybe you're spending time on a home
improvement project to work on skills such as self-sufficiency, time
management and motivation.
8. Where else have you applied?
This is a good way to hint that you're in demand, without sounding
like you're whoring yourself all over town. So, be honest and mention
a few other companie***ut don't go into detail. The fact that you're
seriously looking and keeping your options open is what the
interviewer is driving at.
9. How are you when you're working under pressure?
Once again, there are a few ways to answer thi***ut they should all be
positive. You may work well under pressure, you may thrive under
pressure, and you may actually PREFER working under pressure. If you
say you crumble like aged blue cheese, this is not going to help you
get your foot in the door.
10. What motivates you to do a good job?
The answer to this one is not money, even if it is. You should be
motivated by life's noble pursuits. You want recognition for a job
well done. You want to become better at your job. You want to help
others or be a leader in your field.
11. What's your greatest strength?
This is your chance to shine. You're being asked to explain why you
are a great employee, so don't hold back and stay do stay positive.
You could be someone who thrives under pressure, a great motivator, an
amazing problem solver or someone with extraordinary attention to
detail. If your greatest strength, however, is to drink anyone under
the table or get a top score on Mario Kart, keep it to yourself. The
interviewer is looking for work-related strengths.
12. What's your biggest weakness?
If you're completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt.
If you say you don't have one, you're obviously lying. This is a
horrible question and one that politicians have become masters at
answering. They say things like "I'm perhaps too committed to my work
and don't spend enough time with my family." Oh, there's a fireable
offense. I've even heard "I think I'm too good at my job, it can often
make people jealous." Please, let's keep our feet on the ground. If
you're asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that
you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told I
occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've
been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my
13. Let's talk about salary. What are you looking for?
Run for cover! This is one tricky game to play in an interview. Even
if you know the salary range for the job, if you answer first you're
already showing all your cards. You want as much as pos***le, the
employer wants you for as little as you're willing to take. Before you
apply, take a look at salary.com for a good idea of what someone with
your specific experience should be paid. You may want to say, "well,
that's something I've thought long and hard about and I think someone
with my experience should get between X & Y." Or, you could be sly and
say, "right now, I'm more interested in talking more about what the
position can offer my career." That could at least buy you a little
time to scope out the situation. But if you do have a specific figure
in mind and you are confident that you can get it, I'd say go for it.
I have on many occasions, and every time I got very close to that
figure (both below and sometimes above).
14. Are you good at working in a team?
Unless you have the I.Q. of a houseplant, you'll always answer YES to
this one. It's the only answer. How can anyone function inside an
organization if they are a loner? You may want to mention what part
you like to play in a team though; it's a great chance to explain that
you're a natural leader.
15. Tell me a suggestion you have made that was implemented.
It's important here to focus on the word "implemented." There's
nothing wrong with having a thousand great ideas, but if the only
place they live is on your notepad what's the point? Better still, you
need a good ending. If your previous company took your advice and
ended up going bankrupt, that's not such a great example either. Be
prepared with a story about an idea of yours that was taken from idea
to implementation, and considered successful.
16. Has anything ever irritated you about people you've worked with?
Of course, you have a list as long as your arm. But you can't say
that, it shows you a***eing negative and difficult to work with. The
best way to answer this one is to think for a while and then say
something like "I've always got on just fine with my co-workers
Use this question as a chance to show that you are a team player: "The
only people I have trouble with are those who aren't team players, who
just don't perform, who complain constantly, and who fail to respond
to any efforts to motivate them." The interviewer is expecting a
response focused on personality and personal dislikes. Surprise her by
delivering an answer that reflects company values
17. Is there anyone you just could not work with?
No. Well, unless you're talking about murderers, racists, rapists,
thieves or other dastardly characters, you can work with anyone.
Otherwise you could be flagged as someone who's picky and difficult if
you say, "I can't work with anyone who's a Bronco's fan. Sorry."
18. Tell me about any issues you've had with a previou***oss.
Arrgh! If you fall for this one you shouldn't be hired anyway. The
interviewer is testing you to see if you'll speak badly about your
previous supervisor. Simply answer this question with exteme tact,
diplomacy and if necessary, a big fat loss of memory. In short, you've
never had any issues.
The answer to 18 is completely wrong. I am a director at a major media
company's interactive division. Our company is expanding and I am
almost in a constant state of hiring. I ask a variation of this
question in every single interview and if a candidate has never had
one issue or disagreement with anyone, (I stated a variation: I ask if
it has happened with anyone in the workplace) I peg them as a liar and
reject them immediately.
I went well with my previou***oss. If there is an conflict, I will be
open mind and talk about facts. once decision is made, I execute it
19. Would you rather work for money or job satisfaction?
It's not a very fair question is it? We'd all love to get paid a
Trump-like salary doing a job we love but that's rare indeed. It's
fine to say money is important, but remember that NOTHING is more
important to you than the job. Otherwise, you're just someone looking
for a bigger paycheck.
20. Would you rather be liked or feared?
I have been asked this a lot, in various incarnations. The first time
I just drew a blank and said, "I don't know." That went over badly,
but it was right at the start of my career when I had little to no
experience. Since then I've realized that my genuine answer is
"Neither, I'd rather be respected." You don't want to be feared
because fear is no way to motivate a team. You may got the job done
but at what cost? Similarly, if you're everyone'***est friend you'll
find it difficult to make tough decisions or hit deadlines. But when
you're respected, you don't have to be a complete bastard or a lame
duck to get the job done.
21. Are you willing to put the interests of X Company ahead of your own?
Again, another nasty question. If you say yes, you're a corporate
whore who doesn't care about family. If you say no, you're disloyal to
the company. I'm afraid that you'll probably have to say yes to this
one though, because you're trying to be the perfect employee at this
point, and perfect employees don't cut out early for Jimmy'***a***all
it is situational. if you… ; if you …. Ethics and professionalism
22. So, explain why I should hire you.
As I'm sure you know, "because I'm great" or "I really need a job" are
not good answers here. This is a time to give the employer a laundry
list of your greatest talents that just so happen to match the job
description. It's also good to avoid taking potshots at other
potential candidates here. Focus on yourself and your talents, not
other people's flaws.
23. Finally, do you have any questions to ask me?
I'll finish the way I started, with one of the most common questions
asked in interviews. This directly relates to the research you've done
on the company and also gives you a chance to show how eager and
prepared you are. You'll probably want to ask about benefits if they
haven't been covered already. A good generic one is "how soon could I
start, if I were offered the job of course." You may also ask what
you'd be working on. Specifically, in the role you're applying for and
how that affects the rest of the company. Always have questions ready,
greeting this one with a blank stare is a rotten way to finish your
interview. Good luck and happy job hunting.
ponder for a moment, and then ask your interviewer "what aspect of
your job do you find most challenging".
I would ask the interviewer, "Why do you like to work here?"
24. Where do you want to be in 5 to years?
They dont want to hear in the same job you are interviewing for.
Ultimately, the HR people are searching for someone who can handle the
job now, and has the potential to grow into a high level management
job in the future. Do you have those goals too?
24. Would you rather work for a big company or a small one?
Favorite answer: I'd treat any company like it was my own regardless.
Total ownership of the situation can get you a long way.
General , the worst answer was "I don't know." I've since learned that
"it depends," with a couple of examples, is perfectly appropriate.