Typical Interview Questions

What to expect during the interview

This is perhaps the part of the interviewing process that causes the most stress. What are they going to ask? The best way to prepare is to review common interview questions and think about your answers.

  • Tell me about yourself. What about this position interests you the most?
  • Why did you choose Oglethorpe University? Why did you choose your major?
  • What was your favorite course? Why? Least favorite course? Why?
  • Are your grades a good indication of your abilities? Why?
  • How has your education prepared you for this position?
  • What do you expect from your employer?
  • What do you think makes a good manager?
  • Tell me about your _____ and how it prepared you for this particular position.
  • Tell me about your involvement in activities during college.
  • Identify a goal you have not attained. Why not?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenge facing organizations such as ours?
  • What motivates you? What are the important rewards you expect from your career?
  • What have you learned from previous work experiences that will assist you in this position?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? Why?
  • What are your short/long term goals? Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success?
  • Do you have any geographic restrictions? Are you willing to relocate?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • What position are you interested in and why?
  • What criterion is most important to you in choosing an employer?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are three of your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What strengths do you have that we have not discussed?
  • Do you prefer working alone or with others?
  • What is your favorite book? Last one you’ve read?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What is the newest thing you learned or did?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • How familiar are you with computers? To what extent?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • Have you thought about attending graduate school? When? Where? Program?
  • Who is your hero? Why?
  • Why should I hire you?
An increasingly popular way for employers to determine whether you‟re the right fit, behavioral interviews focus on your past behavior in actual work or conflict situations. Why? The philosophy is simple and straightforward: Your past behavior predicts your future behavior.

Behavioral interviewing is designed to minimize personal impressions that might cloud the hiring decision. By focusing on the applicant‟s actions and behaviors, rather than subjective impressions, interviewers can make more accurate hiring decisions.

  • Tell me about a recent project you had to plan. What went well? What might you have done better?
  • Tell me about a specific time when you eliminated or avoided a potential problem before it happened?
  • What is the most difficult situation you have faced? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Tell me about a time you were criticized. What was the issue involved, who made the criticism, and how did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to approach several different people for support or cooperation. How did you approach them?
  • Give me an example of how you exercised leadership in a recent situation. What did you do to gain the team or group’s cooperation?
  • Describe a time on the job when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Tell me about a recent team you worked on/with. How may you have handled someone who was not as cooperative as needed?
  • How would you motivate someone who is not motivated?
  • At your job, how did you know if your internal/external customers were satisfied?
  • Tell me about a time you had to conform to a policy with which you didn’t agree.
  • Even though we may do everything possible to satisfy a customer, it seems that some will complain about how they were treated. Tell me about the last customer who complained about the service you provided.

Follow up questions will test for consistency and determine if you exhibited the desired behavior in that situation:

  • Can you give me an example?
  • What did you do and say?
  • What were you thinking?
  • How did you feel?
  • What was your role?
  • What was the result?

To prepare, think “S.T.A.R.”
1) The situation you were involved in or task you had to perform
2) The actions you took
3) The results of your actions

ALWAYS have a few questions prepared to ask the employer (minimum of 3-5). This shows preparation, professional maturity, and most importantly…interest! So ask yourself: What do I need to know in order to make an informed decision?

  • Have you had a chance to review my resume? Did it raise any questions about my qualifications that I can answer?
  • Can you describe the duties of the job for me? What is a typical day like?
  • What type of orientation and training programs do you have?
  • What do you consider ideal experience for the job?
  • Can you tell me about the people I would be working with?
  • What are the primary results you would like to see me produce?
  • Can you give me some idea as to the retention rate(s) for new staff?
  • To whom will I report?
  • Can you tell me about your personnel evaluation process? Who will evaluate me? How often will I be evaluated? When will I have my first evaluation?
  • What are your expectations of new staff members?
  • Can you tell me about professional development opportunities within the organization?
  • To what extent are technical support services (computer hardware/software and courses) provided to staff?
  • Can you tell me about any opportunities for advancement?
  • How would you characterize the working environment here?
  • Can you tell me about the organization’s philosophy of management?

As the interview concludes, you should always ask:

  • What is the next step in the interview/hiring process?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • How will you contact me?

Never ask about salary, vacation, health, retirement package, etc. … it will reflect misplaced priorities. You will find out this information later in the process.