Interview Questions

Commonly Asked Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What do you really want to do in life?
  • What do you plan to achieve in your career goals?
  • What do see yourself doing in five years?
  • What do you expect to be earning in five years?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What do you consider your greatest strengths and challenges?
  • How would your friends or professors describe you?
  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • What are your long-term and short-term goals? How are you preparing to achieve them?
  • How do you determine and evaluate success?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in an organization like ours?
  • In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our staff?
  • What qualities should a successful manager possess?
  • Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those who report to him or her?
  • Describe your most rewarding experience?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Do you consider yourself a hard worker?
  • Do you plan to continue your education?
  • Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement?
  • What have you learned from participation in extra curricular or volunteer activities?
  • In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • How would describe your ideal job?
  • Why did you decide to seek a position with this organization?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What two or three things are most important to you on the job?
  • Do you have a geographic preference?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • Are you willing to spend at least six months as a trainee?
  • What skills do you bring to us and how can you put them to use?
  • What major problems have you encountered and how did you solve or resolve them?
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • Why do you want to work in this industry, and for our company?
  • What kind of boss do you prefer?  Why?
  • What are some important lessons you have learned from jobs you have held?
  • What types of books do you read? What was the last one you read?
  • Do you consider yourself a leader? Give an example.
  • Are you a creative person? Give an example.
  • Are you analytical? Give an example.
  • What other firms are you talking to and why?
  • What role do you take in group situations? Give examples.
  • What research have you done on our company and on our industry?
  • Have you developed good interpersonal skills?
  • Describe your problem solving skills.
  • Describe your study habits.
  • What do you look for in a job and why do you look for those things?
  • What type of salary are you worth, and why do you think so?
  • What are the five biggest accomplishments of your life?
  • How long would you stay with us?
  • If you could change something in the course of your life, what would you change?
  • Describe your ideal picture of success.
  • What interests you most about this position?
  • Describe your personality.
  • What would you look for in hiring people for this job?
  • Describe the ideal employee.
  • Can you work independently, make decisions and take charge?
  • What do you do in your leisure time? What are your hobbies?
  • Are you willing to work overtime?

Questions to Ask During the Interview

  • If hired, would I be filling a newly created position, or replacing someone?
  • Was my predecessor promoted?
  • Describe a typical day and the things I would be doing.
  • Which duties are most important for this job? Which are least important?
  • How would I be trained or introduced to the job?
  • How long should it take me to get my feet on the ground and become productive?
  • How is the job important to the company?
  • What are the department’s goals for the year?
  • Who are the people I would be working with and what do they do?
  • To whom will I be reporting?
  • How would I get feedback on my job performance, if hired?
  • Has the company had any layoffs in the last three years?
  • Is this company owned by any other company?
  • Are annual sales for this company ahead of last year’s sales?
  • If you were to offer me this job, where could I expect to be in five years?
  • What are the prospects for future growth?
  • What are the major challenges and objectives currently faced by the department?
  • What is the basis for measuring employee performance?
  • How frequently are performance evaluations done?
  • To what position would I likely progress?
  • What factors are used to determine promotional eligibility?
  • What training and development is provided to the employee to help prepare for future promotion and advancement?
  • How often are employee salaries reviewed?
  • How could I exceed your expectations?
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Interview Tips

In order to conduct a successful job search, it is important not to wait until you have scheduled job interviews to begin to hone your skills. Learn about the art of interviewing and practice sound interviewing techniques by gaining knowledge of how to better sell yourself to an interviewer and to present powerful interview answers. Career Services Center contains numerous resources on various interview styles, do's and don'ts, and frequently asked questions. In addition, you may make an appointment with a counselor to address your interviewing concerns and participate in a “mock” interview designed to give you a valuable opportunity to improve your interviewing techniques. To schedule a “mock” interview, please contact our office.

Interview Prep Tools

Before the Interview

  • Write down the complete address of the location where the interview will be held.
  • Know the name(s) of the person(s) with whom you are interviewing.
  • Be punctual. Better yet, arrive 10-15 minutes early.
  • Research the job and the company.
  • Be prepared with questions to ask the interviewer(s).
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Come into the Career Center and practice your interviewing skills.

During the Interview

  • Enter the interview confidently, walking straight and tall. Smile.
  • Extend your hand for a firm handshake.
  • Use good eye contact.
  • Speak clearly; do not use slang or inappropriate language.
  • Answer the questions truthfully, thoroughly, yet concisely.
  • Avoid being negative; do not criticize past employers.
  • At the end of the interview, obtain business cards (if possible) and thank the interviewer(s) for his/her/their time.
  • Leave with a warm handshake and a smile.

After the Interview

  • Immediately send a thank you note.
  • Follow-up with a telephone call a week later if you have not heard from human resources.

Things to DO in an Interview

  • Show up.
  • Compliment the facilities and location of the office.
  • Bring a well-polished resume and several letters of recommendation.
  • Show up early and well-rested so you can be at the top of your game.
  • Be polite, and refer to everyone as "sir" or "ma'am".
  • Make sure to have eaten before your interview to avoid any embarrassing stomach noises.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to make sure that you get there early.
  • Bring several extra copies of your resume just in case.
  • Greet your prospective employer with a firm handshake.
  • Discuss the extent of your education.
  • Compile a list of former jobs and why you left them.
  • Buy a new suit and try to look sharp.
  • Try to impress the interviewers with your strong vocabulary.

Things to NOT DO in an Interview

  • Call to let the interviewer know that this is your one phone call from County Jail, and could you reschedule for 15 to 20 years from now?
  • Explain how the maintenance crew might need to visit the rest room once you're done in there.
  • Bring "Fat Tony" from the old neighborhood who'll vouch for you as being a "good earner".
  • Kidney-punch everyone and call them "jerk-wad" and "dork-face".
  • Ask them if they wouldn't mind having the chef whip up half a rack of ribs.
  • Ask if they wouldn't mind paying the cab driver who's been driving in circles all day because you had no idea how to find the place.
  • Wear a pair of gold Hammer pants and a Christmas sweater with reindeer on it.
  • Use words you don't know and say things like "I am a very combustible xenophobe."
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Market Information

Occupational and job market information will help you determine if the career you are  considering is best suited for you. It will tell you the nature of the work, the growth or decline in the industry, education or training required and salary ranges. The Career Center has a variety of books and periodicals on the subject including:

  • Best Jobs for the 21st Century
  • College Majors and Careers
  • Guide for Occupational Exploration (GOE)
  • Job Choices
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)
  • O*NET Dictionary of Occupational Titles
  • What Color Is Your Parachute?

Sites to Explore

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Resume Guide

Resume and cover letter are your chance to make a positive first impression on the employer. A good resume markets your education, experiences, and skills in addition to focusing on what is most relevant to the employer. It is important to dedicate time to developing a focused resume for each type of position you apply for.

Some helpful resources might be:

The Resume

  • If possible, keep your resume to one page in length. Be specific, concise and brief.
  • Use “action verbs” to describe your accomplishments.
  • Laser print and copy on good quality bond paper in off-white, buff or light gray.
  • Use a layout that is easy to read. Use Times New Roman or Bookman, 12 point font.
  • Choose either the functional, chronological or combination style resume.
  • Proof for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors!

Resume Styles

  • Chronological emphasizes education and experience by dates in reverse chronological order.
  • Functional organizes and emphasizes experience and skills. Good to use if you have a limited work history or gaps in your work history.
  • Combination emphasizes your abilities and accomplishments.
  • Electronic is a format that eliminates the use of bolding, italics, underlines, graphics, bullets and shadows, etc. The resume is scanned into a computer and accessed by keywords and phrases or emailed via the Internet.

The Anatomy of a Resume

1.  Identifying Information: At the top of the first page: name, address, home (with answering machinge) or cellular telephone number and e-mail address. Usually in bold type and 14-pt font.

2.  Job Objective: Position for which you are applying and a clear, well thought-out career path that fits perfectly with that position. If, however, you do not have a specific job in mind, you can eliminate the job objective.

Example:

Seeking to utilize my education and experience in a management trainee position for a software company.

3.  Education: Most recent college or university degree completed or in progress. Also include information regarding Certificates of Completion for technical training.

Example: 

Southwestern Assemblies of God University - Waxahachie, TX 
Bachelor of Science, Business, with Marketing Specialization 
GPA 3.45

4.  Skills and Accomplishments: Summarize three to five (but no more than seven) highlights of your achievements or job-specific skills. Use bullets to make them stand out and grab the attention of the reader.

Example: 

*2 years marketing experience
*Excellent written and oral communication skills
*Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

5.   Experience including internships and volunteer work: List the name of the company, organization or agency, your position, the dates (month and year) you were employed, and your specific job duties, equipment you used, skills you used or learned, goals or quotas you achieved, and supervision or training you conducted. Use positive, “action verbs” to describe your experience. Avoid using flowery language or too much industry jargon. List your most recent experience first and then in reverse chronological order.

Example: 

Southwestern Assemblies of God University - Waxahachie, TX (8/01-Present)

Research Assistant: Assisted with data collection and computer analysis of marketing data. Engaged in an in-depth study of current marketing issues relating to student enrollment.

6.  Additional Information could include professional organizations, affiliations or clubs, awards, leadership experiences, credentials, professional licenses or certificates, and community services.

7.  References are usually requested and listed on a separate sheet of paper. References should be professionals not family and friends. At the top of the Reference page include all your Identifying Information. List reference name and job title, their employer, address, and telephone number. Always request permission to use someone as a reference.

Electronic Resume Information

Scannable

  • Use black ink on white paper. Use fonts between 10-14 points. Print on a laser printer.
  • When faxing your resume, use “fine mode” and back it up with one by mail.
  • Avoid italics, underlining, boldface, shadowing. Use all capital letter for emphasis.
  • Include a “keywords” paragraph summarizing your marketable skills. Mention the keywords in your cover letter for easy scanning.

Email: Follow the above guidelines for scannable resumes and…

  • Copy and paste your resume to a new document and save it as a text (ASCII) file, not a word processing document.
  • Remove all formatting: columns, tabs, italics, boldface, indenting, centered, and justification. Change bullets to dashes or asterisks.
  • Use no more than 70 character per line.
  • Use the space bar to indent not the tab key.
  • Before emailing to an employer, send it to yourself or a friend and print out results.
  • Mail in the body of the message, not as an attachment, to ensure the receiver does not have trouble opening it.
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Writing a Thank You or Follow Up Letter

It is important to let an employer, or anyone else who has helped you professionally, know that you appreciated his/her time for allowing you to have an interview.  You should immediately write a thank you letter (either typed or handwritten) expressing that appreciation. Include:

  • The employer’s name
  • The position for which you applied
  • Restate your interest and why you think you are the best candidate for the position.
  • Thank the interviewer for his/her time and for considering you for the position.

Thank You Letters

Always send a thank you letter. Often it may be the difference between getting an offer or not. If an employer has two equally skilled potential employees who both fit with the organization, receiving a professional thank you letter may tip the scales in one’s favor. A thank you letter is also a place for you to reiterate your skills or to mention something you may have forgotten or hadn’t had the chance to speak about.

Formatting Suggestions

Timing is critical! This letter should always be sent within 24 hours after the interview. There are three ways to send a thank you:

  • A typed thank you letter using letterhead that matches your resume heading
  • A handwritten note using a professional notecard or thank you card.
  • An e-mail thank you.

Regardless of the method you select, send a thank you letter to every person with whom you interviewed; otherwise, send it to the chair of the screening committee. This letter is to express appreciation , reiterate your interest in the position, and to further sell yourself and your skills as they relate to the position specifically.

Advice for Letters Sent Electronically

Scanning: If the company uses an applicant tracking system, prepare a scannable cover letter and resume.

Internet: Send your cover letter and resume in the body of one e-mail message. The subject line is a valuable tool. Use it for the position title.

The Stall Letter

Upon occasion, candidates find that they must respond to a job offer before they are ready to make a decision. This letter should be written only when you are seriously considering the offer. Let the employer know thatyou are interested in the position and explain briefly why you cannot make a decision at this time. State a specific date by which you will be able to announce your plans with certainty. It is not ethical to accept an offer and keep looking .

Withdrawal Letter

It is a matter of common courtesy to notify an employer once you have made a definite decision to withdraw from consideration or to reject an offer of employment. Rejecting an employment offer should be done thoughtfully. You never know whom the employer might know and whether you might want to apply for a different position at that organization in the future. Indicate that you have carefully considered the offer and have decided not to accept it . It is not necessary to give a long explanation. Thank him or her for the offer and confidence in you.

Acceptance Letter

This letter is written to accept a formal job offer and is probably the most exciting letter of all to write. Confirm the terms of your employment, including starting date, salary, etc. Express your appreciation for the opportunity and enthusiasm in beginning employment.

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