Sample interview questions and keywords
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  • 1. Interviewing Tips and Skills Workshop Sample Interview Questions Remember, employers want to know how your experiences, personality, skills, knowledge, and ideas are going to better their business. Keep this in mind when answering questions.  What is your greatest accomplishment?Give an example of a time when you did something that saved your employermoney, improved or streamlined a process, or increased sales. If you cannot thinkof an example like this, use an example from school, volunteering, or extra-curricular activities that shows initiative, leadership, or decision making.  Why should we hire you?The employer will most likely have several interviews planned for the position.You have to make yourself stand out from the others. Talk about ways that yourprevious experience, accomplishments, talents, or training and education haveprepared you for the job.  Why do you want to make a change now?NEVER bring up negative information. Even if you are wishing to leave anundesirable situation, don’t bring up negative information or opinions about yourcurrent employer. Always answer this question in terms of developing yourpotential or exploring new opportunities. If your company is downsizing, or youhave been notified of a pending layoff, be honest about that. This shows that youhave initiative and you are willing to get back to work as soon as possible.  Tell me about a problem you had in your last job and how you resolved it.An employer asks this question to find out how well you solve problems and workwith a team. To prepare for this question, write out experiences at previous jobswhere you solved a problem that occurred, especially with the help andcooperation of others. This may take some brainstorming, but remember,
  • 2. sometimes even what seems like the smallest problems take a lot of cooperationand planning to solve.  Why do you want to work for our company?This is where your research comes in! Use examples from what you learned aboutthe company and your transferable skills to answer this question. For example:“Customer Service is very important to me. As you can see by looking at myresume, I’ve gone through extensive customer service training programs, and Ithink it’s really the key to a successful business. When I read that your restaurantwon “The Best Customer Service Award” three years running in the Ruidoso News,I was very impressed.”  What kind of person are you?Again, employers want to know how you are going to use your personal qualitiesto benefit their business. Go back to your list of Job Description traits and yourTransferable Skills. Refer to the keywords list, attached.  What interests you most about this position?Be sincere about this question, and answer enthusiastically. If you can’t come upwith an answer to this question, evaluate whether you should be interviewing forthe position. You shouldn’t have to fake enthusiasm. Keep your key words inmind. “I’m really interested in working with small children. I’m excited about theopportunity to work for a day care center that has such a stellar reputation”.  What are your greatest strengths?Again, the real question here is “What are your best qualities, and how can ourbusiness can gain from them?” Use your key words as they pertain to pastexperience and knowledge, especially if there is a particular training, experience,or honor you’ve received. Try to use specific examples to back up your keywords.For example: “I am very knowledgeable when it comes to safety training-I haveattended advanced CPR training for six years consecutively…………I’m very
  • 3. dedicated to customer service--my performance reviews have been the highest inthe company for accuracy, sales, and customer service, for the last twoyears…………I’m a team player—I helped with a major project involving three otherdepartments, which helped our company to increase sales by 25%”.  Can you name some of your weaknesses?The employer doesn’t necessarily want to hear that you have an uncontrollableweakness for chocolate cake, or that you hate getting up in the morning. Try toturn this into a positive, as well. For example: “I sometimes take on too muchwork—I need to learn to delegate.” Or, “Sometimes I get lost in the details of aproject and have a problem focusing on the big picture”. This is a tough question(and an unfair one!) Beware of sounding “fake” when you are answering thisquestion. “I think I’m too good at my job. It sometimes can make people jealous”is probably not a good answer to this one.  What do you know about our organization?Again, this is the time to show off all the research you did. Use specific examplesand reiterate how the company’s best qualities align with yours.  What did you enjoy most about your last job? Least?Keywords, again! Look for those keywords in the job description and describe yourfavorite or least favorite previous job attributes in those terms. For example, “Iliked working with customers. It was very fulfilling to know that you’ve providedgreat service to someone and have brightened your day.” Or, “I would have likeda little more organization when it came to the staff’s daily duties. Themanagement sometimes discouraged task lists, and it sometimes causedconfusion among employees.”  Where do you see yourself in five years“Living in Costa Rica, off of my lottery winnings.” Again, one of these unfairquestions that is very difficult to answer. Keep in mind that the employer isalways thinking of how hiring you will improve their business, and that you have
  • 4. aspirations for personal and professional growth. If you don’t have a specific plan,it’s okay. A good way to answer this question is: “I definitely will have advancedin my career, whether it’s through a promotion or perhaps expandedresponsibilities. Ideally, I will have learned a great deal and will be in a position tobe performing to the best of my abilities and have the opportunity to mentor andtrain new employees”.
  • 5. Resume and Interviewing Key WordsCommunication and People SkillsAddressed Debated Interviewed PublicizedAdvertised Defined Involved ReconciledArbitrated Developed Joined RecruitedArranged Directed Judged ReferredArticulated Discussed Lectured ReinforcedAuthored Drafted Listened ReportedClarified Edited Marketed ResolvedCollaborated Elicited Mediated RespondedCommunicated Enlisted Moderated SolicitedComposed Explained Negotiated SpecifiedCondensed Expressed Observed SpokeConferred Formulated Outlined SuggestedConsulted Furnished Participated SummarizedContacted Incorporated Persuaded SynthesizedConveyed Influenced Presented TranslatedConvinced Interacted Promoted WroteCorresponded Interpreted ProposedCreative SkillsActed Customized Formulated ModifiedAdapted Designed Founded OriginatedAddressed Developed Illustrated Performed
  • 6. Began Directed Initiated PhotographedCared for Displayed Instituted PlannedCombined Drew Integrated RevisedComposed Entertained Introduced RevitalizedConceptualized Established Invented ShapedCondensed Fashioned Modeled SolvedCreatedData/Financial SkillsAdjusted Budgeted Forecasted ProgrammedAdministered Calculated Managed ProjectedAllocated Computed Marketed QualifiedAnalyzed Conserved Measured ReconciledAppraised Corrected Netted ReducedAssessed Determined Planned ResearchedAudited Developed Prepared RetrievedBalanced EstimatedHelping SkillsAdapted Collaborated Facilitated ProvidedAdvocated Contributed Familiarized ReferredAided Cooperated Furthered RehabilitatedAnswered Counseled Guided RepresentedArranged Demonstrated Helped ResolvedAssessed Diagnosed Insured Simplified
  • 7. Assisted Educated Intervened SuppliedCared for Encouraged Mentored SupportedClarified Ensured Motivated VolunteeredCoached Expedited PreventedManagement/Leadership SkillsAdministered Delegated Incorporated PresidedAnalyzed Developed Increased PrioritizedAppointed Directed Initiated ProducedApproved Eliminated Inspected RecommendedAssigned Emphasized Instituted ReorganizedAttained Enforced Led ReplacedAuthorized Enhanced Managed RestoredChaired Established Merged ReviewedConsidered Executed Motivated ScheduledConsolidated Generated Navigated SecuredContracted Handled Organized SelectedControlled Headed Originated StreamlinedConverted Hired Overhauled StrengthenedCoordinated Hosted Oversaw SupervisedDecided Improved Planned TerminatedMore SkillsAchieved Expanded Quoted TransferredCompleted Perfected Sparked Treated
  • 8. Effected Pioneered Spearheaded UnifiedElectrifiedOrganization SkillsApproved Executed Organized ScheduledArranged Filed Prepared ScreenedCatalogued Generated Processed Set upCategorized Implemented Provided SortedCharted Incorporated Purchased StandardizedClassified Inspected Recorded SubmittedCoded Logged Registered SuppliedCollected Maintained Reserved SystematizedCompiled Monitored Responded UpdatedCorrected Obtained Reviewed ValidatedCorresponded Operated Routed VerifiedDistributed OrderedResearch SkillsAnalyzed Diagnosed Identified ResearchedClarified Evaluated Inspected ReviewedCollected Examined Interviewed SearchedCompared Experimented Invented SolvedConducted Explored Investigated SummarizedCritiqued Extracted Located SurveyedDetected Formulated Measured Systematized
  • 9. TestedDetermined Gathered OrganizedTeaching SkillsAdapted Developed Individualized SimulatedAdvised Enabled Informed StimulatedClarified Encouraged Instilled TaughtCoached Evaluated Instructed TestedCommunicated Explained Motivated TrainedConducted Facilitated Persuaded TransmittedCoordinated Focused Set goals TutoredCritiqued GuidedTechnical SkillsAdapted Debugged Operated ReplacedApplied Designed Overhauled RestoredAssembled Determined Printed SolvedBuilt Developed Programmed SpecializedCalculated Engineered Rectified StandardizedComputed Fabricated Regulated StudiedConserved Fortified Remodeled UpgradedConstructed Installed Repaired UtilizedConverted Maintained