Job seekers often ask why interviewers ask such a variety of questions and what connection those questions have to the specific position. With most interviewers, there is logic to the types of questions they ask. Bottom line, interviews are trying to determine if you have the skills and experience to succeed in the position, if you will add value to the team and if you fit the team and the organization. In additional to your qualifications, they want to be sure they want to work with you every day.
Most interview questions fall into a few broad categories and are asked for specific reasons.
General Interview Questions
- Why are you looking to make a change from your current position?
What is about this company and position that interest you?
- Why did you pursue an MBA?
- Why did you select Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business for your MBA?
- What do you know about our company?
- What do you know about our industry?
- What did you do last weekend?
- What book did you read most recently?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your areas for development?
- How would your manager and colleagues describe you?
These questions cover a broad range of questions. They help the interviewer get to know you as a person, to assess your interest in the position and the company and to determine how well prepared you are for the interview. They also gain insight into your decision-making process.
Behavioral Interview Questions
- Give an example of a time you had to juggle multiple priorities and what was the result.
- Tell me about a time you were on a team that had conflicts about how the work was going to get done. How did you handle it and what were the results?
- Share an example of a time you advocated for your idea and had an opportunity to implement it. How to did you accomplish that and what were the results?
- Tell me about a time you failed. What happened and how did you respond?
What employers really want to know is how you will perform in their role but since they can’t see the future, they rely on prior experiences to predict future behavior. Employers will tend to ask questions about qualities that are important to them in their work environment. Be sure to briefly set up the situation, explain the actions you took and summarize the results you achieved. Don’t spend so much time explaining the situation that you lose the results. You want the interviewer to see you as a successful member of the team.
Technical Interview Questions
- Give me an example of a complex use of Excel.
- Explain the steps you took to complete the monthly closing process.
- Walk me through the monthly analytics you review to monitor success of your online marketing initiatives.
- Describe the process to evaluate current suppliers and identify new suppliers.
These questions will vary depending on the level of the position, the field and the types of job responsibilities. Hiring managers want to glimpse the details behind what’s on your resume. What did you actually do in that role? What skills did you use in your position? They are looking for more specifics than you can provide on a resume.
- On a Tuesday morning in May, how many cars would you expect to see in the parking lot of ABC Retail and why?
- If the CEO stopped at your desk and asked for data to support a recommendation to stop accepting checks from customers, what information would you need to gather to help support or deny this recommendation?
- If you develop a new software application targeting parents of preschool children, what would you estimate the target market to be?
- How many golf balls would it take to fill the lobby of this building?
Hiring managers are looking to assess your thought process. There is not a specific right answer to these questions. They know you need to make estimates and assumptions. Walk them through your thought process and acknowledge your assumptions. Thinking on your feet may be critical for the job so demonstrate your thought process in how you answer mini-case questions.
- If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
- If you could choose one super-power, what would you select and why?
- What was your favorite thing to play as a child?
- If you learned you had only one month to live, how would you spend your time?
Some interviewers love to throw out random questions to see how the candidate responds. Show them you can think on your feet. The specific answer is less important that having an answer and providing a reason for your response.
If you are prepared for all types of questions and have done your research on the company you should be well prepared for success.