Listed below is a sampling of interview questions that you should
be prepared to answer. Included are hints for possible responses.
Remember that writing out your answers and practicing can help
a lot! You may want to write out these answers within your job
1. Tell me something about yourself.
Most people shudder when asked this question, however this
provides you with an excellent opportunity to discuss how you
meet the qualification they are looking for. This question is
aimed at finding out what kind of person you are, not merely
about your job skills. You may wish to emphasize your personal
strengths, interests and abilities. Try to keep the examples
you use work related. Don't get carried away telling them only
about your personal life and your recreational activities.
2. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
Highlight your most positive attributes (i.e., skill, reliability,
experience, enthusiasm...) Make sure to use examples to illustrate
your positive qualities and how they apply to work. Do not describe
any weaknesses that may be important to doing the job. Avoid
making negative comments. Talk about things that you have improved
and the steps you took to do so.
3. What five words would you say describe you best?
When asked to select words to describe yourself, select
only positive aspects.
4. Have you ever done this kind of work before?
The interviewer is asking this question to try to find
out if you have the necessary skills and experience to do the
job. Never say "no" to this type of question. Since
no two jobs are the same, what the interviewer wants to know
is whether you can learn to do the job in a reasonable amount
of time. Mention skills that are transferable, also known as
Employability Skills - skills that you can apply to any work
situation. Discuss your education/training and non-paid experiences
in relation to this job. Employability skills are developed
in any life situation; don't forget about volunteer work. Describe
how quickly you have learned that type of work in the past.
5. What are your long-range goals?
The interviewer is trying to find out whether this position
fits in with your long-term plans. The items to stress are that
you like the company/organization, you hope to become a valuable
employee, and that you hope you will be in a role which challenges
you and enables you to make an effective contribution to the
company. Be careful about making statements concerning your
desire for promotion. Being too eager for a promotion may show
you do not want the job you applied for.
6. Why do you want to work here?
When an interviewer asks you this they are trying to learn
if you will be satisfied with your job and are likely to stay.
It is also a way to see whether or not you have done any research
on the company. Your answer can separate you from the other
candidates who did not bother to research the company before
the interview. Mention as many positive features about the job,
company or organization as you can.
7. Why did you leave your last job?
Why do you want to leave your job?
When the interviewer asks you why you left your last job
or why you want to leave your present job, they are trying to
find out if you had difficulties that may also arise with them.
The employer may be afraid that you don't get along very well
with other people. In describing your last job, say as many
positive things as you can about it even if it had many downsides
- all jobs do. Try not to say anything negative about the company
or your supervisor, only that your needs did not fit with the
job. Never criticize the company or your supervisor- you never
know who knows who. If you speak negatively about your last
job or supervisor, the interviewer will think you will do the
same to them. On the other hand, they will like to hear you
speaking in a positive way about your old company. They will
feel that you are likely to be saying the same things about
8. How much were you absent from your last job?
This question is asked to determine whether you are dependable.
If your past attendance record was good, this question should
be a breeze. However, if you missed a lot of work in your last
job due to illness or personal reasons, you may need to reassure
the employer that you are well now or that these issues have
been resolved and you don't expect regular attendance to be
a concern in the future. You need to assure the employer that
you will be reliable and committed to the position you are applying
9. What was your last employer's opinion of you?
The best answer to the general question about your last
employer's opinion of you is to have an open letter of recommendation
from your last employer, which you can then summarize and show,
to the interviewer. If you do not have such a letter, list the
positive things they would say about you. Suggest that the interviewer
contact your employer, and express your assurance that they
will speak highly of you. Supply the interviewer with a list
of references, including phone numbers.
10. What kind of salary are you expecting?
When you are asked about your salary requirements in an
interview, the interviewer is trying to find out if your expectations
are too high for them. Of course, you want as much as the company
is willing to pay. However, by naming a salary at the interview,
you can only harm yourself. If the interviewer insists on an
answer, give a range rather than a specific number. If you know
what the salary range is, mention something at the top of the
range. If you have a good idea what the going rate for a job
like this is, again mention something at the top of the range.
If you don't know what the salary range is, add a reasonable
increase to your current salary. Whatever you do- do not state
this as a solid figure. Let them know the salary you mentioned
is negotiable. The real salary negotiations will start after
you have been offered the job.
11. Why should we hire you instead of someone else?
When you are asked this direct question, the interviewer
is asking you, in a sense, to make their decision for them.
If you have to hesitate or can think of only one or two reasons,
then they will feel that the reasons are not too obvious or
not sufficient. You should quickly list your skills and positive
12. What kind of machines/software can you operate?
If the interviewer asks this question, then, obviously,
skill in this area is very important, and you should detail
your experience and skills. Be as clear as possible about your
expertise- it shows you know what you are talking about. If
the interviewer asks about equipment you haven't had experience
with, describe what types of similar packages/machines you have
worked with, and convey your confidence that you can learn quickly.
13. Can you work under pressure or tight deadlines?
This question indicates that your job will involve working
under pressure and deadlines, so reassure the interviewer by
giving examples of paid or unpaid activities that involved deadlines/pressure.
Mention several examples, stressing how capable you were in
rising to the occasion, that you did not mind the stress, and
possibly even enjoyed it!
14. What do you think of working in a group?
With this question, you are being asked to demonstrate
your ability to get along well with others. Speak of the advantages
of working in a group. For example, you might explain how the
various individuals in the group complement one another in carrying
out certain tasks. Be prepared to give concrete examples of
personal experience in a group.
15. When can you start?
Try to give them a date as soon as possible. Many things
may cause you to hesitate about committing yourself. Now is
not the time to mention them. If you hesitate now, you may not
get the job offer. Maybe you are uncertain about wanting the
job, have scheduling problems, or are waiting to hear about
other job opportunities. Wait until you are actually offered
the position to discuss your concerns.
16. Would you be willing to work as a temporary or contract
Consider this a viable alternative to permanent employment.
Temporary/contract work will get your foot in the door, give
you a chance to prove yourself, give you new current experiences
and additional references. Think hard before turning down this
More Standard Interview Questions
Think of your own answers for these questions -- practice makes
What attracted you to this position?
Are you a team player?
Why should we hire you?
What parts of a job do you find most/least satisfying?
What motivates you?
What are the most important rewards you expect in and from your
What would you say has been your proudest accomplishment(s)
so far? What has been your greatest disappointment?
What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
What have you learned from your mistakes?
What qualifications do you have that make you think you will
be successful in this position?
What have you done which shows initiative and willingness to
What are your short/long-range goals, and how are you preparing
yourself to achieve them?
What do you see yourself doing five years from now?