Interview Questions - Questions and Suggested Answers
"Tell me about yourself."
Suggested answer: Two-minute commercial
"What are your key accomplishments? Describe some of your most important career accomplishments?"
Suggested answer: My first effort was to meet with the employees to try to allay their fears, quell rumors, and discuss how we would deal with this crisis
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
Suggested answer: My strength is my flexibility to handle change. In my previous job, I worked directly with customers and their problems. What I liked was solving problems and helping people. Sometimes it took a lot of effort on my part, but it was very rewarding when the customer appreciated the service. As far as my weaknesses, I feel that my management skills could be stronger, and I am constantly working to improve them.
"What are your greatest strengths?"
Suggested answer: I am self motivated; I have the initiative and the ability to work by myself or on a team and the willingness to work long hours if needed to get the job done. Some additional qualities include good communication skills, loyalty to the company I work for, reliability, integrity, and promptness and I am self confidence.
"Reason for leaving each position. Why were you laid off?"
This question will become more common as the economy continues to slow down. It's a tough question, however, especially because many workers aren't told exactly why they were laid off. The best way to tackle this question is to answer as honestly as possible.
Suggested answer: "As I'm sure you're aware, the economy is tough right now and my company felt the effects of it. I was part of a large staff reduction and that's really all I know. I am confident, however, that it had nothing to do with my job performance, as exemplified by my accomplishments. For example..."
"What is your management style?"
Describe your management philosophy.
Suggested answer: More than anything else, I think that management is getting things done through other people. The manager's job is to provide the resources and environment in, which people can work effectively. I try to do this by creating teams, judging people solely on the basic of their performance, distributing work fairly, and empowering workers, to the extent possible, to make their own decisions. I've found that this breeds loyalty and inspires hard work.
"Why are you interested in this position/our company"?
Suggested answer: I am anxious to put my experience of managing people together with my extensive knowledge of inventory control. I'm especially attracted to working in a dynamic company like this one,
"Why do you want to work for my company"?
Suggested answer: I am looking for a place where my background, experience, and skills can be put to use and make things happen for your company. The opportunity for me to grow and develop.
"How do you handle stress/criticism/praise"?
Suggested answer: Stress has been a component of virtually all my positions and I thrive under pressure. For example, in my last (or current) job I had only two months to implement a major upgrade in the warehouse. I developed a plan, determined which resources were required, and got to work. Working with my staff, we managed to implement the upgrade a week ahead of schedule.
How do you generally handle conflict"?
Suggested answer: I really don't get angry with other people very often. I'm usually able to work things out or anticipate problems before they occur. When conflicts can't be avoided, I don't back down, but I certainly do try to be reasonable.
"What would your former boss/peers/subordinates, colleagues say about you"?
Suggested answer: They would describe me as an easy going person who is a good team player. I've found that a lot more can be accomplished when people gang up on a problem, rather than on each other.
"How would others describe you"?
Suggested answer: "My former colleagues have said that I'm easy to do business with and that I always hit the ground running with new projects. I have more specific feedback with me, if you'd like to take a look at it."
"Are you looking at other opportunities"?
Are you applying for other jobs?
Suggested answer: Yes, I am exploring several openings that might fit my talents and potential. But I really want to work for your company, and I will do you a great job.
"Are you willing to relocate"?
Suggested answer: No, I would prefer to remain in the Dallas area. I have family here and they need my help from time to time
"Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years"?
"What are your short-term/long -term goals"?
"Where do you hope to be in five years"?
Suggested answer: Well, ultimately that will depend on my performance on the job, and on the growth and opportunities offered by my employer. I've already demonstrated leadership characteristics in all my jobs I've held, so I'm very confident that I will take on progressively greater management responsibilities in the future. That suites me fine. I enjoy building a team, developing its goals, and then working to accomplish them. It's very rewarding.
Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Suggested answer:"Ideally, I would like to work for a young company, such as this one, so I can get in on the ground floor and take advantage of all the opportunities a growing firm has to offer."
"Why should we hire you?
Suggested answer: If you don't mind me borrowing from a famous phrase, Ask not what the company can do for you, ask what you can do for the company, my high energy and quick learning style enable me to hit the ground running and size up and solve problems rapidly. I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job right. I can show my readiness by describing how my experience, career progression, qualities and achievements have made me an asset to any company that I have worked for in the past. (Highlight your ability by discussing your specific skills and accomplishments). My willingness to work will be evident in my commitment to whatever challenges I undertake. To show fitness, I am reliable, having integrity and will accommodate myself to any difficulties the job entails.
"What would be your perfect job? Describe your idea job and/or boss"
Suggested answer: You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want. The perfect job for me would be to make it into a higher echelon than I was, having a vision of what something could be, and helped that vision to come true by working with bosses, owners, and team members who can have the same or similar vision. Helping others to get what they want, going the second mile in meeting their needs.
"Tell me about the best/worst decision you made"?
Suggested answer: In my last position as the warehouse manager, I made a decision in scheduling. I didn't consider how much work there was in getting all the installers out of the warehouse. I did my research from the week before and implemented a short survey. This experience really taught me about planning and doing thorough research before making a decision.
"What obstacles prevented you from achieving your goals in your current/last job"?
Suggested answer: I was assigned to the warehouse as the inventory assistant warehouse manager with a team of installers that seemed to be going in many different directions and had low morale. It was having a big impact on productivity. I realized quickly that individual team members were not aware of their colleagues' activities. So I set up regular meetings with agendas, this definitely helped with project coordination. Improving morale was a bigger task and took more time to accomplish. But I developed some strategies that helped. For example:
" What motivates you and how do you motivate others"?
How do you motivate people"?
Suggested answer: Depends on the person. "A one size fits all philosophy doesn't work for all people". You have to use a different approach for different people.
Sometimes you need to just get out of your office and go find out what another person's job is and how they do it.
"Describe the culture at your current/past company.
"Tell me more about your current/past company and its competitors.
" What are your interests outside of your career"?
"What books have you read recently"?
" What do you know about our company"?
"What are your salary requirements"?
Suggested answer: If you don't mind, I would rather defer the answer and address the salary question at the end of the interview, after I've had a chance to learn more about the position and when I know if I'm a serious candidate. My understanding is that jobs like the one you are describing may be in the range of ...
"Would you be willing to take a salary cut?"
Suggested answer: "I'm making $XX now. I understand that the salary range for this position is $XX - $XX. Like most people, I would like to improve on my salary, but I'm more interested in the job itself than the money. I would be open to negotiating a lower starting salary but would hope that we can revisit the subject in a few months after I've proved myself to you."
"Why are you looking for a job? Why are you leaving your current position"?
Suggested answer: There was a great deal that I enjoyed about my last job, but my potential for growth was limited, because of the size of the company and the fact that expanding was not part of its current strategic plan. I am seeking more responsibility a bigger challenge, and better opportunities for growth.
"What are the best and worst aspects of your previous job situation and how you handled it?
Suggested answer: Difficult situations come up in many positions, so I try to find the best strategy to deal with them. I have had significant experience with customer service in my previous jobs. First, I try to listen carefully to the patron's problem and express empathy. Then, I focus on finding a solution. Also, I follow up with the patron on any unresolved issues.
What unique experience or qualifications separate you from other candidates?"
Suggested answer: I am a self starter and I don't procrastinate. I have been fortunate to have excellent opportunities for growth. My duties have expanded in many different areas and I received several outstanding performance ratings. I am ready to further expand my skills and serve in a new role with greater responsibility. During the past several years, there have been significant reductions-in-force due to the economy. Hiring was also frozen. I enjoy my work and have been loyal to the institution, but I now seek a new opportunity with more stability and new opportunities
"Tell me about the worst boss you ever had."
Suggested answer: "While none of my past bosses were awful, there are some who taught me more than others did. I've definitely learned what types of management styles I work with the best."
"If you could choose any company to work for, where would you go?"
Suggested answer: "I wouldn't have applied for this position if I didn't sincerely want to work with your organization." Continue with specific examples of why you respect the company with which you are interviewing and why you'll be a good fit.
"What can you offer me that another person can't?"
Suggested answer: "I'm the best person for the job. I know there are other candidates who could fill this position, but my passion for excellence sets me apart from the pack. I am committed to always producing the best results. For example..."
"How old are you?"
Suggested answer: The more I've accomplished the more effective I've become. When I was just starting out, I was full of energy, I was like a loose cannon. Now I find I can accomplish more in less time because I know where to find the resources I need and how to work effectively with all kinds of people.
"Tell us about a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures."
Suggested answer: As part of my project planning, I always try to lay out what problems might evolve over the course of the project. I like to involve other staff in this process in order to anticipate the potential pitfalls. When these potential issues are defined and analyzed, then I factor these into the entire planning process.
"Tell us about a time when you managed multiple projects or tasks."
Suggested answer: I feel I'm especially adept at juggling multiple projects. Here is a recent example. I was brought into the warehouse and was involved in providing inventory data to the inventory manager under a tight deadline. In the midst of this the regional manager came up with a restructuring plan for the warehouse that she gave a tight deadline. To meet both deadlines, I quickly reassigned staff from other projects. I negotiated with another manager in the office to borrow another employee from his department for a week. We worked long hours, but successfully met both deadlines.
"Have you ever been fired?"
Suggested answer: Yes, I have. I learned from it and I have since improved my performance.
Suggested answer: Yes, I want to be honest about this. I was, but I learned from the experience and I wouldn't make the same mistakes again.
"I really wanted someone with a degree."
Suggested answer: I really appreciate your position. It was necessary that I start earning a living early in life. I am certain you would recognize the value of my practical experience.
Do you have any questions? Can you think of anything else you'd like to add"?