Interviewing Sample Questions

Questions an Employer Asks

  1. Tell me about yourself? (try to hold your response to 60/90 seconds)
  2. What do you know about our company?
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. Who are your role models? Why?
  5. What can you do for us that someone else can't?
  6. What do you look for in a job?
  7. What skills and qualifications are essential for success in the position of ?
  8. How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?
  9. How does this assignment fit into your overall career plan?
  10. Describe your management style. What do you believe is the most difficult part of being a supervisor of people?
  11. Why are you looking for a new career?
  12. What characteristics do you value in co-workers?
  13. How would your colleagues describe you?
  14. How would your boss describe you?
  15. How would you describe yourself?
  16. What do you think of your present or past boss?
  17. What were the five most significant accomplishments in your last assignment?
  18. What were the five most significant accomplishments in your career so far?
  19. Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?
  20. How much do you expect if we offer you this position?
  21. Why do you want to work for us?
  22. What other positions are you considering?
  23. Have you kept up in your field with additional training?
  24. What are your career goals? What are your strong points?
  25. What are your weak points? How did you do in school?
  26. What position do you expect to have in 2 to 5 years?
  27. If you took the job what would you accomplish in the first year?
  28. What was wrong with your current or last position?
  29. What kind of hours are you used to working or would like to work?
  30. Do you have your reference list with you? (Remember don't give it out unless it is asked for).
  31. Can you explain your salary history?
  32. What questions didn't I ask that you expected?
  33. Do you have any question for me?

Questions You Can Ask

  1. Who would I be working for? Who is my direct supervisor?
  2. May I have a company organization chart?
  3. Tell me about your company. (Be careful with this one. Often, the first part of an interview is spent hearing about the company. You wouldn't want to ask this in the event that the interviewer has already told you about the company.)
  4. What do you look for in a candidate for this position?
  5. How many candidates are you interviewing for this position?
  6. How would you describe this position?
  7. Where would I be working?
  8. Does your company have other locations?
  9. How is the work divided between locations?
  10. How many hours per week do you expect me to work? (Again, be careful with this one - you don't want to come across as lazy or unwilling to do your share. Maybe you should rephrase it: How many hours are in a typical work week?)
  11. Are employees reimbursed for moving expenses?
  12. Is there any information that I can provide which would help you to decide favorably about my application?
  13. How soon do you expect to make your hiring decision? When can I expect to hear from you? (Usually, you'll ask this at the end of an interview.)

Be very careful about the message conveyed by your questions. Do not ask any questions about salary or benefits at this point in the interview process. Reserve those questions for a second interview. Think about the information you'd like to come out of the interview with, and formulate your questions based on that. The questions listed above are just samples to help get you started. There are many more question ideas in our career library.

Behavior Based Interviewing


  • Gather New Data, Other than the Information Clearly Included on the Resume; To Evaluate the Candidate's Job Skills, Ability, Willingness/Enthusiasm and Interest
  • Viewing Skills, Ability, Willingness/Enthusiasm and Interest as Applied to Context
  • Evaluate the Candidate's Ability to Learn, Change and Gain from Experience, Feedback, Success and Failure
  • Eight Questions to Separate Candidate from Image He/She is Trying to Present

Learning on the Fly

Definition: Learns quickly when facing new problems; a relentless and versatile learner; open to change; analyzes both successes and failures for clues to improvement; experiments and will try anything to find solutions; enjoys the challenge of unfamiliar tasks; quickly grasps the essence and the underlying structure of anything.

Question/Probe: Recall a time when your education and experience did not prepare you for a task. What did you do? How would you approach the same situation today.

Look For: Broad perspective; Catches on fast; Use of metaphors and analogies; Really bothered by not knowing something; Taught you something during the interview.

Customer Focus

Definition: Is dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirement of internal and external customers; gets first-hand customer information and uses it for improvements in products and services; acts with customers in mind; establishes and maintains effective relationships with customers and gains their trust and respect.

Question/Probe: When you think of companies who serve their customers well, which companies do you think of? Why? What would make those companies want to hire you?

Look For: Bone deep belief in serving customers; Sensitivity and empathy; Good conflict skills with customers; Likes talking to people; Seeks customer feedback.


Definition: Is cool under pressure; does not become defensive or irritated when times are tough; is considered mature; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; doesn't show frustration when resisted or blocked; is a settling influence in a crisis.

Question/Probe: Tell me about a difficult professional situation you had to manage. What did you learn from that experience?

Look For: Acknowledges feelings without wallowing in them; Calmness under stress; Defers to those in authority; Talking about not showing irritation; Realistic view of what is really happening in a situation.

Interpersonal Savvy

Definition: Relates well to all kinds of people, up down, and sideways, inside and outside the organization; builds rapport; builds constructive and effective relationships; uses diplomacy and tact; can diffuse even high-tension situations comfortably.

Question/Probe: Tell me about a time when you developed a strong professional relationship where none existed before. How comfortable are you in establishing new relationships?

Look For: Ability to anticipate what others will say or do; Differentiation/does not generalize a lot; Keeping personal feelings out of situations; Makes you feel comfortable; Values learning from others.

Integrity and Trust

Definition: Is widely trusted; is seen as a direct, truthful individual; can present the unvarnished truth in an appropriate and helpful manner; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; doesn't misrepresent him/herself for personal gain.

Question/Probe: Recall a time when you took an unpopular stance and stood firm on your position. How do you respond when others disagree with you?

Look For: Direct but diplomatic; Holding self/others accountable; Walks his/her talk; Courage; Ability to handle tough personal decisions with consequences.


Definition: Knows personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and limits; seeks feedback; gains insights from mistakes; is open to criticism; isn't defensive; is receptive to talking about shortcomings; looks forward to balanced (pluses and minuses) performance reviews and career discussions.

Question/Probe: Tell me about a time when you tried very hard, but failed. What did you learn from that experience?

Look For: Admits mistakes; Answers are not just socially acceptable; Comfortable with not being perfect; Credible weaknesses; Knows own strengths/weaknesses/limits in detail.


Definition: Enjoys working hard; is action oriented and full of energy for the things that he/she sees as challenging; not fearful of acting with minimum of planning; seizes opportunities when they arise.

Question/Probe: What is the most challenging opportunity you have undertaken? How did you choose your approach to that situation?

Look For: Lots of activities in short bursts; Awareness of impact on others; Driven by need to complete things rather than just habit; Tolerance for mistakes; Can take the heat; plows on when actions are not well received.

Service & Ethics

Definition: Understands business processes and procedures; accepts personal responsibility for seamless customer service; exercises customer-focused solutions; maintains and encourages personal and business integrity; demonstrates and models a high-standard of ethics

Question/Probe: Tell me about a time in which you 'bent the rules'? Tell me about a time or situations in which you would never bend the rules.

Look For: Commitment to solutions-focused customer problem-solving; Recognizes policies and procedures which may be barriers to service; Serves a model to others in serving customers and maintaining ethical standards; Willingness to take responsibility for upholding integrity and ethics; Manages ambiguity and encourages ethical standards.


Poor Match

  • Vague/General
  • Reactive
  • Reacting/Responsive
  • What/Describing
  • All or Nothing
  • Ordinary
  • Socially Acceptable
  • Spectator/Passive
  • Tight/Rigid
  • Passive
  • Sameness

Good Match

  • Sharp/Specific
  • Initiating
  • Adapting
  • Why/Explaining
  • Sees Many Sides
  • Insightful
  • Different
  • Player/Participant
  • Loose/Flexible
  • Intrigued/Curious
  • Diversity

Return to Interviewing

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