Answering Questions During a Job Interview
Print this page.Print
Answering Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself

  • Be prepared to respond to the question, “Tell me about yourself,” by creating a 15-30 second “elevator speech" (sound bite) that describes your professional background and strongest skills in two or three sentences.
  • Vary your response according to the specific job opportunity and offer a brief description of why you would be a good fit for the position.
    *One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to rehearse with a tape recorder and then critique your answers.

Tell me about your background, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses.

Employers who ask this question are usually looking for a short synopsis of your experience.

*Be sure to demonstrate how you've developed professionally and be objective when listing your strengths and weaknesses.

How would you describe your most recent job performance?

Hiring managers tend to ask this question in order to gauge your level of enthusiasm for the work that you do. They're also looking for a direct connection between your current position and the one for which you’re applying.

What interests you about our company?

This question seems straightforward, but it can sometimes be difficult to answer if you haven't thought about it beforehand.

There are two important factors to include in your answer.

  • The first is to use your knowledge of the company to show your sincere interest.
  • Second, give a specific reason the position for which you're applying appeals to you (other than the fact that you need a job.)

Who was your most difficult boss and why?

It’s imperative to be as diplomatic as possible when answering this question.

  • Avoid becoming too personal. Instead, focus on your previous supervisor’s management style and the manner in which he or she communicated. The interviewer is looking for some indication as to how well you would get along with your future boss, if you were hired.

What outside activities are most significant to your personal development?

Many employers ask this question to see what kind of balance you are looking for between your personal and professional lives.
*While it’s good to list one or two activities, be careful not to list too many activities as the employer may wonder if outside interest will interfere with your work.

Where do you see yourself in three (3) to five (5) years?

  • Avoid mapping out a detailed plan when answering this question. Instead, describe what you feel is the next logical step or steps in your career path.

Additional Questions to Prepare for:

  • Please explain your salary history?
  • Do you work well under deadlines or pressure? Please provide an example.
  • Describe your management style.
  • Do you have your reference list with you? (Do not provide unless requested)
  • Have you kept up in your field with additional training? 
  • How did you do in school? 
  • How does this opportunity fit in with your overall career plan? 
  • How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution? 
  • How much do you expect if we offer you this position?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your boss describe you? 
  • How would your colleagues describe you? 
  • If you took the job what would you accomplish in the first year? 
  • What are your career goals? 
  • What are your strengths? 
  • What are your weaknesses?  And, how do you compensate for your weaknesses? 
  • What might you do for us that someone else can't?
  • What distinguishes you from other candidates for the position? 
  • What do you believe is the most difficult part of being a supervisor of people?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What do you look for in a job? 
  • What do you think of your present or past boss? 
  • What education or training qualifies you for the job? 
  • What five qualities make you a good candidate? 
  • What hobbies or outside interests make you a better candidate? 
  • What is your salary expectation? (State you expect to be fairly compensated for the position and for your skills. If pressed, provide a salary window/range.)
  • What kinds of hours are you used to working or would like to work? 
  • What other positions are you considering? 
  • What position do you expect to have in 2 to 5 years? 
  • What skills or experiences qualify you for the job? 
  • What was wrong with your current or last position? 
  • What were the five most significant accomplishments in your career thus far?
  • What was the most significant accomplishment in your last role? 
  • What were your key accomplishments during school and/or in your past positions? 
  • Why are you looking for a new job/career?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why should the company hire you?
  • What questions didn't I ask that you expected?
  • Do you have any question for me? (See Asking Interview Questions; be prepared to ask at least two questions.)