Sample Interview Questions and Worst Answers

Preparation is key to a successful interview.  Thinking about how you want to answer commonly asked questions in advance can help you avoid these “worst answer” blunders by job seekers.

So, tell me a little about yourself.

  • “there really isn’t much to tell.”
  • “I’m really not all that interesting.”
  • “I haven’t done much yet.”
  • “Well, I was born in xx and went to elementary school…..  5 minutes later the candidate is still babbling and the interviewer has completely glazed over.”
  • “My life really started going downhill when my parents got divorced when I was a teenager.  They really ruined my life.”
  • “once I joined AA my life started getting better”
  • “After I beat cancer for the second time…”
  • “I’m married, I have three kids ages 3, 5 and 7…”

Why do you want to leave your current job?

  • “they don’t pay me enough”
  • “they expect me to work too many hours”
  • “my boss is a jerk (idiot, etc.)”
  • “my colleagues are all idiots”
  • “they don’t know what they are doing there”
  • “the company is on the brink of bankruptcy”
  • “I think they are probably doing some illegal things”
  • “I’m bored out of my mind”
  • “they don’t give me things that I like to do”
  • “After six months of doing the same thing every day, I’m ready for a change”
  • “I need more flexibility to handle my kids activities after school”

What interests you about this company?

  • “I don’t know anything about the company but figured why not apply since I really need a job.”
  • “My friend works here”
  • “I heard you pay well”
  • “I need the benefits”
  • “It is close to home”
  • “it is a recognizable name so it would look good on my resume”
  • “I really like your product.”

What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

  • “I don’t have any weaknesses”
  • “I really don’t know.”
  • “I get things done.”
  • “I was a star student (athlete)”
  • “I can make other people get things done.”
  • “I’m the best candidate you are going to see so we could save time by moving the process forward.”

How would your current or former colleagues describe you?

  • “the best employee they ever had”
  • “the only employee who did things right”
  • “someone who worked hard even though they were given the boring jobs”
  • “their best friend”
  • “A great guy to hang out with after work.”

What is your goal for the short term?

  • “I need to get a job as soon as possible.  I have bills to pay.”
  • “ I need the health/dental insurance right away so I can have some problems taken care of”
  • “Get a new job that isn’t so boring”
  • “Get a new job that doesn’t require any nights or weekends”
  • “Get a job working with people who have more realistic expectations”
  • “Get a job so I can move forward with a divorce”

Do you prefer to work independently or in a team?

  • “working with teams is such a waste of time since half the people don’t do anything anyway.  Just give the work to the person who can get it done.”
  • “Other people think they know it all and they don’t so teams are a waste of time”
  • “I can get everything done on my own without needing help from anyone else”
  • “I always get everything done that is assigned to me on my own”
  • “I just put my head down and plow through the work. “
  • “working with a team makes things take longer”
  • “I only like working with a team if there is someone on the team who really knows how to do all the work”

Are there certain tasks or types of people you find difficult to work with?

  • “People who think they know it all aren’t fun to work with”
  • “I don’t like working with people who are obsessed with following the process.  Rules are meant to be broken.”
  • “Demanding people stress me out.  They set deadlines and expect everything to get done by their deadline just because they said so.  They probably don’t really need it then.”
  • “I hate having to do the same thing every day.”
  • “Repetitive tasks are too boring.  Once I know how to do things they should make someone else do the boring stuff.
  • “I don’t like people who keep checking to see if my work is done or if I’m making progress.  I’ll get to it.

Let’s talk about salary.  What are you expectations?

  • “I know I’m worth a lot more than what I’m making now.”
  • “I just finished an MBA so I’m worth at least $25K more than I was making before.”
  • “My rent just went up and I have car payments to cover so I need more than I was making before.”
  • “I’m a hard worker so I deserve to be at the top of your range.”

Do you have any questions?

  • “no.”
  • “not really”
  • “you already answered them all”
  • “Do I get the job?”
  • “how much does the job pay?
  • “How much vacation and sick time would I get?
  • “Can I still take my planned trip next month?
  • When can I start?
  • Is the drug testing really required?

Find more interview advice from Lynne in these Tips for a Successful Interview!

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