Most questions interviewers ask serve a purpose… and it isn’t necessarily lit up in neon! Listen carefully to all questions during the interview and consider “What is this question really asking?” Following are common interview questions and suggestions on how to respond.
Tell me about yourself.
See the Tell Me about Yourself handout to develop your unique answer.
Why are you interested in working for this company?
Here is a golden opportunity to showcase the research that you have performed prior to the interview. Be sure to state how what you have learned about the company relates to your career pursuits.
Describe your best/worst boss.
If possible, speak about your best boss. If you must speak about your worst boss, place a positive spin on it. For instance, “I had a manager who was often very vague in his instructions. However, because of this, I learned the value of good communication.”
What would you consider your strength?
Here is your opportunity to prove that you have the most important strength required for the position. Don’t blow it by offering some off-the-wall strength that isn’t even on the recruiter’s checklist.
What is your greatest weakness?
Everyone has a weaknesses and its okay to admit it! Discuss a weakness that you have worked to improve upon. For example: "I tend to have trouble delegating tasks to others, but I've realized that teamwork is a much more effective way to get the job done than trying to do it all myself." However, do not offer a weakness that could be a deal-breaker (ex. Bad with numbers, and it’s an accounting position).
Give me an example of a problem you encountered and explain how you solved it.
To answer behavior-based questions such as this one, use the STAR method: S – Situation, T – Task, A – Action you took, R – Result of your actions.
Describe an experience in which you (contributed to) (led) a team.
You will need to develop answers for both sides of this common situation. Again, use the STAR method.
Why did you attend Stephen F. Austin State University?
Offer a response that is logical and shows that you made the decision. Don’t indicate that external forces directed you to SFA: “I didn’t have the money for Baylor, so I settled for SFA.” Make it about the decision.
Have you always lived in Texas?
Generally, the recruiter is asking you if you will relocate. If the job is in Florida, explain how you vacation every year in Destin and love the city. Find a way to “connect” yourself to the city or region in question.
What are your long-term goals?
Trick question alert! The recruiter is hoping that you will tell him/her what you REALLY want to do. Gently redirect your response to the next two to five years and how you could contribute to the company.
Why should we hire you?
Provide a detailed answer, much like your Two Minute Commercial. Summarize points you may have mentioned in your interview, and/or introduce something of value the interviewer did not come across during the interview. Remember, this is your last chance to sell yourself!
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