This is an excellent resource that reviews interview questions most often asked by employers. In addition to giving suggestions on how to respond there are examples for both students and experienced alumni. The questions are divided by category.
STAR Method of Answering
The STAR method is the best approach to use when answering behavioral interview questions. Behavioral questions are asked to see how you handled a specific situation in the past, what behavior and actions you exhibited. The idea is that that interviewer will be able to see how you will act in the future based on your actions in the past. There is a star next to each question in this section that is considered a behavioral question.
- Situation: Give a specific example of a situation you were involved in, the situation can be from a class project, previous job, volunteer or extracurricular activity.
- Task: Describe what the goal was that you were working toward in the situation.
- Action: Talk about the various decisions you made and actions you took to address the situation’s task.
- Results: Discuss the outcomes of your actions. Focus on what you accomplished and what you learned. Make sure your answer includes positive results and whenever possible use numbers to quantify your results.
- Situation: At my last position, I was responsible for managing various events.
- Task: Attendance at the events had decreased by over 35% over the past two years, and I was responsible for improving our attendance numbers.
- Action: My first step was to conduct focus groups with our target market to find out what they were interesting in learning about and what time of day events worked best for them. After I gathered all that essential information, I created an interactive marketing campaign that used email, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote our events. After the event, I always sent out an online survey I created within 24 hours so that I could continue to get feedback and improve our programs.
- Results: Within three months, I raised the attendance rate by 75% and raised our awareness with others that didn’t even come to the event because of the social media outlets we utilized.
Tell me about yourself.
This is often the first question an interviewer asks. It helps set the stage for the interview and gets you opening up and talking about your experiences. Even though this is an open ended question you should not focus on your hobbies or what you do in your leisure time. Remember this is a job interview so you should try to customize your answers to fit the requirements of the job you are interviewing for. Prepare a two to three minutes summary of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the position. In your answer focus on your education or years of experience, accomplishments and responsibilities.
- I recently graduated from TCU with a degree in Advertising/Public Relations. While I was in school I had various internships in my field of study including one with XYZ Company. This was a great experience, I was responsible ensuring their social media outlets were always up to date and I also monitored the web and news organizations. I’m interested in this position because it will allow me to use my excellent writing skills and social media expertise to help build this company’s brand.
- I have over ten years experience working in the field of accounting. I’m currently the Controller at XYZ Company where I am responsible for managing the accounting department. Before that I was an Auditor at ABC Company. I really enjoy my work because it allows me to utilize my major strengths that include my attention to detail and knowledge of financial statement preparation. I’m interested in this position because it is a great fit with what I have been doing and know I can contribute to the company from day one.
Why do you want to join our organization?
This question will allow you to show you have done your research on the organization. A good strategy is to discuss the company’s mission statement or goals and how they relate to your career objectives. Describe the qualifications listed in the job opportunity and then connect them to your skills and experience. You want the interviewer to see that you have done your homework and are serious about working for their organization.
- This job opportunity is not only a good fit with my experience and qualifications but I feel like the company itself is a place I can make a difference. I have a passion about educating our next generation of leaders and feel like TCU is a place where this education is being taken to the highest level.
- This position seems made to order, it has the challenges to keep me on my toes and is the type of job that I anticipate coming to work each morning. I’m very excited about the product you are delivering to the market and know I can contribute to the goals of this department.
How would others describe you?
This question is asked so the interviewer can determine how you see yourself through other’s eyes. Try and include a mixture of strengths that relate to the job that you are interviewing for. Remember; stay positive with your response.
- I believe they would say I’m a very energetic person. That I am results oriented and an excellent team member. I understand the value of working together to achieve a common goal.
- I believe they would say that I am very organized and detail oriented. That I am an effective communicator, and one of the most reliable people they know.
What are your strengths?
This is your best chance to really highlight your proven skills. Be sure to choose strengths that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Don’t just pick one, focus on your top two to three strengths and give examples. Example strengths include organizational skills, creative, team-building skills, leadership, attention to detail, project management, diligent, problem solver, prioritization, time management, etc.
- I am very creative. I enjoy developing dynamic ad campaigns and websites. I’m also excellent at project management and work well in a team environment. My greatest strength is my ability to handle multiple deadlines and projects at one time. I work well under pressure.
- I believe my greatest strength is my ability to focus on the details while maintaining a clear understanding of the big picture and strategic direction. This strength makes me effective in negotiating and documenting legal documents such as loan, purchase and sale, and lease agreements.
What are your weaknesses?
Think of this question as a great opportunity to show you are a person that takes initiative to fix a problem. Give an answer that describes a weakness, but also how you are working on overcoming it. A good approach is to talk about a skill that you would like to improve or develop.
- My skills with graphic software are not where I’d like them to be. However I researched the best places to take a course and I’m currently enrolled in a class that teaches Adobe InDesign. I expect to be proficient in that software in a few weeks.
- The majority of my career has been with smaller, entrepreneurial organizations versus a larger corporate environment. Some may view my lack of experience in a larger corporate environment as a weakness. However, I believe it is more than offset by the broad breadth of experience I was able to gain by being in an entrepreneurial structure with lots of responsibility. My prior experience has made me more multi-dimensional, and I am confident in my professionalism, relationship skills, and teamwork capabilities that will allow me to be a significant contributor in a larger corporate environment.
How has your college experience prepared you for your career?
Answer this question in a way that shows your educational experiences align with skills that are important in your career field. Be sure to mention internships, class projects or specific classes that support the key competencies for the position you are interviewing for.
- Throughout college I was able to multitask; balancing school, sports and extracurricular activities. I also developed great team-work and leaderships skills because of the many projects that were required.
- The three internships that I held throughout college showed me the ins and outs of a financial career. At my internship with XYZ Company of I held an internship with XYZ Company I was responsible for creating a financial model that tracked their products growth. This experience incorporated not only the classroom knowledge I was learning while at TCU but also the practical application of that information.
Why did you choose TCU?
Be honest, if it was a great academic department discuss that or if you received a scholarship in sports this is a great time to bring that into the interview. Position your answer in terms of professional career choices instead of personal preferences for choosing the school. For example instead of saying you chose TCU because your boyfriend went there focus on the great faculty or academically challenging college that you wanted to be a part of.
- I chose TCU because of its journalism school. Journalism is something that I’m passionate about and the Schieffer School of Journalism is world class.
- I went to TCU because I was awarded a scholarship in baseball. Playing baseball not only taught me teamwork and leadership skills but also helped finance my great education.
Why did you choose your major?
This is a question that will show the interviewer your thought process of choosing a major. If you have a true passion for what you do this is a great question to convey that. Also discuss how you have taken your career path seriously by having internships in your field to get hands on experience and build your professional knowledge.
- I chose economics as my major because it is so important to know how the economy works. It was a very interesting major and challenging which I enjoyed. I researched various schools that had a strong economics department and chose TCU after I did a college visit and really liked all they had to offer.
- I have a passion for helping others and nursing is a perfect fit for me. The Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences is one of the best in Texas. They stay up to date with the latest technology, which was important to me, and also have great relationships with the Fort Worth hospitals where their students do clinical work.
Are your grades a good indicator of your college achievements?
If you had excellent grades then this question is easy…yes. Talk about how you prioritized class work, studied hard for exams and excelled at your academics. If your grades were average, talk about all the extracurricular activities that you participated in and how you learned from those experiences. If your grades were below average then the question is a more difficult. Don’t get defensive if this question is asked. Employers realize that students have different circumstances. Did you work in addition to going to school to pay for college, were there any extenuating circumstances that contributed to your lower grades? Focus on your experiences you gained through internships and what you learned.
- My grades are above average but not all A’s. In addition to academics I was actively involved in many extracurricular activities where I feel like I also learned many valuable lessons. I was Vice President of Student Government, swam on the swim team and also held internships both my junior and senior year with accounting firms. Grades have been important to me but I feel like a good balance of academics and real world experience is very important.
- No I do not feel like my grades are an indicator of the level of achievements I am capable of. Throughout college I had to maintain part-time employment to pay for school as well as balance school work, family commitments and extracurricular activities. There is always room for improvement and for me my grades are an area I wish were stronger. However I was able to graduate from the Neeley School of Business, complete two internships and help support my family. That I am very proud of. My performances during those internships are the best indicator of the level of work I am capable of. You will find if you talk to my previous employers they were all very impressed with the quality of work I am capable of.
What did you gain through your extracurricular activities you were involved in?
Employers look for people that are well rounded. This question shows the interviewer what other things you learned during your education that wasn’t focused in the classroom. Walk the interviewer through the activities you participated in and focus on examples of what you learned. If you held leadership roles in any organizations highlight that. Remember extracurricular activities do not only include clubs or sports, they include building a house for Habitat for Humanity, participating in Diversity Week at TCU, running in Race for the Cure. If you didn’t participate in many extracurricular activities at TCU focus on other things you were involved in such as any hobbies, exercising, travel, reading, etc.
- I was involved in many extracurricular activities while I was at TCU. I was involved in my sorority, a member of the soccer team and involved with Habitat for Humanity. I learned most from my leadership role as Captain of the soccer team. Working as a team was essential for our success and being the captain it was my responsibility to make sure that happened.
- The majority of my time was focused on my studies, I had many team projects, papers and test so for me my academic success was top priority. However I did find time to explore Fort Worth and make new friends. I also enjoy reading and running.
What was your favorite and least favorite class?
Your most favorite subject should be one that is related to your career and to the current job you are interviewing for and your least favorite should be a class that is unrelated to your career field. Don’t just name the subject and not expand your answer. The interviewer is trying to understand why you like or dislike something. You should also bring up any awards or achievements that related to the courses you are describing.
- My favorite class was Introduction to Creative Writing. It was an amazing class that helped me realize how much I enjoyed writing and wanted to share this passion with others. It helped me understand that I wanted to be a secondary education teacher.
- My least favorite subject was calculus. I did enjoy the teacher but didn’t enjoy the actual classwork.
Do you plan on pursuing your graduate degree?
Before the interview do some research and try to determine how the company you are interviewing with encourages employees to earn their graduate degrees. Many companies pay for their employees to earn their graduate degrees. If the company does encourage their employees to earn their master’s or other graduate degree then leave open the possibility when answering this question. If you aren’t sure, talk about how that is always an option but right now you are focused on building your professional career and gaining real world experience.
- Yes, that is something that I would like to do. I think it is very important to continue to learn and expand your experiences. I read where your organization has tuition benefits and encourages its employees to earn graduate degrees while still working. This was very appealing to me.
- Right now my focus is on gaining experience. I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely ruled out never going back to earn a graduate degree however at this point I’d like to focus on building a strong, professional career.
What qualifies you for this position?
When answering this question be sure to discuss your key strengths. Make sure the strengths that you discuss are ones that are related to the position you are interviewing for. Also it is a good idea to talk about your willingness to take on additional responsibilities and how you are eager to learn new things.
- I have extensive experience in financial analysis and accounting principles and I have the specific skill set this position requires. I’m also willing to take on additional responsibilities and am excited to help XYZ Company to accomplish its goals.
- I’m experienced in all aspect of marketing including promotional material development, social media management and event coordination. I’m a very fast learner and I take great pride in my work. I’m eager to take on responsibilities that will help XYZ Company build its brand and gain new customers.
Why is there a gap in your work history?
Employers understand that people loose their jobs either buy choice, or otherwise and it’s not always easy to find a new job fast. The best option when answering this question is to be honest and also to have a list of activities you have been active in during your unemployment. This could include freelance projects, volunteer work or the fact that you were taken care of family members.
- When my past company went through a tough period they had to do layoffs and unfortunately my department was included in that restructuring. During this time I have been working on several freelance projects handling event promotion and at the same time I’ve become very actively involved in the Fort Worth chapter of the American Marketing Association.
- After graduation it was difficult to find an advertising position in the job market, which is why there is a gap between graduation and now. However, I’ve been continuing to enhance my skills and education by taking classes on Adobe InDesign and Photoshop so that I’ll have the most up to date computer training necessary to succeed.
Tell me about your volunteer experience?
It is a good idea to always have some volunteer experience that you can talk about in an interview. This doesn’t have to be something that takes up all of your weekends but something you can talk about that has shown you have helped others or your community. Volunteer experience can range from mentoring a teen, building a Habitat for Humanity House or even running in a race to help raise funds for a worthy cause.
- I volunteer to help the local elementary school promote its yearly fundraiser to the community. It is very rewarding work to be able to use my professional marketing skills to help raise money for new playground equipment for the local school kids.
- I was a volunteer during Hunger Week at TCU when I was a student. I helped organize the silent auction and also worked the various activities. When organizing the silent auction I was responsible for meeting with companies in the area to solicit donations. It was great using my communication skills on such a worthy task.
Why do you want to leave your current position?
No matter why you want to leave or why you left your last position do not badmouth the company or your boss. Try to present the situation in a positive light.
- At my current employer there isn’t room for growth and I’m ready to move on to new challenges.
- At my current position I am unable to fully utilize my skills and experience, this position seemed like an excellent match and a great organization to work for.
What motivates you?
This question will help the interviewer see if you are a good fit with the job opportunity, what will motivate you to do a good job. Try and make your motivation relevant to what the organization and job you are interview for can provide. Remember there are many different motivators including team involvement, recognition, challenges, increased responsibilities and achievements.
- Responsibility motivates me. I think it is very important to feel ownership in your work and feeling responsible for the job you do helps me contribute a hundred and ten percent.
- I am motivated by the challenge of completing projects on budget and ahead of time and by working with a diverse team to accomplish the key objectives.
Give an example of when you have shown initiative? (Behavioral)
This question may be asked to see if you are the type of person that can work independently. The interview is interested in seeing if you are the type of person who will take the initiative to solve a problem without being told. Describe the situation and what you decided to do to solve the problem.
- While I was at TCU I joined the XYZ club. I noticed that attendance at the meetings were low, not very people were excited about attending. I thought it would be a good idea to have a portion of our meetings dedicated to an outside speaker that would talk about current events students should be aware of. Our attendance more than doubled and everyone was excited about the change.
- When I was with XYZ Company I was responsible for processing a lot of forms. I developed a plan to move on the paper forms to online forms so that the information would be automatically put into a database. This cut down the processing time by more than 75% saving the company time and resources.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
When answering this question it is important that you create a balance between ambition, honesty and your desire to be working at the company you are interviewing for. The interviewer is looking to see if you have planned ahead and established goals for your career, and if those goals match those of the position or company. Most employers want you to stay around for more than a year or two so saying you want to move to another country, start your own business or change career paths would not be the best way to answer the question. Give a realistic vision and explain how this five-year goal is set on your expectations to excel in the position you are interviewing for. Lastly your answer should be focused on professional plans not personal.
- I hope that five years from now I will still be working at XYZ Company and will have made a significant impact in the Marketing department. That I’ve helped grow our product to be the best in its field.
- I hope to stay at the company that I join and that in five years I would have made a significant contribution. I don’t have a specific plan but I know that I am prepared to learn new things, work hard and contribute to the overall success of this company.
How do you handle deadlines?
A good strategy in answering this question is to describe how you establish priorities, set deadlines and then determine the schedule of activities to meet those deadlines. Give an example of a situation you had in the past involving deadlines and how you handled the project successfully. Focus on your use of time management and problem-solving skills.
- I respond well to the challenge of deadlines. In my last position, I was responsible for the financial reporting for the entire division. I would first determine what my priorities were and then develop deadlines for the reports that I had to complete. Next, I would develop a schedule of activities and assign a completion date for those activities. Many times I was working with a team so I would also communicate with the team their assignments and deadlines.
- In school I was always managing a deadline for a class, internship or extracurricular activity. I learned that I enjoy the challenge of meeting deadlines and work well under pressure. It was important for me to have an overall view of everything I was working on and then prioritize projects to ensure the most critical items were handled first. This approach helped me meet my deadlines.
Give an example when you used creativity to solve a problem. (Behavioral)
The interviewer is looking to see if you have been innovative and creative in solving problems such as developing new procedures or thinking outside the box. A good approach is to describe how you approach solving problems in general. First, you gather information and ask questions to truly understand what the problem is. Next, you think creatively to see if there is a better way to handle the situation. Ideally, your solution saves time and resources.
- I had a real estate client that was interested in buying a ranch that had specific requirements. However, there wasn’t anything on the market that met these specifications. Instead of just waiting for something to come on the market, I developed and sent out a letter asking landowners if they would consider selling their ranch. Through this process, I found a landowner who was willing to sell, and I ended up making the deal happen.
- When I was in my marketing internship at XYZ Company, it was my responsibility to develop new ideas on how to reach their target audience. Traditionally, the company relied on email and direct mail to communicate their information. It was my idea to develop a social media strategy that would engage the customers more than prior methods had done in the past. It was a huge success, and the company has continued with the social media campaign I created.
Give an example of when you didn’t achieve your objective. (Behavioral)
This question is asked so the interviewer can see how you handled a situation when you didn’t meet an objective, how you rectified the situation and what you learned from the experience. You do not want to reply with “I’ve always met my objectives.” No one is perfect, and answering this way will make you seem arrogant or naïve. Give an example of when you didn’t meet the objective but took steps to fix the situation so the objective was achieved in some way. Try and make the example relevant to the position.
- My first real estate development project was a medical office building that was being built for doctors who wanted to buy space instead of rent. At the time, the market was strong and we were able to reach the goal of selling 50% of the space before beginning construction. The ultimate goal was to sell all remaining office space by the time construction was completed. However, because the economy changed, I did not reach my goal of selling out the building by the end of construction. After the changes in the market, I realized the model of doctors buying space was not working so we decided to add an alternative, which was leasing space. Although I didn’t meet my original objective, I was able to adjust the plan and still achieve success with the project.
- One of the objectives I set when I was a senior was to be able to devote a significant amount of time volunteering with my favorite charity. However when school began, it was much more time consuming than I initially thought and I had to take on more hours in my job, so I was unable to meet the objective of volunteering significantly. I had to communicate with the charity about my change in hours. However, instead of just stopping all together we develop a way that I could still help when time allowed.
Tell about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision. (Behavioral)
Everyone has had to make a decision that was unpopular to co-workers, classmates or supervisors. The interviewer is looking to see how you handled the situation. It is important to not speak negatively about any of the people that were involved. Simply give an example of the situation and how you handled it in a positive manner. Be sure to stress your communication skills, which are essential in handling unpopular or difficult decisions.
- When I was group leader of a class project, I was responsible for ensuring the project was completed on time and professionally. It was my decision that we needed to start working on weekends and nights to make sure these objectives were met. There were a number of team members that did not want to work evenings. I brought everyone together as a group and explained the importance of what we were doing for both the class and the company for whom we were evaluating and providing feedback. I let everyone express his or her concerns and, afterward, I again stated the change that needed to be made. We still had one or two people who were not on board but, by giving them a chance to express their feelings, it helped the overall situation. By making this change we turned in a great project and received an A.
- At my last position, I was responsible for informing the department that we could no longer take clients out to dinner and be reimbursed for the cost. I gathered everyone together and explained that this decision was made to save costs. Our department was being reviewed and ,in order to have a better bottom line, I had to cut expenses. By brining everyone together and giving the reasons behind my decision, it helped ensure we were all on the same page. At this meeting, I also asked the team to brainstorm other ways we could meet with our clients in a more relaxed atmosphere. We came up with quite a few alternatives that we ended up implementing.
Give an example of when you made a mistake or poor decision and how you handled it. (Behavioral)
The key to answering this question successfully is to not focus on the poor decision but to focus on what you did to effectively handle the situation and make sure it didn’t happen again. The interviewer is looking to see if you are the type of person who can take responsibility and move forward. When you answer this question, be sure to discuss how you were able to recognize the problem and move forward in the most effective manner and shortest amount of time possible. Lastly, discuss the steps you took so that this type of issue did not happen again.
- When I worked for XYZ Company and was responsible for printing their marketing materials. There was a catalogue that I had reviewed and approved to print. When the printer brought me the final proof, I just assumed it was exactly what I had sent them. However, I soon discovered that there was a layout mistake that happened in the file transfer. It was minor but still a mistake that was printed. I didn’t take my time to triple check the catalogue, and it was my mistake. However, I learned a very valuable lesson, and I never had that situation happen again.
- When I was a senior at TCU I was a leader of a team project in my marketing research class. Each team member had an assignment and was responsible for sending me their completed task via email. When the deadline had passed, I hadn’t received one particular person’s assignment so I accused them the next day of not following through. Later that day I found out that the person had sent the email and it had gone to my junk email folder and I just hadn’t noticed. I apologized to him and included the team so they could see my mistake. From then on I always checked my junk mail folder and also learned to be patient under stressful situations.
Describe a time when you were faced with an ethical dilemma and how you resolved it. (Behavioral)
With this question, you should convey that you are confident and courageous enough to take action when situations become potentially unethical.
- At my current position, I deal with construction vendors on a regular basis. One of the vendors I use sent me a note thanking me for the business and included a gift certificate to my favorite steak place. When I received this, I called the vendor and thanked them for the note. However, I politely told him that I would be sending the gift card back. Although it wasn’t against company policy for me to keep the card, I never wanted my ethics to be questioned when I chose a contractor.
- When I was a senior, I was partnered with a classmate to develop a marketing survey for a local business in our marketing research class. The classmate knew that I was working and had a heavy class load at the time so they offered to develop the survey themselves in order to help me. I knew that was unethical and not the right thing to do. I thanked the classmate but explained that I wanted to advance my skills and earn the grade I deserved by completing my portion of the assignment.
Give an example of a time you contributed to a group effort. (Behavioral)
Teamwork is typically a crucial part of working in any organization. It is important to convey that you value teamwork and are able to work with a variety of people to collaborate around a shared purpose. You should convey why you think the group effort you participated in was successful.
- In college I was a member of the baseball team. If there was ever a situation where I learned the value of teamwork it was then. Being on a baseball team is like being in business, everyone is working toward a common goal that cannot be accomplished individually. I’m proud to say that by working as a team, communicating well and helping each other, the baseball team finished the highest it ever had my senior year.
- Teamwork has always been important in my work. I believe that great ideas come out of collaboration. At XYZ Company I was on a committee that was responsible for reevaluating the company’s mission statement. Obviously, this was a very important task. The team came from a variety of backgrounds and departments, and each of us had different communication styles. We were able to work together to develop what we felt was a more succinct and professional mission statement. The CEO was extremely pleased with our work and adapted our recommendations.
What type of people do you work well with?
When answering this question you need to stress your ability to communicate with and work with a variety of people. Give an example of a team you worked with that had people from different backgrounds and departments and how you collaborated together to accomplish a goal.
- I work well with all different types of people. In my career in commercial real estate, I have worked with bankers, investors, general contractors, doctors, construction works and even ranchers. I think it is important to be comfortable with who you are so you are comfortable working with people from different backgrounds and viewpoints.
- I enjoy working with a diverse group of people. At TCU, I was able to study abroad one summer and learned more than just the curriculum that was set. I learned how to communicate with different people and how to enjoy different cultures. I also enjoy working with people that take pride in what they do.
What type of people do you have difficulty working with?
When answering this question it is important to convey that, although you feel you work well with others, you do expect others to take pride in their work and contribute to the organizational team.
- I believe I can work well with anyone, but I do not enjoy working with people who do not take care of their responsibilities. When that occurs, I respectfully address the situation with the individual and politely attempt to get their cooperation.
- There isn’t one particular type of person that I do not work well with; in fact, I enjoy working with a variety of people. However, I take pride in doing my job well and hope others do the same. If there is someone that is part of a team who doesn’t share in the responsibilities, I try to fix the situation so that everyone is contributing.
How would you handle a situation when someone on your team was not contributing?
The interviewer is trying to gauge how you react to conflict and how you manage it. When answering this question focus on your ability to use your communication skills, your experience and your ability to stay calm. Also make sure you discuss the techniques you use to handle the situation such as asking questions, understanding everyone’s perspective, and working one-on-one with the individual to resolve the conflict quickly.
- I would handle the situation by meeting with the individual on a one-on-one basis. I would inform them of what was going on and ask if there were any circumstances that I needed to be aware of that were affecting their contribution. I would try to help them work through any issues and gain their support. If this was unsuccessful, I would determine what further steps needed to be taken so the team was not negatively impacted.
- I’ve been in a situation where a team member was not contributing. At TCU there were many group projects in my marketing classes. Once I was in a group with someone that had no interest in working on the project. I spoke with the team member and asked them to start contributing by completing their assignments. Unfortunately, the member still didn’t step up to the plate. After talking with the group, we decided it was appropriate to involve the professor to resolve the issue. I think it is important to try to resolve the issue first with the individual and then, if nothing changes, to escalate the situation. If you allow someone to not contribute but still remain on the team, you run the risk of causing internal conflicts and bringing down team morale.
Give an example of a time when you took on a leadership role. (Behavioral)
The interviewer wants to see your leadership style to see if it is a fit with the organization. They are trying to determine how you lead and influence people, as well as identify problems and resolve them. When answering this question, be sure to explain what the problem was and why it was important. Describe how you took steps as a leader to develop a strategy and implement a solution. Use an example that would be relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
- In my internship with XYZ Company, I was responsible for conducting a benchmark survey for all the various departments. I had to work closely with each department; and unfortunately, there were a few that didn’t cooperate because they thought of me as just an intern. To help fix the problem, I scheduled meetings with each department and explained the importance of the benchmark and how it would benefit them in the long run. I took on the role of project leader and showed everyone the importance of their cooperation and proved my ability to complete the task. After these one-on-one meetings, everyone cooperated and the project was a success.
- At XYZ Company, our Director left abruptly. When this happened, I met with our Vice President and proposed that I take on the Director position. Previously, I had helped the previous Director with all the reporting responsibilities and had a good handle on what needed to be done. In my proposal, I outlined how I would lead the department to meet goals that were clearly defined. The Vice President was impressed that I took the initiative to come to her and outlined how I could lead the department. I was given the position and was with the company for five more years.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Answering this question depends on your individual leadership style. Some people choose to build up a sense of trust by delegating but always being available to help. Others have a leadership style that is more authoritative and is the more traditional leadership role. Remember, one of the key aspects of any leader is setting a good example. No matter what the situation, a leader is one that shows integrity and respect for others. You could also give an example of a situation that illustrates your leadership style.
- My leadership style depends on the situation. There are times when one person needs to take charge and delegate and other times when brining everyone together to collaborate fits the situation better.
- I believe leadership starts with setting a good example and allowing individuals to take ownership in their jobs. I am not a micromanager; I encourage my employees to make decisions while always having an open door policy and giving them assistance when needed.
Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult person and the outcome of that situation. (Behavioral)
The interviewer is looking to see if you can rise above conflict, diffuse the emotions and find a win-win solution for everyone. Use this question to show your excellent communication and leadership skills. Keep a positive attitude when describing the situation; do not talk negatively about the difficult person. Explain how you professionally handled the situation and what you learned from the experience.
- While I was attending TCU, I worked as a waitress. There were a few times when I had to deal with an upset customer. Whenever this occurred, I always kept my calm and stayed professional. The majority of the time the situation was resolved without any issues. However, there was one incident when a customer became verbally abusive. I remained calm and did not let my personal feelings enter into the situation. However, when he did not stop I politely stepped away and returned with the manager who escorted the man from the restaurant.
- At XYZ company, I was responsible for managing their tradeshows and events. At one particular event, the customers were responsible for registering through me to attend. The night of the event, there was one customer who showed up but had not registered. As I was trying to get some information, he became upset that I had to ask him a few questions. I simply apologized for the inconvenience and assured him I was almost complete. He calmed down after that. Although I knew it was his responsibility to register, there was no need to upset a customer over such a small issue. In the end, he thanked me and ended up being a great advocate for the company.
Describe a significant accomplishment in your life.
A great way to answer this question is to give an example of an accomplishment that is related to the position you are interviewing for. Review your résumé and the job description and find something that is a match. Use that as an example to show your ability to contribute to the organization.
- At XYZ Company, I was responsible for the complete redesign of their website. I had a limited amount of time to develop the concept, write the copy and work with the designers to implement it. I was able to complete the website on time and under budget. The finished project was very successful, our page visits increased by more than 250% within a three month time period.
- Although I feel my biggest accomplishments are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement with The Boys and Girls Club of Fort Worth. Throughout my time at TCU, I volunteered by mentoring children and raising funds for their programs. I was involved with The Boys and Girls Club when I was younger and feel it is important to give back to the community.
Do you have a favorite book?
The interviewer is looking to see if you stay current and to learn more about your interests. When answering this question, you do not need to give a book report. The interviewer is interested in learning more about who you are and why you enjoy the book, rather than what the book is actually about. When choosing a book to discuss, ask yourself whether you acted or thought differently after reading it. Why did you enjoy the book? Was there a character in the book with whom you could identify with or relate to their experiences? Remember, what is important is why the book is your favorite, not the book itself.
- I read many different types of books, but my favorite is The Devine Comedy by Danti. Although the book was written in the 14th century, the themes and the journey the character embarks on are still relevant today. Every time I read it, I always find something new that I did not pick up on before. I enjoy reading books that require me to look at the bigger picture.
- My favorite series of books would be Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The series touches on philosophy and morality. There is the goal of the common good, triumph of good over evil and amazingly complex characters. I enjoy how each reader can interpret the underlining meanings of the parallels differently.
Describe your ideal job.
When answering this question it is best if you can describe a job that relates well to the position and company with whom you are interviewing. Think about what the environment would be like and the work you would be responsible for.
- My ideal job is working for a company that has strong ethics, doing something that I enjoy related to graphics design, and having the opportunity to continue my education. This place would allow me to put my knowledge and skills to good use, and I would be given the opportunity to grow.
- My ideal job would be in an environment that has excellent communication and great teamwork. It would also be a place where hard work is rewarded and where I would be encourage to learn and grow while contributing to the organizations goals.
Who has influenced you and how?
When preparing to answer this question, think about people who are leaders in your industry, mentors you had or even family members that you admire. Talk about how their actions or teachings inspired you. The best answer will highlight people’s qualities that would be valuable to the position for which you are interviewing.
- My mother has influenced me tremendously in my life. She taught me that, no matter what your goal is, hard work, determination and a great attitude will allow you to achieve it. I try to live by those principles in my work and personal life.
- My boss at XYZ Company was very influential. He always challenged me and helped push me to become innovative when working on projects. He was a great leader and taught me how to better communicate with others and work well with a variety of people.
What qualities do you admire most in people?
If you are asked a question about what you admire or who you admire, remember that the reason is much more important than the person. A good choice is to select qualities that demonstrate strong leadership, good communication or integrity.
- I admire someone who knows how to be a leader. It is important that a person not only talk about what needs to be done but actually leads by example.
- The quality I admire most in people is honestly. Because I work in the financial industry and business ethics are so important, it is essential that honestly be a core value.
How do you handle stress?
The interviewer is looking to see how you handle on the job stress. When answering this question, explain how you logically assess the situation and how you determine an action plan to alleviate the source of stress.
- When I become stressed at work, I take a step back, think about the situation and begin to create a plan of action. On a personal level, I manage stress by running a few times a week. It is a great way to reduce stress and clear you mind.
- I prioritize my projects and responsibilities so that I have a clear idea of what needs to be done and when. By planning, I am able to reduce the level of stress. However, I have found that I do work well under pressure and enjoy a challenging work environment so overall, stress is usually not an issue.
What type of supervision do you like?
It is important for an interviewer to know what type of supervision you prefer and to see if you are a fit for the available position. When answering this question, think back to past managers with whom you have enjoyed working for and learning from.
- I work best with a supervisor who is professional and values hard work. It is very important that I work with someone that I can learn from. I also believe it is crucial to have a supervisor who allows you to think out of the box and contribute new ideas.
- I enjoy working for a supervisor who gives constructive feedback so that I can improve myself and contribute even more to the organization. I think it is important for supervisors to have open communication so their staff feels comfortable asking questions and learning from them their expertise.
What type of work environment do you prefer?
Do your research before the interview and understand the organization’s work environment. If you think it is a good fit after researching the company, show how your preferred work environment matches their work culture. Explain why you believe you would be a great fit with the company, and detail your successes in similar environments.
- I want to join a smaller organization where I can work on a variety of projects to gain experience. I value an environment that encourages its employees to take on new assignments and try new ideas.
- work well in a variety of different environments. To me, the key factor in a successful environment is open communication and teamwork among employees. If those two factors are present, the actual work environment – casual or professional, large or small – doesn’t affect my performance.
Why should we hire you?
Before being able to answer this question, you need to review the job description in detail so that you can identify what the position requires. When answering, explain why the position interests you and what you will bring to that role. Give examples of why your skills and abilities make you a great fit for the position and mention previous successes. Be confidant in your abilities.
- My skills and abilities in sales are a great fit for this job. At XYZ Company, I was the top sales producer for two years and achieved an annual growth rate of 30%. I’m very excited about this opportunity and the challenges involved in the position.
- I believe I am the right person for this job and for this company because of my creative abilities and excellent communication skills. In my advertising internships, I consistently created new and innovative ideas for clients including a social media campaign for XYZ Company. I’m very excited about the possibility of working here and believe I have the right combination of skills and experience for the position.
What are your salary requirements?
Before answering any salary questions, research your industry and region and determine what the market is paying. Review the Interview Preparation section in this app for more details on researching salaries. Ideally, you want to wait until you have been offered the position before discussing salary and benefits. Sometimes reemphasizing your interest in the position and your negotiability can delay the salary talk until after an offer has been made. However, if this is not possible, try to get the interviewer to give you a range for the position before you tell them your requirements. If this figure is acceptable to you, you can focus on negotiating for the upper range based on your prior experience. If you provide a salary amount before obtaining a range from the interviewer, you run the risk of underselling or overselling yourself. However, you also want to avoid antagonizing the employer. If the interviewer is insistent, provide them with a range that is acceptable to you based on your market research. Be prepared to support your calculations through research and your applicable skill sets. Also, when considering salary, take into account other benefits such as insurance, pension plans, stock options, vacation time, sick leave and educational reimbursements. Finally, be aware that the salary for many entry level positions may be fairly set. If you have questions about this, you can ask the employer whether or not the salary is negotiable.
- I am very excited about this position and the organization. I know that I have the skills and abilities needed to make an immediate impact. I would like my salary to be consistent with the rest of the market. Do you have a salary range for this position that we could discuss?
- My salary requirements are negotiable. If we get to the stage where you would like to make a job offer, I would be happy to discuss my salary requirements in more details at that time.
- I would appreciate it if you could make me an offer based on what you have budgeted for the position and we can go from there.
- Based on the responsibilities of the job, what the average market salary is and my proven success, I am looking for compensation within the $40,000 to $50,000 range.
Where else have you applied?
Be honest when answering this question and mention a few other companies you have applied to without going into details. When giving names of other places you have applied, make sure they are relevant to your industry. You don’t want the interviewer to think you are unfocused and applying for anything. The interviewer is looking to see if you are seriously looking and keeping your options open. You can hint that you are in demand without sounding arrogant. If the job that you are interviewing for is your first choice, let the interviewer know.
- I have applied to XYZ and ABC as well as your organization. However, the job that I am most excited about is the opportunity with your company.
- I have applied at a few other accounting firms but this is the position that I feel is the best fit for me. I’d love the opportunity to work for such a leader in the industry.
Are you willing to travel?
When asked this question, first clarify how much travel is involved – is it one night a week or five days a week? Then answer honestly based on whether the amount of travel will fit into your lifestyle. There is no reason to say “yes” if you have to be home five nights a week. However, if travel is not an issue for you, answer with an enthusiastic “yes!”
- Yes, I enjoy traveling and realize that to be successful in this position, travel is essential. That is not a problem for me.
- Can you tell me the number of days per week the travel would involve? I would not have any problems traveling up to two days a week. Also, I am open to working in the evenings and weekends if necessary.
Are you prepared to relocate?
When answering this question, keep in mind the interviewer may be asking you this for long-term reasons. Research the company and determine if they have offices in other parts of the country or world where you could potentially work. Just like the travel issue, this is a personal decision and you must decide whether relocating fits into your lifestyle. If the answer is “no,” and you would never be willing to relocate, let them know. However, if it is something you would consider in the future, communicate that. If you would be willing to relocate now, use that as a selling point as to why you are a great candidate for the position.
- I am unable to relocate but am willing to travel to other offices when needed.
- I am not willing to relocate but am willing to commute to another office. I know there is one a few hours away, and it would not be a problem if I worked there for a period of time
- I am open to relocation in the future depending on the opportunity.
- I am not able to relocate at this point because my children are in high school, and I don’t want to them to have to switch schools. However, when they go off to college in two years, I will be open to relocation.
- I am very excited about working with this company. I realize relocation is a possibility and, yes, I am very open to relocating.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
This is your last chance to summarize why you are a great fit for the position and why you want to work for the company. Take the opportunity to sell yourself by reviewing your education, skills, past successes and qualifications. If there was something that you wanted to discuss that wasn’t brought up in the interview, this is your opportunity to discuss it.
- I would like to reiterate my excitement about the position and interest in working for your organization. Based on my internship experiences and my degree from TCU, I know that I could contribute to the future of the company and be a great fit.
- There was something else I wanted to bring to your attention that relates to the position. While I was at XYZ Company, I was team leader for a new product launch. I managed a group of five individuals, and we worked together to create a very creative and successful advertising campaign. Since one of the job requirements for the position includes managing others, I wanted you to know I’ve had experience with this and enjoy managing teams of creative individuals.
How would you describe a typical week in this position?
Asking this question will give you insight into what you will be doing if you get the position. This will help you determine if the job would be something you would enjoy and a good fit.
Is there a typical career path for someone that you place in this role?
This question will help you to understand and explore possibilities for future advancement within the organization. Before you accept a job, you will want to think about how it will fit with your current and future plans. Ideally, you would work for an organization that had room for career growth and advancement.
How would you describe the company culture?
Asking about the company culture will help you determine if you would be a good fit at the company and learn more about their values.
How do you like working here?
It is always interesting to hear why others enjoy working at an organization. Asking this question may give you some insight into the company culture and leadership style.
What is the next step in the hiring process?
Ask this so you can get an idea of the recruitment process for the organization and when they are looking to make a decision. It is perfectly acceptable to ask about their time frame and when you should expect to hear back from them.
May I have your business card?
Always get a business card of everyone you meet when you interview. You will need to send thank you notes to each person. Review the After the Interview section in this app for more details on following up after the interview.
It is illegal for employers to base their hiring decisions on criteria such as nationality, age, marital status, family status, disability, race, color, religion or sex. Questions related to these topics are considered inappropriate; however, there may be a time when you are asked such a question. You could point out the inappropriateness of the question and refuse to answer, but this may give off the appearance of being confrontational. An alternative strategy is to ask the employer, in a non-defensive manner, how the question pertains to the position. If you can determine the purpose behind the question, you can address the interviewer’s concern, and not the question itself. For example, if you are asked about your marital status or family, you could respond that “There is nothing about my personal life that would get in the way of being successful at this company and doing a great job.” Of course, you can also answer the question forthrightly, if you so choose. Contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information on this subject.
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
If you have concerns about my personal life interfering with my job responsibilities or working long hours, you should know that I am committed to building my career and able to balance personal time with my work life.
Are you going to have children?
I am confident that I will be able to perform my job with or without kids. My current focus is to build a successful career.
What is your ethnic background?
While I look forward to working in a diverse organization, I prefer to keep my personal information separate from work.
Do you have a disability?
The challenges that I have do not affect my ability to perform the job functions of this position. I believe they provide me with a unique perspective of how to approach your business.