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Updated October 7th, 2022

Job Interviews

Evaluating an applicant's career background

  • Tell me about a time when you worked the hardest and felt the greatest sense of achievement.
  • During your college time, which summer job did you like the most/least? and Why?
  • What were your proudest accomplishments during school / college
  • Please describe your past work experience. We are particularly interested in learning about experience that may be relevant to this position.
  • Tell us about your general background. How do you feel you would fit into the position and the organization?
  • Do you feel your GPA was a fair assessment of your academic ability?
  • Tell us about some important career influences that directed you to choose this particular position?
  • What people or events / experiences have been most influential in your own self-development?
  • Could you give me a personal overview of your career progression to date?
  • During your college time, what course did you find to be the most difficult?
  • What extra-curricular activities have you participated in?

Assessing an applicant's adaptability

  • Describe a moment when you had to respond to significant change. Especially emphasize what the change was, and how you responded to it including lessons learnt.
  • How easy is it for you to accept the majority view when you are in the minority?
  • What example / type of organization changes have you found the easiest or the most difficult to accept?
  • Approximately how long did it take you at your last position before you felt comfortable with the job, team and products or services?
  • Tell me about the most difficult person you had to work with recently.
  • Describe a time when a co-worker gave you unwelcome advice on something you were working on.
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • What is your opinion about the new non-smoking policy, which does not allow smoking in buildings and vehicles on the job?
  • When you started university, or move to a new town, or house, how do you meet new people?
  • What past changes have you made in your approach to others in order to become better accepted in your work setting?

Assessing an applicant's ambitions / goals

  • What are your career goals for the next five years? What would you consider as your ideal career path to reach those goals?
  • How does this position fit in with your long range plans?
  • Do you prefer to work for small or large organizations? Why?
  • What are the reasons why you want to leave your present job?
  • What specific challenges are you looking for at this stage of your career?
  • How does your educational background relate to this position? Describe related training that you completed.
  • In what areas do you feel you would like more training? How do you plan to achieve that?
  • If you could structure the perfect job for yourself, what kind of job would that entail.
  • Now that you have just graduated, what are your career objectives for the next three or four years?
  • If we offered you this job, where would you see yourself three to five years from now?

Evaluating a candidate's analytical skills

  • What would you change about your last job?
  • Tell us about a time when you noticed an error in a report prepared by your supervisor. What was your reaction?
  • What characteristics do you like to see in peers doing the same work as you?
  • You receive a report from a junior staff and you find errors, how do you go about correcting this information in the report
  • Tell me about a time when you were not very pleased with your performance. What was the cause and what did you do about it?
  • Describe some situations where you wished you had acted differently with someone? Describe the events. What did you do?
  • Considering the responsibilities of the position, are there any areas in which you may require training or development
  • Are there any factors that could prevent you from effectively carrying out your work responsibilities?
  • Have you had to review another person's work? If yes, or hypothetically, how easy was it for you to express criticism.
  • What problems are you currently working on that came as a surprise to you?

Assessing a candidate's decision making skills

  • What led you to choose your present career path?
  • Describe a strategic approach you would utilize for decision making
  • Has there been a time when you were unsure if your employer would approve of your actions.
  • How have you overcome obstacles that prevented you from completing projects?
  • Describe one of the most difficult or challenging decision you have made recently
  • What was probably the worst decision you made, and how did you learn from that experience?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to delay making a decision even though someone else was pressuring you to make up your mind quickly.
  • Tell us a situation in which you took a strong stance on a particular topic but then had to change your mind? What factors changed that led you to change your mind?
  • Desribe a situation when your team did not agree with your decision.
  • Why are you choosing to work in our organization?

Testing a candidate's creativity

  • Describe a situation you faced in which old solutions did not work?
  • Describe the last situation in which you developed / utilized a new or different approach to a problem?
  • Give us an example of when you had an idea to change or improve a process or activity at work?
  • Have you encountered a situation where you had to explain and justify a new initiative to your supervisor?
  • Describe a time when you had to develop a work around through a process, maybe you didnt have enough enough time and you had to complete an activity that usually requires a specific procedure.
  • Describe a time you had to perform specific activities at work without much training.

Assessing a candidate's communication skills

  • Describe a presentation you made to others at work.
  • Describe a moment when you felt you had been very effective at communicating a certain message.
  • Describe the most difficult written assignment you have been given or have taken on yourself?
  • What do you believe was the most important piece of communication you have accomplished?
  • Describe a time when you had to present an idea to influence others to agree.
  • Tell me about a time when you spoke something that was misunderstood. Also indicate how you went on to resolve it.
  • Describe a time when you gave instructions to someone, in what you believe was clear and precise, and they did somehting different from your instructions.
  • Tell me about a time when you misunderstood someone else's instructions or message.
  • Explain how you might handle ambiguous requests from mangers or customers?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • Describe a situation when you had to give a presentation to a large audience
  • Comparing emails and spoken/verbal/telephone communication, which one do you prefer and why?
  • During your group projects at school or in your work experience, have you ever had to communicate improvement needed to another person?
  • In your experience, how does effective communication influence teamwork
  • Give me an example of an instance when you took the time to clearly and completely explain a product to a client.

Testing a candidate's motivation for the position

  • What is/was the most enjoyable aspect in your past/present job?
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond your expected duties
  • Tell us what you know about our corporation and the role you will play in our organization.
  • If you were the CEO of our organization for a day, what would you do and why?
  • What motivates you to wake up every morning to go to work
  • Give me an example of a situation where you motivated others to achieve a result
  • What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work hard?
  • How would you motivate others at times when organizational morale may be low.
  • How do you cope when you have to perform monotonous activities at work.
  • Tell me about our organization that inspires you to be your best in performing your duties.

Evaluating a candidate's Organizational / Planning skills

  • Describe how your work on a typical day or typical week
  • What resources do you use to keep track of items requiring your attention?
  • Have you ever gone through a reduction in funds in your department through reorganization or cutbacks? How was the experience?
  • How do you keep well organized at work? How do you set job objectives?
  • Tell us about the most frustrating time you have experienced when trying to solve a project
  • How do you prioritize time demands of school, social life, work, etc.?
  • How do you ensure your work is of high quality even when there is a lot of work to be done?
  • If your supervisor asked you to prepare a report due in two hours, how will you organize yourself to complete in time.
  • Have you ever had to delegate parts of your work to someone else?
  • Describe a situation in your previous job, or school, where you had to complete multiple tasks at the same time.

Assessing a candidate's teamwork skills

  • How do you define teamwork?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or as part of team? Why?
  • Describe a time when you you had an important project that required team work and how that project was completed.
  • Describe a time when you were able to pass on your skills or expertize to one of your team members?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to take directions from individuals—both management and other co-workers?
  • Describe a situation when a team member was not completing their roles correctly or in good time. How did you go about this?
  • Tell us about a time when you had a discussion with other team members and there were differing ideas. How did the team arrive at a consensus.
  • Your team has won the award for best perfomance in your organization. How will your team handle this achievement?
  • Have you ever worked for a generally difficult group to work with? Please dscuss how that experience was.
  • They say, in a team, the weakest individual is the most important individul. Have you been in a situation where the results of your teamwork relied on the weakest individual in the team?

Know more about a candidate's previous work quality

  • Describe a situation or occasion when you felt you had to consult with your supervisor before taking action.
  • Describe how you have prioritized training and continuous improvement related to your work.
  • Tell us about a time when you were given a certain project to complete but you were not given sufficient background information. How did you go about that?
  • Tell us about times in your previous/present job where there was not much work to do. Tell us what you would do to fill in these gaps.
  • Generally, how much guidance do you need to complete an average project?
  • Give us some examples when you did more than required in a course/at work?
  • Have you introduced any change in your present/previous jobs?
  • If you got to work at a construction site and find that your supervisor is absent and has not left you any work to do, what would you do?
  • Tell us about the last time you took a shortcut to complete a job? How was the outcome?
  • Describe a recent situation when you resisted the temptation to complete the project quickly.
  • Could you describe a time when something or someone prevented you from working to your standards?
  • Have you found any ways to make your job easier or more rewarding? Examples.
  • Please give me an example of when you were not pleased with your performance? What did you do about it?
  • In a previous/present job, what did you do differently that was considered above and beyond your duties?

Assessing a candidate's ability to influence others

  • Tell me about a time when you have persuaded someone else to do something they didn’t want to do.
  • Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a team member. How did you resolve it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to bring others around to your way of thinking.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to communicate effectively.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your communication style for different audiences.
  • What would you do if a client disagreed with you on the best action to take?
  • What would you do if a customer complained?
  • How would you manage conflict in the workplace?
  • If you were managing a team, how would you persuade them to accept an unpopular decision?
  • If you were managing a team, how would you work with and command respect from team members who are more experienced than you?
  • How would you coach a less experienced colleague who wasn’t sure what to do next on a project?

Evaluating a candidate's leadership skills

  • Describe a situation where you had to set an example for others.
  • What are some leadership qualities that you possess?
  • Describe a situation where you influenced your supervisor
  • If you were the leader of a group where two members did not work well together, how would you go about solving this problem?
  • Describe your response when one of your team members is often absent and does not provide justifiable reasons
  • When we say a good leader is one who is able to influence others, what do you understand by that statement?
  • Tell us about some of the toughest groups you have had to get cooperation from.
  • What leadership skills have you appreciated most in your present supervisor?
  • Which celebrity inspires you to pursue and achieve greater successes?
  • What do you think is the criteria for chairing a successful meeting?
  • Describe any training you have taken to improve your leadership skills
  • As a leader, describe a strategic approach you have used to resolve a conflict in your team.

Assessing a candidate's problem solving / conflict management skills

  • Tell us about a situation when you had to solve a stressful working situation with your team.
  • In what ways have you founf yourself disagreeing with either a team member or your supervisor
  • Describe some circumstances that have kept you from progressing as fast as you would like?
  • Describe a strategy you would adopt and utilize in several circumstances to solve a problem
  • Have you ever had to reprimand a person? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you had to get a team together to solve a problem.
  • Think of a situation when a member of your team came to you to express concerns about another team member, how will you handle that?
  • Describe a time when life challenges outside work, influenced (positively or negatively) the way you were able to handle tasks at work.

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