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Interview Questions - The Dirty Dozen - Brochures - Job Search - One-Stop Career Centers


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A wide variety of questions may be asked during interviews. Most of them can be anticipated. Here are some you are sure to be asked.

The following list contains the twelve most common interview questions. Prepare your answers to these questions and share them with your mentor to be sure they sound right.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

    The employer wants to know about you as an employee; not you as a family person. You want to share your work experiences and your strengths. You can expand on this answer.

  2. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

    Strength – this should come quickly and naturally. Make sure it is a quality that would be considered a strength for the job that you are applying for.
    Weakness – remember to keep everything positive. You could say that you don’t have any weaknesses that would keep you from doing a good job, but most employers won’t accept that. Choose something that could be considered a strength. Always turn a weakness into a strength, by saying that you are working on it (be specific – state how you are working on it). Never say that you have trouble getting along with people.

  3. Why did you leave your old job?
    Keep it positive. If there was a problem before (i.e. transportation) make sure you say it is no longer a problem (be specific -–explain why it is no longer a problem).

  4. Why do you want to work for us?
    This is where doing your homework pays off. Compliment the company – tell them you want to be part of their team.

  5. What did you like best/least about your old job?
    Best – do not say salary or benefits. If you say the people, then elaborate.
    Least – STAY POSITIVE! Do not say anything negative about the people or management.

  6. What kind of salary are you looking for?
    My salary requirements are open. If the employer is persistent, then say, "What is the salary range for this position?" When they tell you, you respond, "That is fine, I can work with that." If the employer keeps persisting then say something like, "With my experience, I think I would want something on the upper range of the scale." Finally, if they still question, say a figure and that it is negotiable when you get the job offer.

  7. What is most important to you in a job?
    Do not say benefits or salary. Be specific.

  8. Why should we hire you?
    This is the time to really sell yourself. State your strengths and experience. Tell them you really want the job and you really want to work for their company.

  9. What did you think of your old boss?
    Never say anything negative. Even if you did not like him/her, try to think of one positive thing. If you cannot, then you can say, "I learned a lot from him/her." You would not be lying because you did learn a lot – what kind of boss not to be (but do not tell the employer that). If the employer asks, then say you learned about how to manage people.

  10. What are your long-range goals?
    The employer wants to know about your career and your education/training. Tie it in to that company.

  11. Are you available to work overtime?
    If you really want the job, then do not say "No". If you cannot work overtime ever, then be honest (this job probably is not right for you). If you want to know how much overtime is required, then ask. A good answer is, "I can work overtime, as long as I have adequate notice".

  12. You seem over-qualified/under-qualified.
    Over-qualified – the employer is worried that you will get bored and leave or that you will want too much money. Tell him/her that you are willing to start at entry level and work you way up, or that you feel that there is always something new to learn wherever you work. Also, play up your experience and say you could help train other people.
    Under-qualified – the employer is worried that your training time will be extended. State that you are eager to learn and learn quickly. Also, not having a lot of experience can be an asset as well. You are a blank slate that they can train anyway they want – they do not have to retrain you.

Situational types of questions may also be asked. Try to think of situations that may arise while at work. Think about methods for handling these situations.

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