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By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell

Watch the following video before reviewing my interview preparation questions. I made it a couple years ago but it’s still extremely relevant.

Interview Preparation Questions

Review the following questions. In as much objective detail as possible, create a unique response for each one.

Hint: Don’t oversell yourself – stick to the facts and tell the story.

Share insights gained and professional lessons learned when possible. Try to quantify your statements. (i.e. “As a result of our efforts, we increased sales by XX%.”)

  1. Tell me about your greatest accomplishment on the job.
  2. Tell me about a difficult situation you encountered at work and how you overcame it.
  3. Give me three adjectives you would use to describe yourself and examples of your work style to support them.
  4. Give me three adjectives you would use to describe your weaknesses/areas for improvement and the reasons why you feel you need to work on these.
  5. If I was to ask a co-worker about you, how would they describe you on-the-job?
  6. Tell me about a time where you were required to work with a difficult person (i.e. client, co-worker, manager, etc.). How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
  7. If you were given a task to complete in an unrealistic time frame, what would you do?
  8. If someone came to you with an enthusiastic, yet unrealistic request, how would you handle it?
  9. Why are you looking to leave your current position?
  10. What do you want to get out of your next job?
  11. Tell me about the best manager you ever had? Now tell me about the worst?
  12. What are the three most valuable things you’ve learned while working in your current position?
  13. What was the biggest mistake you’ve made on a job? How did you handle the failure?
  14. What do you feel makes you successful in your current role? Give an example to support your success.
  15. What do you think makes a company good to work for? What do you like about your current company? What could be better?
  16. Do you prefer working alone or in teams? Give examples of how you have worked successfully both alone and in a team? What do you attribute your success to?
  17. What are your own business philosophies – what do you feel must be present in a successful business?
  18. What skills are you looking to develop in your next job? Why?

Bonus: Questions to Ask

Take a moment to look at the questions below. Re-write them in your own words so you can ask them in interviews.

Hint: Never, ever ask about money or benefits in the initial interview. It’s important to focus questions on the interviewer, then the company, and finally on you.

Interview Preparation ToolStep 1: Connect With The Interviewer

  • How did you join the company? What makes you stay?
  • What has this company taught you?

Step 2: Learn About The Work Environment

  • What makes the department I’d be working in successful?
  • I’ve done my homework on the company, but I’d love to hear you describe the corporate culture here in your own words?
  • What makes this a great place to work? And since no company is perfect, what could be improved upon?
  • What traits do you feel a person needs to be successful at this company?
  • Can you give me an example of a recent hire that has been successful?
  • How does the company measure its success? What evaluation criterion do they use?
  • What are the three greatest strengths of this company? What are the three greatest strengths of the department I’d be working in?
  • What are the three biggest challenges the company faces this year? And for the department I’d be working for?

Step 3: Ask For Feedback

  • If I could add/change anything about myself and my experience to make me a better fit for the position and the company, what would it be?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Good luck!