Interview questions to prepare for, and some you can’t prepare for.

These are the fifty questions that cover most situations. If you can deal with these in a coherent fashion, you will be in the running:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. What are your weaknesses now known as development areas?
  5. What do you know about us?
  6. Why should I hire you?
  7. Why did you (or why do you want to) leave your current employer?
  8. If you could turn back time and live your life over, what would you do differently?
  9. Describe the ideal work environment for you.
  10. Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.
  11. If you could change one thing about your last (current) job, what would it be?
  12. How do you think your co-workers would describe you, both good and bad?
  13. How do you think your bosses would describe you, both good and bad?
  14. In prior performance reviews, what were your opportunities for improvement?
  15. What are your greatest accomplishments so far?
  16. Describe yourself in three words.
  17. Are you interested in managing or leading others? Why or why not?
  18. How do you define success?
  19. Besides money, what do you value or need most if you are to have job satisfaction?
  20. Have you ever been fired (laid off, outplaced, etc.)? Explain the circumstances.
  21. If you gave your last boss a performance review, what would he or she need to change?
  22. Do you prefer to work alone or with others? Why?
  23. Describe a difficult situation or task that you had to deal with, and how you did so.
  24. How do you feel about travel or relocation?
  25. Is there anything that would physically or mentally prevent you from performing this job?
  26. What other organizations are you pursuing, or are pursuing you?
  27. Do you consider yourself to be creative? If so, give some examples.
  28. How would you describe your personality?
  29. How much are you expecting to earn in this job?
  30. How do you feel about incentives, which are heavily tied to performance?
  31. How do you feel about psychological tests?
  32. How do you feel about drug tests?
  33. What are your goals for five years and ten years out?
  34. Do you prefer a job with clearly defined tasks, or one that is more self-directed?
  35. Do you prefer to work for a man or a woman? Why?
  36. How do you feel about working in a diverse workplace (with minorities, for   example)?
  37. If you could change three things about yourself, what would they be?
  38. Do you consider yourself to be a traditionalist? Why or why not?
  39. What motivates you?
  40. Do you think that people are basically lazy and need to be pushed to perform?
  41. Have you ever had to fire someone? Explain why and how you did it.
  42. If you could be in your own business, what business would it be?
  43. Do you consider yourself to be more of a people person or a taskmaster?
  44. What qualities do you think are necessary to be a leader?
  45. How long do you anticipate being in this job, or with our organization?
  46. Do you believe that success depends more on what you know than on whom you know?
  47. How do you perform under stress?
  48. Do you keep current in your field? How?
  49. Do you have any role models? If so, who are they, and why are they role models?
  50. What more would you like to know about the job, or about this organization?

Those are the stock questions but you will sometimes get questions that are designed to catch you unawares and to elicit a spontaneous reaction which may offer the interviewer further insight into how you think.  For instance:

  1. How long are you willing to fail at this job?
  2. Tell me what was unfair to you in your last job?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who wasn’t doing his/her fair share of the work. What did you do and what was the outcome?
  4. Give me an example of a time when you took the time to share a co-worker’s or supervisor’s achievements with others?
  5. Tell me about a time that you didn’t work well with a supervisor. What was the outcome and how would you have changed the outcome?
  6. Have you worked with someone you didn’t like? If so, how did you handle it?
  7. Tell me about a time that you helped someone.
  8. Tell me about a time that you misjudged a person.
  9. How do you get along with older (younger) co-workers?

And, finally, there are questions that are designed to take you completely by surprise.  You can’t prepare for these but it’s worth having a think about how you might answer them if only as a mental exercise which may ultimately be useful.  

  1. What do you think is the most useful function in Excel?
  2. What makes you happy about work on a Friday evening?
  3. How many flights go in and out of Dublin airport each day?
  4. What is it about this job you would least look forward to?
  5. If your friend was seriously injured and you had to get him to a hospital, would you speed and go through a red light?
  6. What do you think you would have to do to get fired?
  7. What are the three words that your parents would describe you with?
  8. What have you done in the past to get out of a tricky situation?
  9. Why is 99pc not good enough?
  10. How many ways can you get a needle out of a haystack?
  11. How would you explain Facebook to your Grandma?
  12. If you entered into a room full of people with different interests, what would you do?
  13. What do you mean/understand by ‘leadership’?
  14. By what criteria do you judge your own performance?
  15. What is the main thing that gets you out of bed each morning?
  16. Describe the hardest decision you have faced in the past 12 months.
  17. Who is your biggest hero?
  18. Give me an example of your extreme levels of tenacity.
  19. In a fight between a lion and a tiger, who would win & why?
  20. If you were to win €1,000,000, what would you do with the money?


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