Interview Prep

Common Interview Questions
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your career plans and goals (short and long term) and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • In what university activities have you participated? Which did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What extracurricular offices and positions have you held?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • Describe a typical day.
  • What magazines, newspapers or journals do you read?
  • What's the last book you read?
  • What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What jobs have you held? How were they obtained and why did you leave?
  • What jobs have you enjoyed the most? The least? Why?
  • What is your major strength? Weakness?
  • What have you done that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
  • What motivates you in a job?
  • What three words describe you best?
  • What type of person irritates you most?
  • Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
  • What kind of boss do you prefer? What kind of people do you prefer to work with?
  • What geographic preferences do you have? Are you willing to relocate?
  • How do you feel about traveling on a job?
  • Do you have plans for advanced study?
  • Why did you seek a position with our company/agency?
  • What do you know about our company/agency?
  • Why should we select you for this job?
  • What can you offer us that other candidates can't?
  • What questions do you have about the job or our company/agency?
Questions to Ask

At the end of nearly every interview, interviewers will turn the tables on you and ask if you have any questions for them. The correct answer to that question is always a resounding "YES!!" Not having a prepared list of questions ready for the employer will make it appear that you're not interested in the position or the company, so you MUST have a list ready. This is another place where the research you should have done on the company will come in handy. This research will help you to come up with some targeted questions to ask the employer. Here are a few possibilities to get you started:

  • What are the organization's objectives/mission?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • Describe a typical work day.
  • Describe the work environment.
  • What will be the greatest challenge in the job?
  • What is the retention rate for people in the position for which I am applying?
  • What type of training programs do you have for employees?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in your organization?
  • How is an employee evaluated and promoted?
  • Based on past records, what is the realistic time frame for advancement?
  • What are the company's plans for future growth?
  • What makes your company different from its competitors?
  • What do you enjoy about working here?
  • What qualities do you look for in new hires?
  • What are the expectations of new hires?
  • What characteristics does a successful person have at your company?
  • When do you expect to make a decision?
Thank You Notes

Within 24-48 hours, send thank-you notes to everyone with whom you met during the interview process. These notes can be word-processed or hand-written on a note card, but they must be sent right away. While at the interview, be sure to ask for business cards from everyone you meet so you'll have the correct spelling of their names and their contact information. In the note, thank the interviewer for his or her time and reiterate your interest in the position and company, briefly pointing out once again why you feel it's a great fit for your background.

Here is a sample:

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I enjoyed speaking with you about the Sales Manager position, and after learning more about the position, I'm even more excited and think it's a great fit for my background.

As we discussed in the interview, I have extensive experience in sales and believe that my strong attention to detail and communication skills would make me an asset to your organization. AAA Company has a very impressive sales model and is poised for substantial growth. It would be great to be a part of your organization and contribute to this exciting future.

Thanks again for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Jeff Jones

Common Mistakes

Things to Avoid!

  • Not knowing anything about the company and clearly not having done any research prior to the interview, indicating a lack of interest in and enthusiasm for the company and position.
  • Not providing enough detail and specific examples when answering questions about skills/past experiences.
  • Being negative and complaining about past employers and/or experiences.
  • Not maintaining good eye contact.
  • Not exhibiting poise and self-confidence (ex: offering a weak handshake).
  • Not using professional language, such as saying "yeah" instead of "yes" and saying "like", "you know", "um" and "uh."
  • Arriving late for the interview.
  • Not having questions to ask the employer (see Questions to Ask).
  • Having a poor personal appearance.
  • Lack of clear and realistic career goals.