The sample job interview questions below are reflective of a variety of different interview approaches. This is because interview styles can vary enormously depending on who is conducting the interview. It is very common for example, for an interview to be attended by a Human Resource professional and your future employer.
Both are coming from very different angles and are likely to have different questioning styles. The HR Manager will want to assess your motivation for the job as well as use behavioral interview questions in to predict your likely behavior. Your future boss is likely to ask you the tough interview questions and/or more technical questions which will provide insight into how well you are likely to cope with the specific tasks of the job.
In order to provide excellent answers, you must be agile enough to quickly recognise and adapt to different questions and approaches.
The sample interview answers under each category heading below, provide insight into how to position your answer depending on the questioning style of the interviewer.
Conducting a detailed examination of the job description is one way to predict the questions which are likely to come up: See job interview questions – how to predict them for further guidance on this.
Another good tip is to ask the hiring manager in advance of the day who is going to be interviewing you, this should give you insight into the different types or categories of questions likely to arise, enabling you to laser focus your preparation.
Sample Job Interview Questions & Answers
Category 1: Job interview questions about your motivation
These questions are often asked by HR managers. Most savvy employers know that good performance in an employee is a combination of ability plus motivation. So there are usually questions which are specifically related to what drives, inspires and motivates you:
– Why do you want to work for us?
– What interests you about this job?
– What are your long term ambitions?
– Where do you see yourself in five years?
It is best to avoid giving answers that demonstrate you are motivated by the following: Money, benefits, proximity to where you live or convenient hours. These of course can be motivators, however they have nothing to do with your ability to perform the job!
The best way to answer these type of questions is to focus on the job and the company, every answer you give, should in some way point to the fact that your ideal career or goal is to be doing the job you are now applying for. For example if asked a question such as ‘What interests you about this job?’ A sample answer might be:
“I love networking and sharing best practice with others in my field both inside and outside the organisation, I find this builds good relations and has often led me to winning new business”.
Sample job interview questions which ask you to rate yourself
The person in the room that knows the most about you and your ability to perform is you, so questions which ask you to rate yourself are really trying to uncover how confident you are in your own abilities. The interview is not the place to be shy, however there is a fine line between being confident and arrogant, so make sure your answers strike the right balance.
– What is your greatest strength?
– What is your greatest weakness?
– How well do you handle conflict?
– What have been the greatest achievements of your career?
– What have been the low points in your career, why?
How to answer questions which ask you to rate yourself
With questions which give you the green light to sing your own praises be sure to use this opportunity to the max. Prepare in advance, to ensure you are armed and ready to talk about two or three key strengths that you can back up with solid examples.
You will undoubtedly be asked a ‘what are your weaknesses’ question in some form. If you are asked any question to do with weaknesses or a development area, don’t do what everyone else is doing and attempt to turn your weakness into strength.
This is old hat and interviewers won’t rate you for it. Instead, talk about your minor weaknesses (unrelated to the job) in an open and candid way. Always make sure you turn a negative into a positive and end by saying you are currently developing that area and then describe the development activity you are involved in.
Sample ‘tough’ job interview questions
Top performing candidates take the time to prepare for the tough interview questions in advance, learn how to do this in the tough interview questions section of this site.
– What is your current boss like?
– Why do you want to leave your current job?
– Tell me about a time when things have not gone to plan?
– What parts of the job do you feel you would have the most trouble with?
– What can you offer us that someone else can’t?
– You seem over qualified for this job?
– How to answer tough interview questions.
How to answer tough interview questions
It is important not to dive straight into answering these questions, take a second or two to think things through first. Candidates that perform best when faced with tough interview questions are the ones that have prepared in advance. So before you attend the interview do some preparation, look at the answers to tough interview questions section of the website were you will find plenty of sample interview answers to guide you.
Sample behavioral job interview questions
Behavioral based interviewing is known amongst professional interviewers as the best style of interviewing, because it is the style which provides the interviewer with the best evidence on which to base their hiring decision.
In a conventional interview, you can often get away with telling the interviewer what he or she wants to hear. When providing behavioral interview answers, you are less able to fudge the truth.
Using the behavioral interview technique, the interviewer can follow up with deeper and more specific probing questions. If you’ve told a story that’s anything but totally honest, your response will not hold up against the investigative style of behavioral interviewing.
Sample behavioral question
– Describe a time when you worked in partnership with someone either to win or develop new business?
The interviewer is then likely to follow up with further questions:
– What was your relationship like with that person?
– What role did you play?
– Talk me through the process of how you secured the business?
– Why was that effective?
How to answer behavioral interview questions
The best way to prepare for these questions is to know the behaviors in advance and then prepare your answers around the key behaviors of the job.
Behaviors can be found in the Job Description, the hiring manager should also be able to give you this information prior to the interview. You will find excellent sample responses to typical questions in the behavioral interview questions and answers section of this site.
Hypothetical Job Interview Questions
Untrained interviewers often ask hypothetical questions. These are questions designed to explore possibilities. They usually project a theory or a scenario into the future, with a “what might happen if….” type of question.
Sample hypothetical job interview question:
– What would you do if a colleague came to you in tears?
“Naturally, I would take them aside and figure out what it was that was upsetting them. If it was something I could help with, for example helping them with their workload, I would offer them assistance. If it was a personal problem however, I would sympathise and listen but not get too involved as I like to keep work and personal life separate.”
How to answer hypothetical questions
If you have not been in that circumstance before you can only hypothesise, this is basically making something up. If you have to do this, make sure you focus on the job, and provide an answer with a positive response.
Sample Closed Job Interview Questions
Closed questions are questions that give you very little scope to respond. The question is phrased in such a way as to limit your answer, they often require a straight forward yes or no answer. Be aware that these questions are often asked by inexperienced interviewers, so you may need to help the interviewer out by elaborating on your answer:
– How many staff were in your team?
– How long did you work in x organisation?
– What grade did you earn?
– What was your job title?
– Do you enjoy detailed work?
– Do you have a degree?
– Have you resigned yet?
Sample question and answer: How many projects did you lead?
Good: I lead four major projects, plus a minor one which I completed last month.
How to answer closed interview questions
They have asked a question that asks for a specific piece of information, don’t give them a rambling response. Answer the question and develop if necessary, as a general rule of thumb, you should be able to answer the question in one or two sentences.
In summary, the interview questions likely to come up in your next job interview will be contingent upon three things: First, the technical requirements of the job, second the style of interview, i.e. Behavioral or standard and finally the person that is interviewing you and their agenda.
Taking account of these elements will empower you to effectively handle all types of interview questions.
Originally posted 2016-09-06 18:22:16.