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Standard Interview Questions

A good prospective employee is an educated interviewee. Before you attend an interview, you should be able to answer the following questions about yourself, the company, and the job itself.

Questions About You
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What is your greatest strength?
3. What is your greatest weakness?
4. How would your last supervisor describe you?
5. What motivates you to put forth your greatest efforts?
6. Describe the accomplishment that has given you the greatest satisfaction.
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
8. What are your plans to attend graduate school?
9. Why did you choose this career?
10. Would you rather work with information or people?
11. Whom do you admire?
12. If money were not an obstacle, how would you spend your time?

Questions About Your College Experience
1. Tell me about the most rewarding aspect of your college experience.
2. How has college prepared you for your career?
3. Why and how did you choose your major field of study or career path?
4. What classes did you enjoy most?
5. Tell me what you learned from your participation in co-curricular activities.

Questions About Your Prior Work Experiences and Behaviors
1. Give an example of how you helped build enthusiasm in others.
2. Tell me about a time when you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision?
3. How have you handled difficult people or situations in the past?
4. Tell me about a time when you worked as a member of a team. How did you contribute to the team's success?
5. Describe the best/worst supervisor you have ever had.
6. What causes you stress? How do you handle it?
7. Describe a situation that illustrates your communication skills.
8. Tell me about a time when you received criticism from a supervisor. How did you handle it? What did you learn from the experience?
9. What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
10. How good are you at _____________________ ? (one of the job related skills)

Questions About the Job
1. What do you know about this organization?
2. Why should I hire you?
3. Describe your ideal job.
4. Why do you want a job in this company?
5. What contributions can you make to this company?
6. In what ways do you like to be rewarded for your work?
7. What do you see as the important trends in this industry?
8. What changes would you make in this organization?
9. Is money important to you?
10. What kind of salary are you looking for?

Questions You Can Ask During the Interview
To evaluate a job, you should prepare and ask questions during an interview. Use the following questions as a guide to help you learn more about the company and the job as you decide its fit with your skills and abilities, interest, work values, and personal needs.

1. Which job responsibilities are the most important? How does this position fit into the organization's structure and goals?
2. With which other departments will I have frequent interaction?
3. How does the organization provide for professional growth and development?
4. What are the major challenges this organization is facing?
5. What are management's basic philosophies in managing the business and the employees?
6. What are the opportunities for advancement?
7. What is the prospective career path for someone with my background?

Do not ask questions about salary and other benefits during a first interview. This will usually be discussed at a second meeting. You should always wait for the interviewer to discuss this first.

Information You Should Know Before the Interview
These are a few things you should know about the company before the interview:

  • major products or services
  • mission statements or philosophy
  • customer or client base
  • number of employees
  • ownership
  • work environment
  • history
  • revenue/financial status
  • organizational structure   
  • location of major offices
  • officers

Information developed by the Office of Career Services and Internships,
College of Mount Saint Vincent March 2, 2010