Sample Interview Questions with Answers
Before you head out to a job interview, it's a good idea to practice
answering the types of interview questions employers will likely ask. The
Web can be extremely helpful with that, as interviewing is among the
most-popular employment topics.
Even so, career advisors can't possibly tell you exactly which
interview questions to expect, and especially how to answer them.
Interviews are just too personal and situational for that, and there are
no single, correct answers anyway. To make it even more complex, there are
several interview techniques, resulting in an infinite number of potential
questions and answers.
But at least career advisors can give you a feel for the techniques,
plus lists of typical interview questions. That's what this article is
Interviewers generally use one or more of the following interview
- General or Traditional - Canned and common questions about yourself
- Behavioral - Probes your competencies and how you acted in certain
- Case or Hypothetical - Challenges your problem-solving skills
spontaneously and what you'd do "if"
Interviewers usually start with the traditional, canned interview
questions and work their way into one or more of the other types, over the
course of one or more interviews.
Sample Interview Questions with Answers
Sample interview questions of the common type are listed below. Answers
are included. But perhaps suggestions for tailoring your responses is a
better way to put it, since specific answers are impossible to provide.
Practice answering these sample interview questions out loud to yourself
or ask a friend or relative to help you.
Don't feel that you have to answer right away. Interviewers know that
you're nervous and expect you to think a bit, so do think carefully before
you answer. But don't hesitate too long or it'll appear that you're
stalling. Interviewers will ask open-ended questions to see where you'll
go with them, so try not to ramble while you're thinking of a real answer.
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. This is the dreaded, classic, open-ended interview question and
likely to be among the first. It's your chance to introduce your
qualifications, good work habits, etc. Keep it mostly work and career
Q. Why do you want to leave your current job? (Why did you leave
your last job?)
A. Be careful with this. Avoid trashing other employers and making
statements like, "I need more money." Instead, make generic
statements such as, "It's a career move."
Q. What are your strengths?
A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job.
Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. Everybody has weaknesses, but don't spend too much time on this
one and keep it work related. Along with a minor weakness or two, try to
point out a couple of weaknesses that the interviewer might see as
strengths, such as sometimes being a little too meticulous about the
quality of your work. (Avoid saying "I work too hard." It's a
predictable, common answer.) For every weakness, offer a strength that
compensates for it.
Q. Which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
A. Answer with positive, work-oriented adjectives, such as conscientious,
hard-working, honest and courteous, plus a brief
description or example of why each fits you well.
Q. What do you know about our company?
A. To answer this one, research the company
before you interview.
Q. Why do you want to work for us?
A. Same as above. Research the company
before you interview. Avoid the predictable, such as, "Because it's a
great company." Say why you think it's a great company.
Q. Why should I hire you?
A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job, and the
good job you've done in the past. Include any compliments you've received
Q. What past accomplishments gave you satisfaction?
A. Briefly describe one to three work projects that made you proud
or earned you pats on the back, promotions, raises, etc. Focus more on
achievement than reward.
Q. What makes you want to work hard?
A. Naturally, material rewards such as perks, salary and benefits
come into play. But again, focus more on achievement and the satisfaction
you derive from it.
Q. What type of work environment do you like best?
A. Tailor your answer to the job. For example, if in doing your job
you're required to lock the lab doors and work alone, then indicate that
you enjoy being a team player when needed, but also enjoy working
independently. If you're required to attend regular project planning and
status meetings, then indicate that you're a strong team player and like
being part of a team.
Q. Why do you want this job?
A. To help you answer this and related questions, study the job ad
in advance. But a job ad alone may not be enough, so it's okay to ask
questions about the job while you're answering. Say what attracts you to
the job. Avoid the obvious and meaningless, such as, "I need a
Q. How do you handle pressure and stress?
A. This is sort of a double whammy, because you're likely already
stressed from the interview and the interviewer can see if you're handling
it well or not. Everybody feels stress, but the degree varies. Saying that
you whine to your shrink, kick your dog or slam down a fifth of Jack
Daniels are not good answers. Exercising, relaxing with a good book,
socializing with friends or turning stress into productive energy are more
along the lines of the "correct" answers.
Q. Explain how you overcame a major obstacle.
A. The interviewer is likely looking for a particular example of
your problem-solving skills and the pride you show for solving it.
Q. Where do you see yourself five (ten or fifteen) years from now?
A. Explain your career-advancement goals that are in line with the
job for which you are interviewing. Your interviewer is likely more
interested in how he, she or the company will benefit from you achieving
your goals than what you'll get from it, but it goes hand in hand to a
large degree. It's not a good idea to tell your potential new boss that
you'll be going after his or her job, but it's okay to mention that you'd
like to earn a senior or management position.
Q. What qualifies you for this job?
A. Tout your skills, experience, education and other
qualifications, especially those that match the job description well.
Avoid just regurgitating your resume. Explain why.
Q. Why did you choose your college major?
A. The interviewer is likely fishing to see if you are interested
in your field of work or just doing a job to get paid. Explain why you
like it. Besides your personal interests, include some rock-solid business
reasons that show you have vision and business sense.