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Sample Questions

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The following gives you a sampling of some questions that may be asked during an interview. These have been broken down into different categories, including behavioral and interpersonal, as well as, …

The following gives you a sampling of some questions that may be asked during an interview. These have been broken down into different categories, including behavioral and interpersonal, as well as, profession based.


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  • 1. Professional Connections How well do you Interview? Wednesday, October 28, 2009 The following gives you a sampling of some questions that may be asked during an interview. These have been broken down into different categories, including behavioral and interpersonal, as well as, profession based. You want to be natural in your responses during an interview, however knowing how you would answer and respond to these questions is the best way to sound confident. When answering questions, be specific, give examples and demonstrate that you understand the question and have the experience to do the job. When interviewing for a position, make sure to tie your background and experiences to the specific job responsibilities they are looking to fill. Also, what is your closing statement? Do you have one? What will you leave the interviewers with? Key Points to remember: ♦ Execs Confront Problems With Multiple Solutions ♦ Answers Must Elicit Examples of Practical, On-Your-Feet Thinking ♦ Give specific examples of your experiences, explain… ♦ Company’s are looking for Emotional Intelligence (or EQ), not just IQ: o Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills ♦ Be able to Analyze Key Components of Complex Questions… ♦ Know what your competencies are and how to communicate them to the interviewer ♦ Be confident, not cocky…know that fine line between the two ♦ Be prepared, but not on autopilot ♦ Listen, take time to think (however, not too much time) ♦ Eye contact with all in the room ♦ Know what you don’t know, never try to bluff your way through it ♦ Know how you will close the deal ♦ RELAX and ENJOY, remember you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you 1
  • 2. Telephone Pre-Screen Is the salary range we have set for this position within your acceptable range? Why are you currently searching for a new position? What are the top three duties in the job you now have or in your most recent job? 1. 2. 3. What are some typical decisions that you make and how do you make them? Give me some examples. What do you think you would do for this organization that someone else wouldn’t? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Describe for me your ideal company. Behavioral Describe what you would say if asked to talk about yourself in a group of 15 people. If someone told you that you had made an error, describe how you would react and what you would say in your defense. If someone asked you for assistance with a matter that is outside the parameters of your job description, what would you do? You are a committee member and disagree with a point or decision. How will you respond? Describe what you would classify as a crisis. You are angry about an unfair decision. How do you react? Suppose you are in a situation where deadlines and priorities change frequently and rapidly. How would you handle it? How do you know when you are stressed? What do you do to de-stress? Tell me about a time when you were a part of a great team. What was your part in making the team effective? Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker. How did you handle the situation? How do you think your co-workers would respond if you were absent from work? 2
  • 3. Can you tell me about a time during your previous employment when you suggested a better way to perform a process? Tell me about a personal or career goal that you have accomplished and why that was important to you. Give an example of a time when you were trying to meet a deadline, you were interrupted, and did not make the deadline. How did you respond? What strengths did you rely on in your last position to make you successful in your work? What do you do when you know you are right and your boss disagrees with you? Give me an example of when this has happened in your career. Tell me about a situation you wish that you had handled differently based on the outcome. What was the situation? What would you change (or will you change) when faced with a similar situation? Suppose your supervisor asked you to get information for them that you know is confidential and he/she should not have access to. What would you do? Describe a time when you performed a task outside your perceived responsibilities. What was the task? Why did you perceive it to be outside your responsibilities? What was the outcome? It’s 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Your supervisor gives you an assignment that needs to be finished by 8:00 Monday morning. You have already made plans to be away the entire weekend. What would you do? If you observed a co-worker who made inappropriate sexual or racial remarks to another employee, and it was obvious to you that the situation was creating an uncomfortable environment, what would you do? Interpersonal What are your strengths? What would your last boss say about you? Describe how you like to be managed, and the best relationship you’ve had with a previous boss. If I asked your previous/current co-workers about you what would they say? Describe what you see as your strengths related to this job/position. Describe what you see as your weaknesses related to this job/position. Explain the phrase “work ethic” and describe yours. What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with? For example, assume you are in a situation where you have to deal with a person very different from yourself and you are finding it difficult. What would you do? What methods do you use to make decisions? When do you find it most difficult to make a decision? 3
  • 4. Describe a difficult time you have had dealing with an employee, customer, or co-worker. Why was it difficult? How did you handle it? What was the outcome? How would your co-workers describe your work style/habits? What do you do when others resist or reject your ideas or actions? What do you think are the best and worst parts of working in a team environment? How do you handle it? Under what kinds of conditions do you learn best? How would your past employers describe your response to hectic or stressful situations? How would your co-workers describe your work style or work habits? If I asked several of your co-workers about your greatest strength as a team member, what would they tell me? To you, which is more desirable: A business that is run in an efficient business-like manner OR a business that is run in a personal and friendly way? Creative Thinking What's the best book you've read in the last year? Please take a minute and tell us what you liked about it. What was the most creative thing you did in your last job? What is your interpretation of “success?” Describe an ideal work environment or “the perfect job.” In what way(s) do you express your personality in the workplace? Administrative What do you like about working with customers/clients? Dislike? Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult boss, co-worker or customer. How did you handle the situation? Give us an example of how you stay organized when juggling multiple tasks. Have you worked with under time constraints before? Can you give us an example? Was there a time when you struggled to meet a deadline? What is unique about your work style? What do you know about the company? 4
  • 5. Describe a time when you made a mistake at work? How did you deal with this situation and what was the outcome? What do you think of your last boss? What do you think your last boss would say about you and your work? Each boss is little different, my management philosophy /style is ______. In what way do you think that your work style would compliment mine? What do you foresee to be challenges or adjustments for us in this new role? Describe your previous experience with travel planning and reservations. What experience do you have scheduling meetings, conferences and ordering food and materials for meetings? How would you describe your skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access (relevant software used in the job)? Beginner, intermediate, or advanced? How many words per minute can you type? Engineering Tell me about a long-term engineering project that you were responsible for that required you to communicate with numerous people and departments. What do you enjoy most about the engineering field? Tell me about a time when you dealt with an engineering problem that tested your knowledge. How has your engineering experience required you to be proficient in the analysis of technical reports? If we offer you this position, what one technical contribution would you expect to make during the first three months on the job? Describe the most important written technical report that you had to complete. The last time that you experienced a technical problem during your workday; whom did you go for help? Why choose this person? Tell me about a time when you used your engineering knowledge to solve a problem that appeared to be unsolvable. Tell me about your normal experiences during a typical day in your current position. Explain how you can keep from getting bored when dealing with routine engineering work. Describe a time when you were instrumental in creating a good relationship with another department within your company. We often work in teams. Tell me about a time when an engineering team project failed. Think of a specific engineering project that you’ve completed. Were you successful in achieving the desired results? 5
  • 6. What was the most interesting/challenging technical proposal you’ve ever written? Give me an example of a time when you needed to help engineers learn a new skill set. What did you do? What do you believe is your most honed engineering skill? If you were given the responsibility to start an engineering department from scratch, what are the basics that you would need to consider? Describe a time when you needed to use the principles of logic to solve an engineering problem. Tell me about your most challenging engineering project. What aspects of engineering keep you from pursuing another profession? Describe a time when you had to make a very important and difficult decision that affected everyone in the engineering department. How do you keep your team from feeling overwhelmed when various projects in process are equally important? Give an example of when you used analytical techniques to design solutions to solve engineering problems. Give an example of a time when you had to quickly change project priorities. How did you do it? We are seeking engineers who focus on detail. What means do you use to keep from making mistakes? What type of person do you believe makes a good engineer? What type of personality traits must this person have? What means do you use to communicate step-by-step engineering processes when making a critical decision that involves other engineers? In your current engineering job, what is your usual schedule? How many hours do you work and when do you work them? Describe the workload at your current position. How do you feel about it? What would you change about it, if you could? Describe a time when you needed to discipline an engineer who reported directly to you. Managerial Define professional behavior and/or conduct appropriate in the workplace. Why do you think a team of people – sports team, work team, may not work well together? Tell us about your management style - people, teamwork, direction? 6
  • 7. Describe an ideal supervisor. What is your own philosophy of management? How have you participated in planning processes? Is it more important to be a detail oriented person, or a big picture person? Explain. What was the most challenging personnel issue you’ve had to deal with and how did you handle it? Describe for me a time when you have come across questionable business practices; how did you handle the situation? A new policy is to be implemented organization-wide. You do not agree with this new policy. How do you discuss this policy with your staff? Describe for me a decision you made which would normally have been made by your supervisor? What was the outcome? Discuss and differentiate between remediation, corrective action, and discipline. Explain, step by step, how you have handled an employee who had performance problems. Why should employees seek to improve their knowledge and skill base? How would you motivate them to do so? What coaching or mentoring experience have you had? With groups or one-on-one? How did you determine the appropriate way to coach/mentor and what were the results? Management requires both good writing and verbal skills for good communication. When it comes to giving information to employees that can be done either way, do you prefer to write a memo OR talk to the employee? When making a decision to fire an employee, do you find it easy because of the company’s needs OR difficult because of the employee’s needs? Managing requires motivating employees as well as accomplishing tasks. Do you find it more natural to point out what’s wrong so employees can accomplish tasks competently OR to praise employees for their work and then point out what may need correcting? Managers need good information and managers need to make good decisions. Do you tend to gather information up to a deadline in order to make a better-informed decision OR gather just enough information to make a good decision quickly? What is the largest number of employees you have supervised and what were their job functions? Are you best at dealing with details and day-to-day operations OR with concepts, envisioning and future planning? Give me an example. Information Technology In your experience, what are the essential elements of an IT disaster recovery plan? 7
  • 8. Describe the types of network security features you have implemented or maintained in the past. When you have several users experiencing computer problems, how do you determine which users get help first? Describe your decision-making process when selecting which IT certifications to pursue. Of your certifications, which one(s) have you found most helpful when you encounter technical problems on the job? In your opinion, how does managing a staff of technical workers differ from managing other kinds of workers? What brands of hardware do you feel most comfortable dealing with? What software have you had the most success supporting? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for success as a technical support worker? Describe a past situation in which you provided excellent customer service to a user. Sales In what sales venues have you been involved? Describe the sales activities in which you were engaged in your last job. What were your responsibilities from the commencement to the end of the sales cycle? How would you rate yourself as a closer? As a sales rep, what support, either administrative or sales assistance, did you receive? Have you ever been engaged in team sales? How would you describe your abilities as a business developer? As a business maintainer? How were your incentives structured in your last job? Did you have assigned quotas or targets? What, historically, has been your quota/target penetration ratio? How much of your time was devoted to sales vs. other assigned duties? What was the best sales training program you have participated in? Describe the ideal sales job from your perspective. How would your prior sales managers describe your sales capabilities? For business development? For enhancing existing customer business? 8
  • 9. Describe the best sales incentive plan you have worked under. Describe the ideal sales support you would need to be most effective as a sales rep.. What was the worst sales role you have been engaged in? What does customer mean to you? What does servicing the sale mean to you? Project Management What type of projects have you managed in the past? Have you had a non-productive team member on your project team? What happened and how did you handle this situation? What did you bring to the last position you were in? Describe how your strengths improved the team. What was the last big project you worked on? • How did you start this project? • What were the deliverables? • What metrics did you use to measure ongoing project status? • What, if any, cost overrun issues did you have? How did you handle these? • What other obstacles did you overcome? • Were the deadlines met? (Why or why not?) • What would you have done differently? Describe specific project for this position. • How would you start this project? • Who should be on the project team? Why? • What are the three biggest risks for this project? • What control measures/techniques would you put in place to overcome these three risks? 9