Interviewing Questions

Types of Interviewing Questions

There are three types of interviewing questions: Traditional / Direct, Behavioral, and Situational. Nowadays, many interviews contain all three types of questions because they give the employer insight into a candidate’s personality and work style.  To best prepare for the interview, take time in advance to imagine what the interviewer might ask you based on the position you’re interviewing for and the industry.

Traditional / Basic:

These questions are the typical ones you will probably be asked in any interview. You should answer honestly and thoroughly.

Examples:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What makes you qualified for this job?

Behavioral:

Behavioral interviewing questions involve asking you a question about a past professional or personal experience. Employers ask these questions because they believe your past behavior will predict your future performance. These questions require you to give the interviewer a specific example in 2 minutes or less.  Employers want to know specifically what your role was in the situation, so do not focus on what the team did.

Examples:

  • Tell me about a time when you took initiative.
  • Give an example of a time when you had a conflict.
  • Describe an error you made.
  • When have you gone above and beyond your normal job duties?
  • Give an example of a time you gave good customer service and a time when you received poor customer service.

How do you answer them?

Tell a story in 2 minutes or less using the PAR format:

Problem - Explain the problem/situation
Action - Describe the action you took
Result - State the positive results from your actions

Situational Questions:

Situational questions ask the interviewee to answer a hypothetical question. How you answer these questions demonstrates your ability to think on your feet and under pressure.

Examples:

  • What would you do if you had a disagreement with a co-worker?
  • What would you do if you disagreed with a new company policy or procedure?
  • What would you do if your supervisor criticized your work?
  • What would you do if you were given a deadline that you did not think was reasonable?

How do you answer them?

  • If you have been in a similar situation before, answer it using the PAR method.
  • Think up an answer based on what you think the organization and/or position might expect (and you would actually do!), based on their mission statement, values, company information, etc.
  • Give examples of what you have observed from upper management/co-workers that had successful outcomes.
  • Describe what you would do, based on facts, figures, and the latest research in your field.

Questions for the Employer

In addition to the employer asking you questions, you should also prepare 3-5 questions to ask the employer at the end of the interview. This will demonstrate your interest in the position and desire to make sure it is a good fit for both parties.

Sample questions for an employer:

  • Why is this position open?
  • What is the culture like in the office?
  • What makes a candidate successful in this position?
  • Are there any current changes that are happening in the company?