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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What is most important to you in a job?
Do not say benefits or salary. Be specific.
- 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.
- 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.
- What are your long-range goals?
The employer wants to know about your career and your
education/training. Tie it in to that company.
- 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
- 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
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.