Common Interview Questions

There are thousands of possible interview questions and preparing for each one would be impossible. Instead of preparing for specific questions, prepare for the question behind the question.

Questions designed to learn more about your relevant experience (Summary Statement).

The employer is asking for a description of your abilities and background as they relate to the prospective job. Common questions that can uncover this information are:
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How are you qualified for this job?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What makes you a good candidate for this position?
  • How did you come to choose this field?
  • Why are you interested in our company? or What do you like about our company? aka Why do you want to work here?
  • What interests you most about this position? or Why do you think you would like this particular type of job?
  • How would a co-worker describe your personality?
  • How would your last supervisor describe you? or Would your last supervisor recommend you for this position?
  • What outside hobbies do you have that enhance your professional knowledge?


Questions to help understand that you have the right skills (PSR).

This is your opportunity to sell yourself by specifically focusing on the skills that will be used in this position. Common questions that can uncover this information are:
  • What are your strengths?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What is your best quality?
  • What did you like most about your last job?
  • Tell me about a time when....
  • Tell me about a problem either involving personnel or a technical situation, that you were able to resolve.
  • Tell me about a time when you used an innovative approach to solve a problem at work?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used customer feedback to improve your services or product?
  • When have you had to make a decision under stress? How quickly did you arrive at a decision?
  • Give me an example of a time your day was interrupted and thrown off schedule. How did you handle the situation?


Questions to identify performance problems, as well as to determine whether you are interested in developing your skills (Sandwich).

The interviewer is looking for any issues or red flags that would eliminate you from the candidate pool.
  • Tell me about a weakness.
  • What did you find challenging in your last position?
  • What would you like to improve over the next year?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • Describe a mistake you made on your last job.
  • Why did you leave your last job?


Questions that pertain to your current salary requirements or salary history (salary screen).

The interviewer is trying to determine how much money it is going to take to make you happy.
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • How much did you make in your last job?


Questions to ask the interviewer to assist you in learning more about the position and fit.

This is your opportunity to learn more about the position, expectations, and realities of the position.
  • What are the skills and qualities you are seeking in your ideal candidate?
  • What do you see as the department's and company‚Äôs strategic goals and what must go right to achieve those goals?
  • What do you see as some of the challenges of this position?
  • What do want the new person to achieve the first three months on the job?
  • What would you like done differently by the next person who holds this job?
  • Describe how you see this company developing over the next few years.
  • What is the next step in your hiring process?
Download these questions.