Introductory / background questions
These questions are designed to find out a little bit more about you. It is a chance for you to explain what you have done, your attitudes and values, and the choices you've made in your life . It is often a good idea to start with the most recent information and work backwards and also to start with a brief synopsis. Remember, that you need to be informative without going into so much detail that you bore your interviewers.
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Is there an achievement of which you are particularly proud? What is it and why is it significant?
With these questions, you need to demonstrate to the interviewer that you have thought about what it is that you want from work and what you hope to achieve. At the same time you need to assure them that you are flexible and would be prepared to work in a range of areas.
- What are your long term and short term goals and objectives? How are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
- What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
- Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
Employers are often keen to find out what your major areas of interest are so that they can better assess how well you will fit into their organisation, both now as well as your potential to develop with the organisation in the future.
- What interests you about our industry?
- What interests you most about this job?
- What kinds of positions are you most interested in?
- Do you have a geographical preference? Where would you like to work? Why?
- Will you relocate? Are you willing to travel?
- How much do you expect to be paid?
- What has been the extent of your job search so far? What other applications have you made?
Your contribution to the organisation
- Why should we consider you for this position?
- In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
- What others skills would you like to develop in the future?
- Is there anything else we should take into account to help us make a decision?
Commitment to work and to the organisation
- An employer is interested to know how you think that you might fit into their organisation.
- Why did you decide to seek a position with this company?
- What do you know about our company?
- What do you understand is the current climate of the ... industry?
- How do you keep informed professionally?
- Give me an example in your career where you felt like giving up but managed to keep going.
With these questions interviewers hope to gain more of an insight into how well your studies meet their needs. Most importantly, they are interested in the reasoning behind why you chose the course that you did and what you think that you got out of it.
- Why did you choose to major in ...?
- What led you to choose your field or major of study?
- What university subjects did you like best? Least? Why?
- Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
- What courses have you taken that prepared you for this position?
- What part of your education do you see as being most relevant to this position?
- Is your academic performance any indication of how you will do this job?
- What do you like about your discipline of study?
- Do you have any vacation employment or previous experience in this or a related field?
- What type of work experience have you had and how do you feel that it has helped prepare you for a graduate position?
- Most jobs have their frustrations and problems. Describe some that have been particularly dissatisfying to you.
- What have been the most satisfying aspects of jobs that you have held?
- What has been the value of your previous work experience?
With these questions employers are trying to gain a better understanding of you, and thereby better assess how well you are going to fit in with the company. There are no right answers to these questions but it is important to think about how your interests and goals fit in with what the company does and how it hopes to develop in the future.
- What are your outside interests?
- Who is your favourite novelist?
- Do you like/dislike football?
Approach to work
Employers are often interested in knowing how you manage different responsibilities, particularly how you prioritise your time.
- How do you work under pressure?
- How do you balance work priorities and those of your personal and family life?
- Give me an example of when you had to work to an important deadline. What did you do to ensure that the deadline was met?
- Have you ever had to persuade people to your way of thinking?
- Describe a situation when you had to explain a difficult concept to someone. Tell me about your approach. How do you know they understood?
Problem solving / analytical skills
- Here is a problem we faced recently ... How would you have dealt with that?
- Tell me about a time when, despite careful planning, things got out of hand.
- How would you deal with a problem you had not encountered before?
Teamwork / leadership
- Have you been in any situations where you have been required to perform as part of a team? What was the situation, what part did you play in the team and what was the outcome of the exercise?
- Can you describe a time when your team fell appart. What was your role in the outcome?
- What kind of people do you find difficult to work with? Why?
- Tell me about a difficult situation when you pulled the team together.
- Tell me about a time when you took a leadership role of a group.
- What is your style of influencing / leading people?
Creativity / initiative
- Have you ever been responsible for the generation of a new idea or suggestion? Describe and explain.
- Tell me of a time when you generated a creative solution to a problem.
- What is your definition of "excellent" client service?
- Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to help a client.
- Describe a situation illustrates how you developed a positive relationship with a client.