interview questions

  1. Why do you want to work here? How can you help our company? Why should we be interested in you?
    Answer is always based on information you’ve researched in advance about the company and their needs.
  2. If you were choosing someone for this job, what kind of person would you select?
    Answer is to generally state your own general qualifications, without being too “obvious.” Leave out the details.
  3. If you could have any job, which one would you want at this company?
    Answer has to do with the most general description of the job – NOT A SPECIFIC TITLE.
  4. What weaknesses do you have for this job?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Answer is to ponder for a while and then state that you can’t think of any weaknesses that would compromise your performance at this job; or negatively impact your performance of the job’s responsibilities.
  5. What do you expect to get in this job that you haven’t gotten in you current/previous job?
    TRAP QUESTION. Do not say anything negative. State that your current/previous jobs have met or exceeded your expectations. With the new position you would hope to have broader responsibilities and make greater contributions.
  6. What do you see as your future here?
    I would expect to be contributing at higher levels and have increased responsibility over time.
  7. Are you considering other positions at this time?
    TRAP QUESTION. Simply say “yes.”
  8. How does this opportunity compare?
    From what I’ve heard so far, very favorably … and I would like to learn more.
  9. What other companies/opportunities are you looking at now?
    As I’m sure you can appreciate, I’m not at liberty to say as I am still in discussions with these companies. I need to protect their privacy, as I would for your company under similar circumstances.
  10. What are your short and long term goals?
    Short range: To secure an appropriate new position where I can apply my skills and experience to increase the company’s productivity and profitability. Long range: Assume more responsibility and make greater contributions over time for my employer.
  11. What motivates you?
    Focus the answer on your core values, and also on the values and priorities of the company you are interviewing with (which you should have identified through your preliminary research).
  12. What have you done to improve yourself during the last year?
    • AP Reading
    • How Learning Works
  13. How do you spend your spare time?
    swing dancing, reading
  14. Tell me about your health.
    My health is excellent.
  15. If you could re-live your last 15 years, what changes would you make?
    Nothing is perfect, but overall I would say that I’m quite satisfied with the way my life and career have developed – so I wouldn’t make any significant changes.
  16. Tell me about your greatest achievement/disappointment in your life.
    • Finishing graduate school
    • Earning teaching award
    • As for the disappointment, give an answer similar to the one above, implying that “overall, I would say that I’m quite satisfied with the way my life and career have been developing, so I really can’t think of any major disappointments.”
  17. What did you like best/least about your last job?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Explain what you liked best. Then say that while every job has its challenges, you have been fortunate enough to learn and grow professionally in each of the positions you have held.
  18. In your last position, how much of the work did you do on your own, and how much as part of a team? Which did you enjoy more?
    Talk in terms of your flexibility and adaptability – your ability to work in whatever mode seems appropriate to the situation. Make it clear that you have been equally effective in teams or working independently, as each case demanded. You enjoy both; it’s more about what will work best for the project and the company at that time.
  19. What are some of the more difficult problems you have encountered in your past jobs? How did you solve them?
    Tell two or more pre-prepared accomplishment stories. Keep it POSITIVE!
  20. Did you ever make suggestions to senior management? What happened?
    Say “yes.” Tell some accomplishment stories and results, in which you positively influenced senior management.
  21. At your previous job(s), what did you think management could have done to make you function more effectively as an employee?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Say that the employer was very good in providing resources and support to your position, and that you have no complaints about this.
  22. What has kept you from progressing faster and farther in your career?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! State: “I don’t know what could have given you the impression that I am dissatisfied with the progress and pace of my career. I am quite satisfied with where my career is at this point in my life. However, I am ready to take on greater challenges.”
  23. What else should we know about you?
    Tell one or two more of your best accomplishment stories. You can also repeat how well-suited you think you are for the opportunity, and how interested you are in the job.
  24. Tell me about the best/worst boss you’ve ever had.
    TRAP QUESTION: Never state anything negative! Say that while every boss has been different, you have worked productively with, and learned something from, each one. (Be prepared to give some examples of what you have learned.)
  25. Everybody likes to criticize. What do people criticize about you?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Say that you can’t think of any criticisms you have received from colleagues on the job. Of course, there have been areas for development – such as when your supervisors would have given you your “employee review,” and they might have made a suggestion for improvement. State that you have always taken these kinds of suggestions seriously and have taken steps to make the improvements that were requested, and that this has made you stronger as a professional. (State at least one example).
  26. Everyone has pet peeves. What are yours?
    TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Turn this question around, by talking about your high professional standards. Your only “pet peeves” are with yourself – pushing yourself hard and not accepting mediocrity, for example – or how you are always striving to reach your full potential on the job, etc.
  27. What is your leadership style?
    Talk in terms of your flexibility and adaptability – your ability to lead in whatever mode seems appropriate to the situation. Explain that it’s more about what approach will work best for the project and the company at that time. Give an example or two, demonstrating different leadership styles, using your accomplishment stories.
  28. Are you geographically mobile? (or) Are you willing to put in a lot of extra time?
    • Ask for clarification – what exactly does the interviewer mean? Then, according to their answer, either say, “that would be no problem at
    • all,” or tell them “you’d like to give it some thought and get back to them within 24 hours.”
  29. You don’t have the experience/background for this position. How could you handle it?
    • Say you’re confused by their comment, that you’re quite confident that you DO have the experience and background for this position, and that you’re a very strong match for the responsibilities. Ask what specifically concerns them about your background; what’s missing in your experience? (Sometimes the interviewer is just testing you.) Re-state your qualifications as needed, tying your accomplishment
    • stories to the employer’s requirements.
  30. You’re overqualified for this position, aren’t you? (even if you are slightly overqualified)
    State: No – I see a lot of challenges in this opportunity, and I’m sure that I would find the work extremely interesting. Give some examples of what you mean, and talk about the new dimensions of experience and skill that you would bring to the position, almost as though you would expand the level of contribution in this job, thus making it more than it is at present.
  31. We have all the information we need. We’ll be in touch.
    Take the initiative. Ask such questions as: “Where do I stand? Am I being considered as a strong candidate? When should I expect to hear from you, or would you prefer that I contact you in a day or two? What is your time-frame for making a final decision? Is there anything else I can provide to facilitate the process?” etc. Then re-state your strong interest in the position and your confidence that your background is an ideal match to the job.
  32. Recall a time when your education and experience did not prepare you for a task. What did you do?
  33. Describe a problem you've recently been asked to solve.
  34. Give me an example of a good decision you have recently made.
  35. Interacting with others can be challenging at times. Describe a situation when you wished you had acted differently with someone.
  36. Describe a situation when you were able to help a team member or peer.
  37. Describe the best/worst team of which you have ever been a member.
  38. Have you found any ways to make your job easier?
  39. Give me an example of doing more than is required in your current position.
  40. Can you think of some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were sold, implemented, or carried out successfully because of your efforts?
  41. Tell me about a difficult situation you recently had to manage.
  42. Jobs differ in the extent to which unexpected changes can disrupt daily responsibilities. How do you feel when this happens? Why? Tell me about a time when this happened recently.
  43. Describe a situation that required several things to be done at the same time.
  44. Tell me about a time when you were a leader.
  45. Describe a situation in which your efforts influenced the actions of others.
  46. What skills do you find most critical to your success?
  47. What do you like / dislike most about your job, company?
  48. What has been your greatest challenge?
  49. If you could change something about your career path, what would it be?
  50. What is your dissertation about?
  51. Why are you working on your thesis topic?
  52. What are you going to work on after you complete your thesis?

  53. Have you had any consulting experience?
  54. What kind of computer setup do you have at A&M?
  55. Who is the best teacher you ever had? Why?
  56. What courses have you taught and have you enjoyed them?
  57. How will you teach the CLT to students who know nothing about it?
  58. Why did you choose to study statistics?
  59. Why did you choose to attend A&M?
  60. What do you expect to be doing 5 years from now?
  61. What do you do when you are not working?
  62. Who is at A&M?
  63. What is your spouse doing?
    S/he is in a very employable field.
  64. What do you know about CMU?
    emphasizing a combination of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and teaching
  65. What makes you the best applicant for this position? Why should the employer take you over other applicants?
    • award-winning instructor
    • well-qualified to teach many classes
  66. Can you give me five words that best describe you?
    • organized
    • loving
    • demanding
  67. What are the key elements of a well-designed exam?
  68. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a classmate’s or colleague’s working style in order to complete a project or achieve your objectives.
  69. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem. What did you do? What was your thought process? What was the outcome? What do you wish you had done differently?
  70. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  71. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). How did you handle the situation? What obstacles or difficulties did you face? How did you deal with them?
  72. Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
  73. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed. How did you handle it? Why? Were you happy with the outcome?
  74. Tell me about a goal that you set that you did not reach. What steps did you take? What obstacles did you encounter? How did it make you feel?
  75. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result?
  76. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples.
  77. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
  78. What courses could you teach here?
    201/202, 207/208 (business stat), 303 (sampling), 309 (experimental design), possibly 315 data visualization, regression 401/402
  79. Tell me about your research
  80. What makes a good advisor?
  81. It is the third week of your introductory class and you notice that some students really aren't paying attention, some are sleeping and some aren't showing up - what do you do?
  82. How do you feel about having to teach required courses?
  83. How would you encourage students to major in your field?
  84. In your first semester you would be responsible for our course in _____. How would you structure it? What textbook would you use?
  85. What is your teaching philosophy?
  86. If you could teach any course you wanted, what would it be?
  87. Have you had any experience with distance learning or technology in the classroom?
  88. Are you willing to become involved in committee work?
  89. If you have more than one job offer, how will you decide?
Card Set
interview questions
interview questions and answers