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Asking the right questions at an interview is important

for two reasons:

First, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm

your qualifications as a candidate for the position.

Second, you are interviewing the employer just as much

as the employer is interviewing you. This is your
opportunity to find out if this is an organization where
you want to work.

(MORE: How to Research Salaries When Job Hunting)

3 Things You Want to Achieve
When you ask the right questions, you want to achieve
three things:

 Make sure the interviewer has no reservations about you.

 Demonstrate your interest in the employer.

 Find out if you feel the employer is the right fit for you.

There are an infinite number of questions you could ask

during a job interview, but if you stay focused on those
three goals, the questions should come easy to you.

I recommend preparing three to five questions for each

interview, and actually ask three of them. (I like to have
more prepared than is needed because some of my
questions might be answered in the course of the

(MORE: How to Decode Job Descriptions)

10 Questions You Might Ask In a Job Interview
Here are 10 interview questions you could ask, and why:

1. What skills and experiences would make an

ideal candidate? This is a great open-ended question
that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the
table and state exactly what the employer is looking for.
If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover
yet, now is your chance.
2. What is the single largest problem facing your
staff and would I be in a position to help you
solve this problem? This question not only shows that
you are immediately thinking about how you can help the
team, it also encourages the interviewer to envision you
working at the position.
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3. What have you enjoyed most about working

here? This question allows the interviewer to connect
with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her
feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into
how satisfied people are with their jobs there. If the
interviewer is pained to come up with an answer to your
question, it’s a big red flag.
4. What constitutes success at this position and
this firm or nonprofit? This question shows your
interest in being successful there, and the answer will
show you both how to get ahead and whether it is a good
fit for you.

5. Do you have any hesitations about my

qualifications? I love this question because it’s gutsy.
Also, you’ll show that you’re confident in your skills and
6. Do you offer continuing education and
professional training? This is a great positioning
question, showing that you are interested in expanding
your knowledge and ultimately growing with the
7. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working
with? Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes
you will get the job. This question also tells you about the
people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to
the answer closely.
8. What can you tell me about your new products
or plans for growth? This question should be
customized for your particular needs. Do your homework
on the employer’s site beforehand and mention a new
product or service it’s launching to demonstrate your
research and interest. The answer to the question will
give you a good idea of where the employer is headed.
9. Who previously held this position? This
seemingly straightforward question will tell you whether
that person was promoted or fired or if he/she quit or
retired. That, in turn, will provide a clue to whether:
there’s a chance for advancement, employees are
unhappy, the place is in turmoil or the employer has
workers around your age.
10. What is the next step in the process? This is the
essential last question and one you should definitely ask.
It shows that you’re interested in moving along in the
process and invites the interviewer to tell you how many
people are in the running for the position.

When an employer asks you, “Why should we hire you?” she is really asking, “What
makes you the best fit for this position?” Your answer to this question should be a
concise “sales pitch” that explains what you have to offer the employer.
The best way to respond is to give concrete examples of why your skills and
accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job. Take a few moments to
compare the job description with your abilities, as well as mentioning what you have
accomplished in your other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the
company and the position. Here's how to prepare your response.

Think of the Job Listing
To prepare an answer to this question, look at the job listing. Make a list of the
requirements for the position, including personality traits, skills, and qualifications. Then,
make a list of the qualities you have that fit these requirements. For each quality, think
of a specific time that you used that trait to achieve something at work. For example, if
you list that you are a “team player,” think of a time in which your ability to work well on
a team resulted in a successfully completed project.

Keep it Concise
You want your answer to be brief – no more than a minute or two long. Therefore, select
one or two specific qualities from the list you created to emphasize in your “sales pitch.”
Begin by explaining what you believe the employer is looking for, and how you fulfill that

Focus on your Uniqueness

The interviewer wants to know how you stand out amongst the other applicants.
Therefore, focus on one or two qualities you possess that might be unique, or more
difficult to find, in other interviewees. For example, if you are very experienced with a
certain skill that the job requires, say so. This is your chance to tell the interviewer why
you would be an invaluable employee.

Examples of Answers
You have explained that you are looking for a sales executive who is able to effectively
manage over a dozen employees. In my fifteen years of experience as a sales
manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice
awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to
meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my leadership abilities and
strategies for achieving profit gains to this position.
You describe in the job listing that you are looking for a special education assistant
teacher with an abundance of patience and compassion. Having served as a tutor at a
summer school for dyslexic children for the past two years, I have developed my ability
to be extremely patient while still achieving academic gains with my students. My
experience teaching phonics to children ages 6 to 18 has taught me strategies for
working with children of all ages and abilities, always with a smile. My previous
employer often placed me with the students with the most severe learning disabilities
because of my history of success. I will bring not only experience, but patience and
creative problem-solving, to this position.

mployers often ask a question like "Why should we hire you instead of the other
candidates for this position?" as a way to discover the strengths of an
interviewee. Since you will rarely know the strengths and weaknesses of the other
candidates, this question is really just an opportunity for you to convey what qualifies
you most for the job.

Compare Your Resume to the Job Requirements

The first step in preparing an effective response to this type of question is to carefully
analyze the qualifications for your target job. Review the job advertisement and also
check the job section of the employer website where there might be a longer job

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It’s actually a good idea to do this before you apply for a job. That way you can tailor
your resume and cover letter so they are as close a match as possible to the job.
Here’s how to match your resume to the job requirements.
List the Employer’s Job Requirements
If the employer has provided a detailed list of their requirements and preferences in the
job description, then you are ready to proceed to the next step. If not, then search or by similar titles and look for ads which clearly delineate
what employers are looking for in candidates for those kinds of jobs.

Another way to gain a clear sense of employer preferences is to conduct informational

interviews with professionals in the field to get their view of what it takes to be
successful in that type of role.
Also check the skills required for the job. Here’s a list of skills that employers seek for a
variety of types of jobs.
List Your Qualifications for the Job
Make a list of the key qualifications for the job which you have uncovered through your
research. For each item on your list, review your own work, volunteer and academic
history to determine how you can show evidence of that qualification. Write down an
example which shows how you have employed that strength to your advantage.

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Why You Should Get the Job

Be prepared to describe the situation, project or challenge, actions you took which
showcase the asset and any positive results. Your assets can be skills, areas of
knowledge or expertise, personal qualities or relevant areas of experience.
Select 5 - 7 of your strengths that correspond most closely to the job requirements, and
use these as the core for your answer regarding what distinguishes you as a candidate.

You can add a couple of your other special qualities which have generally helped you to
be successful in productive endeavors and you will be ready to impress your

Are you overqualified for this job? Are you prepared to respond when an interviewer
asks if you're overqualified? Career expert and author,Joyce Lain Kennedy, shares her
best job interview answers to the question "Are you overqualified for this job?"
Keep in mind that you can customize these answers to fit your particular circumstances
and the job you are applying for.

Joyce Lain Kennedy's sample answers to the interview question "Are you
overqualified for this job?"
 Overqualified? Some would say that I'm not overqualified but fully qualified. With due
respect, could you explain the problem with someone doing the job better than
 Fortunately, I've lived enough years to have developed the judgment that allows me
to focus on the future. Before we speak of past years, past titles and past salaries,
can we look at my strengths and abilities and how I've stayed on the cutting edge of
my career field, including its technology?
 I hope you're not concerned that hiring someone with my solid experience and
competencies would look like age bias if once on the job you decided you'd made a
mistake and I had to go. Can I present a creative idea? Why don't I work on a trial
basis for a month -- no strings -- which would give you a chance to view me up close?
This immediately solves your staffing problem at no risk to you. I can hit the floor
running and require less supervision than a less experienced worker. When can I
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 I was proud to be a charge nurse but I really like getting back to working with patients.

 I'm flattered that you think I'm headhunter bait and will leap to another job when an
offer appears. Not really. This job is so attractive to me that I'm willing to sign a
contract committing to stay for a minimum of 12 months. There's no obligation on your
part. How else can I convince you that I'm the best person for this position?
 I'm here because this is a company on the move and I want to move up with you.
With more than the minimal experience to just skim by, I offer immediate returns on
your investment. Don't you want a winner with the skill sets and attitudes to do just
 My family's grown. And I am no longer concerned with title and salary -- I like to keep
busy. A reference check will show I do my work on time, and do it well as a team
member. I'm sure we can agree on a salary that fits your budget. When can we make
my time your time?
 Downsizings have left generational memory gaps in the workforce and knowledge
doesn't always get passed on to the people coming up. I could be an anchor or
mentor -- calm, stable, reliable and providing day-to-day continuity to the younger
team. For my last employer, I provided the history of a failed product launch to a new
marketing manager, who then avoided making the same mistakes.
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 As you note, I've worked at a higher level but this position is exactly what I'm looking
for. You offer opportunity to achieve the magic word: balance. I'm scouting for
something challenging but a little less intense so I can spend more time with my
 Salary is not my top priority. Not that I have a trust fund but I will work for less money,
will take direction from managers of any age, will continue to stay current on
technology and will not leave you in the lurch if Hollywood calls to make me a star.
And I don't insist that it's my way or the highway.

Top 20 Interview Questions

1. What were your responsibilities? - Best Answers
2. What did you like or dislike about your previous job? - Best Answers
3. What were your starting and final levels of compensation? - Best Answers
4. What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? - Best
5. What is your greatest strength? - Best Answers
6. What is your greatest weakness? - Best Answers
7. How do you handle stress and pressure? -Best Answers
8. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it. - Best Answers
9. What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position? - Best Answers
10. How do you evaluate success? - Best Answers
11. Why are you leaving or have left your job? - Best Answers
12. Why do you want this job? - Best Answers
13. Why should we hire you? - Best Answers
14. What are your goals for the future? - Best Answers
15. What are your salary requirements? - Best Answers
16. Tell me about yourself. - Best Answers
17. Who was your best boss and who was the worst? - Best Answers
18. What are you passionate about? - Best Answers
19. Questions about your supervisors and co-workers. - Best Answers
20. Questions about your career goals. - Best Answers

Interview Questions About You

 What is your greatest weakness? - Best Answers
 What is your greatest strength? - Best Answers
 How will your greatest strength help you perform? - Best Answers
 Are you lucky? - Best Answers
 Are you nice? - Best Answers
 How would you describe yourself? - Best Answers
 Describe a typical work week. - Best Answers
 Describe your work style. - Best Answers
 Do you consider yourself successful? Why? - Best Answers
 Do you work well with other people? - Best Answers
 Do you take work home with you? - Best Answers

Typical Interview Questions and Answers

 Why do you want to work for this company? Why are you interested in this job?

The interviewer is trying to determine what you know and like about the company, whether
you will be willing to make a commitment to the job, and if your skills match the job
requirements. Your research will be a big help in formulating your answer to this question.
Say as many positive things about the company as possible, show your interest in whatever
products/services they sell and explain why the position fits with your career goals.

 Have you done this kind of work before?

The interviewer wants to know if you can learn to do the job in a reasonable time and how
much training you will need. Never say "no" to this question. Instead, stress the experience
you do have that will assist you in learning the new job quickly and efficiently. No two jobs
are alike and you never do exactly the same work. In all jobs, new skills, rules and details
have to be learned. Be sure to mention the following:

o Your past work experience.

o Your education and training related to the job.
o Volunteer work that might relate to the job.
o Any transferable skills - e.g. organizational skills, people skills.
o Your ability to learn quickly and how quickly you learned that type of work in the past.
 What kind of training or qualifications do you have?
The interviewer is trying to find out what school credentials you have. If you have no formal
school qualifications but have a lot of experience, you might say:

o I didn't get formal school training for this job but I have (number) of years of
experience in the field. I'm willing to learn new skills or go to school to get further
training if I am offered the job. I learn quickly and I like to keep upgrading my skills.

If you have just completed a training course but have little work experience, you mightsay:

o I took a one year training program in (name of program) at (name of school) which is
related to the job I'm applying for. I look forward to working in the field and putting
into practice what I learned. I don't have a lot of work experience in this area but I
learn quickly. I know you will be happy with my work.
 Tell me about yourself. Why should we hire you?

The interviewer is trying to find out about you, your job skills and how well you express
yourself. Do not dwell on personal issues. State your best qualifications for the job. Be
specific and include examples to support your statements. Try to show that you meet the
employer's expectations. For example:

o I am punctual, dependable and can be counted upon to finish what I start. I get a
great deal of satisfaction from knowing that I have done something well and on time.
For example, at my present job, I was given different work orders every day. It was
my responsibility to finish the orders and make sure they all met quality and safety
standards within a specific deadline. On occasion, I had to familiarize myself with the
product and the production process. I was always able to learn quickly and carry out
my job responsibilities. Our company was known for making excellent processed
food products. In 1990, it received an award for being on of Canada's top companies
in the field. I feel I can use the same skills and hard work to do well on this job too.
 What do you do in your spare time?

Interviewers ask this question to see if your activities and hobbies might help the company
and to get an idea of what kind of person you are outside your work life. Describe any
volunteer work you do and any hobbies or interests that might relate to the job in some way.
Stick to active hobbies, such as playing sports, carpentry,gardening, etc. Avoid mentioning
inactive and non-creative activities such as watching television.

 What do you think of working in a group?

The interviewer is trying to find out about your ability to get along with others.Focus on the
o The advantages of working in a group. Explain how the various individuals in a group
complement one another in carrying out certain tasks.
o Give specific examples of your personal experience in a group
 How do you react to instruction and criticism?

The interviewer is trying to find out how you get along with Supervisors and how you feel
about authority. You might say:

o I appreciate getting instruction and criticism when it is done fairly and constructively.
 With the kind of work experience you have had, do you think this job would bore you?

The interviewer may think you are over-qualified and want this job only until something better
comes along. Stress that no job is ever boring because you always learn new skills. Mention
how you would benefit by working for the company and vice versa.

 Why did you choose this line of work?

The interviewer is trying to find out about your commitment to your career choice. In other
words do you do it because you love the work or just take any job you can get for the money.
If you did this work for many years and stopped due to a layoff,you might say:

o I have done this for (number) of years. I like my work. The only reason I left my last
workplace was because I was laid off.
 How well do you work under pressure or tight deadlines?

This question indicates that the job you're applying for will involve working under pressure.
Give examples of volunteer and paid work that involved pressure and deadlines. You could
mention that we are always faced with pressure and deadlines in our lives and you do not
mind the stress. Stressful situations are a learning and challenging experience. You might
mention the following:

o How you handled large rush orders at your last workplace.

o How you prepared for exams and homework assignments while working full-time and
attending school part-time.
o How you managed a crisis situation. (For example: a car accident)
 How often were you absent from work in your last job? Have you every had any
serious illness or injuries? Do you have any health problems?

The interviewer is trying to find out if you have any health issues which will cause you to take
a lot of sick days. You do not have to go into your health history for the interviewer. If you
have health problems that do not interfere with your work performance, do not give the
interviewer details about them. If you had a previous health problem that interfered with your
work in the past, but is no longer a problem, do not volunteer this information. It no longer
affects your work, therefore the employer does not have to know.

If you have a health problem that will affect your work performance, explain your situation
briefly and stress the positive points. I will be helpful to have a positive reference letter from
your previous employer. This letter should explain the type of duties you did and stress that
you are a steady worker who is responsible, hardworking and punctual.

 Are you bondable?

This question indicates that the job involves working with money or valuable merchandise.
Very likely the employer's insurance company requires that only bondable people be hired as
a condition of their insurance policy.As long as you do not have a criminal record, and you
have not previously been denied a bond, you should answer "yes" to this question. Caution:
If you answer yes when you are not legally bondable it is very likely that the employer will
discover this.

 Have you ever been fired or quit a job?

The interviewer is looking for clues to any problems you have had in previous jobs and if you
may have the same problems in a new job. Try to:

o Avoid saying anything negative about yourself or your previous employer. If you had
problems, explain them without being negative.
o Be careful not the use the word "fired" or "quit". Instead use words such as: "I
changed jobs", "I was laid off", or "I needed a more challenging job".
o If you were fired and are not on good terms with your previous employer, explain the
reason why you were fired. Stress that you learned something from the previous
 Why haven't you worked recently?

The interviewer is looking for clues to serious problems or job difficulties that could carry over
to a new job. You might say:

o Since I was laid off from my previous employer, I have been actively looking for a job.
However, as you know, there are many people looking for work and applying for the
same jobs. I have always worked steadily but I haven't been able to find a job in the
present job market.
o After I got laid off from my previous employer, I decided to go back to school to
upgrade my skills so I can get a better, more secure job.
 What are your long-term goals or career plans?

The interviewer may want to know if you are ambitious, plan ahead, or if you set goals for
yourself. The interviewer may also want to know what expectation you have of the company.
You might say:

o I hope to become very good at my job and perhaps take some chooling to become
more skilled in my field of work.
o I intend to learn (name of area or skills) very well so that I can be promoted to a
higher position in (name skill or department).
 What do you feel are your greatest strengths?

This is your opportunity to brag a little bit. It is important that you have done your research
about the type of work that you are applying for. For example if you are applying as a
production labourer and from your research you understand that this type of work required
people that have the ability to meet quotas, work as a team and make improvement
suggestions, then it is important for you to incorporate this into your strengths.

o Example:

My greatest strength is that I have a lot of initiative. I am always looking for a better
way to do things at work that I feel would save the company money and I can always
achieve my production quotas. For example one time I was working at my station
and I felt that I was wasting time by always having to walk to the other side of my
station to get some parts. So I reorganized the station and my supervisor was really
impressed as it increased my quota.

 What do you feel are your weaknesses?

You never want to give any indication of any weaknesses that you have. Turn you
weaknesses into strengths by working it to the employer's advantage.

o Example:

I am the type of person or is very hard on myself. I am always expecting myself to do

a little bit more. However, I guess this works out well for my employer.


I never like to leave work until I have every thing finished completely. Sometimes this
bothers me but I feel inside that it is important.

I am the type of person who always takes my work home with me. This sometimes
interferes with my personal life but I feel that work comes first.

 How would you describe your last employer?

Never run down or say anything negative about anybody or anyone. The employer will feel
that you will do it to them. You should state the positive things such as he had high
expectations and I really respected him for that. He was down to earth and really knew the
job I was doing, if I had any problems he was approachable and would always give me
suggestion or he gave the responsibility to do a good job.

o Example:

I liked my employer. He/she treated me fairly and respected my work


I appreciated my previous employer having given me the opportunity to acquire a lot

of skills and experiences in (name area of work skill).

 What five words would be describe you?

These should be your transferrable skills such as reliable, punctual, organized,friendly,

honest, cooperative, outgoing, easy to get along with, hardworking,energetic, take pride in
my work, responsible, respected,dedicated.

 What did you like about your last job?

Say only positive things that you feel could transfer across to the position your are applying

o Example:

I liked my last job because I got along well with my co-workers and the work was
challenging, fast paced and I was given a lot of responsibility to do a good job.

 Why did you leave your last position?

Keep this answer simple. If you were laid off simply say so, If your company downsized,
simply say so. Do not go into a lot of detail. If you were terminated you will have to say you
were let go but always follow up that as a result you have learned how to overcome this and
feel it will not affect you in the future.

 What are your long range goals?

The interviewer is trying to figure out whether or not you are going to be a long term
employee or whether or not you will be using this job as a stepping stone to another
objective. So, you should try to assure him/her that your intention is to stay with the company
and to grow in your career within the company. You should respond "I am looking for a
position with a company where I can stay and grow with and I feel this position would give
me this opportunity."

 What kind of machines or equipment have you worked with?

This is your opportunity to give some detail of what actual work skills you have. Don't be
vague, supply all of the information that you have to offer.

 What type of salary are you looking for?

Do not get into this subject unless you are forced to. Even then you want to leave an
impression that you are flexible in this area.

 What do you know about our company?

This is your opportunity to show them that you have taken the time to research their
company in particular.

 Do you have any other skills of experiences that we have not discussed?

List any other skills that you have that are related to the position. You can also discuss any
hobbies or volunteer experience you have and discuss any interest courses or educational
upgrading you have.

Sample Interview Questions with Suggested Ways of Answering

Q. Tell me about yourself.

A. This is the dreaded, classic, open-ended interview question and likely to be among the first. It's

your chance to introduce your qualifications, good work habits, etc. Keep it mostly work and
career related.

Q. Why do you want to leave your current job? (Why did you leave your last job?)

A. Be careful with this. Avoid trashing other employers and making statements like, "I need more

money." Instead, make generic statements such as, "It's a career move."

Q. What are your strengths?

A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job.

Q. What are your weaknesses?

A. Everybody has weaknesses, but don't spend too much time on this one and keep it work related.

Along with a minor weakness or two, try to point out a couple of weaknesses that the interviewer

might see as strengths, such as sometimes being a little too meticulous about the quality of your

work. (Avoid saying "I work too hard." It's a predictable, common answer.) For every weakness,

offer a strength that compensates for it.

Q. Which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

A. Answer with positive, work-oriented adjectives, such as conscientious, hard-working, honest and

courteous, plus a brief description or example of why each fits you well.

Q. What do you know about our company?

A. To answer this one, research the company before you interview.

Q. Why do you want to work for us?

A. Same as above. Research the company before you interview. Avoid the predictable, such as,

"Because it's a great company." Say why you think it's a great company.

Q. Why should I hire you?

A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job, and the good job you've done in the past.

Include any compliments you've received from management.

Q. What past accomplishments gave you satisfaction?

A. Briefly describe one to three work projects that made you proud or earned you pats on the back,
promotions, raises, etc. Focus more on achievement than reward.

Q. What makes you want to work hard?

A. Naturally, material rewards such as perks, salary and benefits come into play. But again, focus

more on achievement and the satisfaction you derive from it.

Q. What type of work environment do you like best?

A. Tailor your answer to the job. For example, if in doing your job you're required to lock the lab

doors and work alone, then indicate that you enjoy being a team player when needed, but also enjoy
working independently. If you're required to attend regular project planning and status

meetings, then indicate that you're a strong team player and like being part of a team.

Q. Why do you want this job?

A. To help you answer this and related questions, study the job ad in advance. But a job ad alone may

not be enough, so it's okay to ask questions about the job while you're answering. Say what attracts

you to the job. Avoid the obvious and meaningless, such as, "I need a job."

Q. How do you handle pressure and stress?

A. This is sort of a double whammy, because you're likely already stressed from the interview and the

interviewer can see if you're handling it well or not. Everybody feels stress, but the degree varies.

Saying that you whine to your shrink, kick your dog or slam down a fifth of Jack Daniels are not

good answers. Exercising, relaxing with a good book, socializing with friends or turning stress into

productive energy are more along the lines of the "correct" answers.

Q. Explain how you overcame a major obstacle.

A. The interviewer is likely looking for a particular example of your problem-solving skills and the

pride you show for solving it.

Q. Where do you see yourself five (ten or fifteen) years from now?

A. Explain your career-advancement goals that are in line with the job for which you are

interviewing. Your interviewer is likely more interested in how he, she or the company will benefit

from you achieving your goals than what you'll get from it, but it goes hand in hand to a large
degree. It's not a good idea to tell your potential new boss that you'll be going after his or her job,

but it's okay to mention that you'd like to earn a senior or management position.

Q. What qualifies you for this job?

A. Tout your skills, experience, education and other qualifications, especially those that match the job

description well. Avoid just regurgitating your resume. Explain why.

Q. Why did you choose your college major?

A. The interviewer is likely fishing to see if you are interested in your field of work or just doing a job

to get paid. Explain why you like it. Besides your personal interests, include some rock-solid

business reasons that show you have vision and business sense.

Top 10 Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Published May 15, 2012 |
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1. Tell me about yourself. Be brief! Keep this answer to 30-45 seconds max or you will lose the
employers attention very quickly. Remember, ‘tell me about yourself’ doesn’t mean they want your
life story. Summarize your skills and experience in a way that make you stand out and show why you
are the best person for the job.

Sample Answer: “Hello, my name is Brian Murphy. I am a law enforcement professional with a
degree in criminal justice and active Top Secret security clearance. My qualifications include fifteen
years of experience in international and homeland security and outstanding leadership capability
managing large security teams. My experience also includes knowledge of patrol, search and rescue
and investigative and criminal procedures. I am a sharpshooter with expert marksman qualifications
as well. I would like to discuss how I can bring these skills and experience to your company.”

2. What about this job interests you? The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates
you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening.
Be clear about why you are interested in the job and the value you can bring to their organization.

Sample Answer: “I’ve applied to companies where I know I can get excited about what the company
does. Your company is one of my top choices. This job is really attractive to me because it
combines my interest and experience in logistics and security with work in a more global business
3. What are your career goals and where do you see yourself five years from now? The key
here is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are doing to reach those objectives.

Sample Answer: “Within 5 years, I would like to become the very best mechanic your company has
on staff. I want to work toward becoming the expert that others rely on. Hopefully, this will allow me
to take on greater responsibilities with the company if the opportunity arises. I am also working
towards additional certifications in the field to enhance my career potential.”

4. Why are you leaving the military? or Why are you leaving your current job? When
answering this question, always focus on the positive: You are looking for a new challenge, more
responsibility, more experience or a change of environment. Never be negative about your former or
current employers or talk about negative experiences you had there.

Sample Answer: “I feel that the time is right for me to transition the outstanding skills and experience
I obtained during my last four years in the military to the civilian job market. I received great training
and/or education in the Army and have been given job assignments that have enhanced my
technical skills, leadership ability and taught me how to meet deadlines and multi-task in a very fast-
paced and often stressful environment. I can bring these same skills to your organization.”

5. What are your strengths? This is one question that you know you are going to be asked so be
prepared! Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four proficiencies such as
your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to
people and achieve a common goal, etc.

Sample Answer: “I have very good organizational and time management skills, but my greatest
strength is my ability to effectively handle multiple projects and deadlines.”

Sample Answer: “My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As a front line manager at my last
job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive and
productive team.”

6. What are your weaknesses or areas you would like to improve? This is another frequently
asked question. Everyone has weaknesses, but when answering this question in a job interview,
stay away from personal qualities and focus on professional traits. Describe what steps you taken to
overcome your weaknesses so that you can demonstrate areas of improvement.

Sample Answer: “I am always working on improving my communications skills to be a more effective

presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters which I find very helpful.”

Sample Answer: “Sometimes I have trouble delegating duties to others. This has sometimes
backfired because I’d end up with more work than I could handle. I’ve since taken courses in time
management and learned more effective delegation techniques and I’m happy to say that my last
several team projects were a great success.”

7. What are your salary expectations? Do your research and know your bottom line. Research the
industry standard for the positions you are applying for in your geographic area. Whenever possible,
try to defer the salary question on the first interview so that you don’t under or over sell yourself. If
pressured, be prepared to give the employer a salary range.
Sample Answer: “I’m sure that your company offers a fair, competitive salary for someone with my
education / training, skills and experience. I am also willing to negotiate for the right position.”

Sample Answer: “I will need more information about the job and the responsibilities before we can
discuss salary, but it would be great if you could give me an idea of the salary range you have
budgeted for this position.”

8. Have you ever had a conflict with a superior or colleague? How did you handle it? Almost
everyone has been in this situation. If you say no, intervieweres will usually dig deeper until you can
give then an answer. The key is to show how you reacted to the conflict and what you did to resolve

Sample Answer: “I think that everyone at some point has had a conflict at work whether it’s with a
supervisor or co-worker. I’ve found that when I’m in a difficult situation, it helps to communicate with
the other person, understand their perspective and try to work out a collaborative solution whenever

9. Why should we hire you? Be prepared for this question because this answer will sell your story.
Know clearly what you bring to the organization such as your knowledge, skills, experience,
education/training and personal qualities that demonstrate why you are the best person for the job.
Be able to show how you add value to the company. Always qualify your answers with quantifiable
results you have achieved in previous jobs or assignments. This will add tremendous credibility!

Sample Answer: “I think I am a great match for this position. My degree in management coupled with
more than 10 years of experience managing 100+ employees and delivering top notch training,
helped me to improve staff productivity by 30% and reduce employee turnover. I believe that I can
do the same for your organization and would be a great addition to your team.”

10. Do you have any questions? Always be prepared to ask the interviewer a few questions as
well. This helps to demonstrate your preparation and interest.

Sample questions might include:

How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?

Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
How would you describe the company’s management style?
Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her?
How many people work in this office/department?
Is travel expected in this position? If so, how much?
What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
What would you say are the best things about working here?
Would you like a list of references?
If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start?

At the end of an interview, thank the interviewer for their time and ask them about next steps and
when you can expect to hear back from them.
Displaying Job Interview Questions 1-8
1. How would you describe yourself?
Sample excellent response:
My background to date has been centered around preparing myself to become the very best financial consultant I
can become. Let me tell you specifically how I've prepared myself. I am an undergraduate student in finance and
accounting at ____________ University. My past experiences has been in retail and higher education. Both aspects
have prepared me well for this career.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

2. What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life?
Sample excellent response:
I want to be working for an excellent company like yours in a job in which I am managing information. I plan to
contribute my leadership, interpersonal, and technical skills. My long-range career goal is to be the best
information systems technician I can be for the company I work for.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

3. How has your college experience prepared you for a business career?
Sample excellent response:
I have prepared myself to transition into the the work force through real-world experience involving travel abroad,
internship, and entrepreneurial opportunities. While interning with a private organization in Ecuador, I developed
a 15-page marketing plan composed in Spanish that recommended more effective ways the company could
promote its services. I also traveled abroad on two other occasions in which I researched the indigenous culture of
the Mayan Indians in Todos Santos, Guatemala, and participated in a total-language-immersion program in Costa
Rica. As you can see from my academic, extracurricular, and experiential background, I have unconditionally
committed myself to success as a marketing professional.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

4. Please describe the ideal job for you following graduation.

Sample excellent response (equates ideal job with job he's interviewing for):
My ideal job is one that incorporates both my education and practical work skills to be the best I can be. Namely
combining my education in finance with my working knowledge of customer-service operations, entrepreneurial
abilities, computer skills, and administrative skills. I want to utilize my analytical expertise to help people meet
their financial goals. This is exactly why I am convinced that I would be a very valuable member of the Merrill
Lynch team.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

5. What influenced you to choose this career?

Sample excellent response:
My past experiences have shown me that I enjoy facing and overcoming the challenge of making a sale. Without a
doubt, once I have practiced my presentation and prepared myself for objections, I feel very confident
approaching people I don't know and convincing them that they need my product. Lastly, I like sales because my
potential for success is limited only by how much of myself I dedicate toward my goal. If any profession is founded
on self-determinism, it surely must be sales.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

6. At what point did you choose this career?

Sample excellent response:
I knew that I wanted to pursue information-systems technology about my sophomore year in college. It was then
that I realized that my that my hobby (computers) was taking up most of my time. My favorite courses were IT
courses. I also realized that I so enjoyed the computer-oriented work-study I was doing that I would have done it
for free.

7. What specific goals have you established for your career?

Sample excellent response:
My goals include becoming a Certified Financial Advisor so I can obtain a better working knowledge of financial
research analysis. That background would enable me contribute to my client base as a better financial consultant
since I would have that extra insight into the companies they seek to invest in. I could then be a portfolio manager
or even branch office manager.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

8. What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps have you taken toward attaining them?
Sample excellent response:
I've already done some research on other workers at Merrill Edge to see how they achieved similar goals. I know
that Merrill Edge encourages the pursuit of a graduate degree and will reimburse for tuition. I plan to pursue an
MBA to give me an even more extensive knowledge of business and financial analysis.

9. What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?

Sample excellent response:
I believe successful salespeople put forth that extra effort that turns potential clients into first-time customers.
Salespeople who attend to the details by doing whatever it takes to win over a prospective customer distinguish
themselves from the countless others who don't go to any extra effort. Second, I think that if you label success as
an attainable goal, you will never consistently remain successful. You can only succeed if you learn all there is to
learn about your product, your competitors, and personal selling. Since this learning process is continuous, it's an
unattainable goal. With good reason, salespeople should not consider success an attainable ending point but an
objective that will always linger slightly beyond their reach.

10. How do you determine or evaluate success? Give me an example of one of your successful
Sample excellent response:
Last semester I was hired by my university's Council for Student Activities. The group negotiates contracts of
entertainers, sets up sound equipment, markets the entertainers to students, and generally decides what kind of
programming should be done. When I got hired, I didn't know the first thing about how fill any of those
responsibilities. I decided, however, that I wasn't going to fail. Four months later, I have become the Webmaster
for the group. I also write our campus newsletter and created Game Night, a student competition of table games.
That event yielded the biggest audience ever for a non-concert event.

11. Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristics necessary for success in your chosen career?
Sample excellent response:
I believe I have a combination of qualities to be successful in this career. First, I have a strong interest, backed by
a solid, well-rounded, state-of-the-art education, especially in a career that is technically oriented. This basic
ingredient, backed by love of learning, problem-solving skills, well-rounded interests, determination to succeed
and excel, strong communication skills, and the ability to work hard, are the most important qualities that will
help me succeed in this career. To succeed, you also need a natural curiosity about how systems work -- the kind
of curiosity I demonstrated when I upgraded my two computers recently. Technology is constantly changing, so you
must a fast learner just to keep up, or you will be overwhelmed. All of these traits combine to create a solid team
member in the ever-changing field of information systems. I am convinced that I possess these characteristics and
am ready to be a successful team member for your firm.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

12. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?

Sample excellent response:
A recent satisfying accomplishment occurred when I was sent to one of our branch banks that was notorious for not
growing its loan base. The branch had logged $75,000 in new loans in an 18-month period prior to my arrival.
Having a reputation as a "hired gun" when it came to loan production, I succeeded in soliciting and booking
$700,000 in my first six months at the branch.

13. If you could do so, how would you plan your college career differently?
Sample excellent response:
I wouldn't change anything. All that I have done was a great learning experience that I will carry forward
throughout the rest of my life.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

14. Are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with other individuals?
Sample excellent response:
I like the validity of information and also like the energy that comes with working with people. The best thing
about working in a group is combining the great minds from different perspectives and coming up with something
extremely great, compared with when you're working alone. At the same time, information can generate vitality in
the project you're working on. No matter how many heads you've got together, without information, you can't go
very far. The perfect situation would be a combination of working with information and people, and I'm confident
of my abilities in both areas.
[Submitted by "Stacey"]

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

15. How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
Sample excellent response:
I have had many opportunities in both athletics and academics to develop my skills as a team player. My tenure as
a rower with my college's crew team serves as a good example. I learned a great deal about teamwork while
rowing because all the rowers in the boat must act as one, which meant that we incessantly worked to keep each
movement in the boat synchronized. On an individual basis, we still worked toward group goals through
weightlifting and land-rowing. My experience as a marketing research team leader also helped me to learn the role
of "team player." I viewed my position as that of group leader and of group member. I ensured that everyone in the
group had equal opportunity to contribute, maintained excellent communication among group members, and
coordinated their energies toward reaching our team's goal.

16. What motivates you to put forth you greatest effort?

Sample excellent response:
You would think that because I am interested in sales, only financial compensation would motivate me to achieve.
Although monetary rewards are important to me, I am driven to succeed internally. More than anything, I want to
be respected by my friends and coworkers for being the best at what I do. Whether I am considered to be the best
car detailer in my hometown or the best columnist for my college newspaper, I want to be recognized as the best.

17. Given the investment our company will make in hiring and training you, can you give us a reason to hire
Sample excellent response:
I sincerely believe that I'm the best person for the job. I realize that there are many other college students who
have the ability to do this job. I also have that ability. But I also bring an additional quality that makes me the
very best person for the job -- my attitude for excellence. Not just giving lip service to excellence, but putting
every part of myself into achieving it. In college and at my previous jobs, I have consistently reached for becoming
the very best I can become. I think my leadership awards from my college, and my management positions result
from possessing the qualities you're looking for in an employee.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

18. Would you describe yourself as goal-driven?

Sample excellent response:
Yes, and I demonstrated my goal orientation as president of the local Jaycees, a community-service organization. I
am very proud of the fact that I set a goal of signing 50 new members by the end of the year, and I accomplished

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

19. Describe what you've accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself.
Sample excellent response:
My first few years in banking had me on the fast track to branch management. I realized at some point along the
way that my true passion was in offering financial advice not limited to checking accounts and loans. It was at that
point that I made the necessary arrangements to go back to school full-time to pursue my goal, which I am just
about to achieve.

20. What short-term goals and objectives have you established for yourself?
Sample excellent response:
My short-term objectives are to graduate from the Professional Development Program before the standard two
years and begin developing a clientele. As an intern, I prepared ahead of time by studying for the Series 7 and
Series 64 exams that constitute a majority of a beginning financial consultant's time. I'd like to make make the
company that hires me wonder what it ever did without me.

21. Can you describe your long-range goals and objectives?

Sample excellent response:
My primary objectives are to learn as much as possible about your company's product offering, organizational
structure, and professional sales techniques so that I may become the most productive member of your sales team.

22. What do you expect to be doing in five years?

Sample excellent response:
Although it is hard to predict the future, I sincerely believe that I will become a very good financial consultant. I
believe that my abilities will allow me to excel to the point that I can seek other opportunities as a portfolio
manager (the next step) and possibly even higher. My ultimate goal continues to be -- and will always be -- to be
the best at whatever level I am working at within Charles Schwab's corporate structure.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

23. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

Sample excellent response:
Ten years from now I see myself as a successful consultant for a world-class firm like yours. I want to have
developed a wonderful bond with my employer. I will have proven myself a highly competent systems analyst and
will represent my company in helping others find solutions to their information-systems needs in a professional and
timely manner.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

24. How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
Sample excellent response:
I believe I am quite good at handling conflict. Working in retail and in the residence halls required that I make
unpopular decisions at times, whether it was terminating an associate or taking judicial action on a resident. Often
the person in conflict with me would be upset and sometimes physically outraged. I would always make sure that I
fully explained the situation, the policies behind my decision, and why those policies exist. Usually by the end of
the conversation, the person could see the other side of the situation.

25. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or instructor? How did you resolve the conflict?
Sample excellent response:
Yes, I had an incident with my Spanish professor. I turned in an essay that she said was too good to be mine. I was
honest with her; I told her that I had a native speaker review the essay, but he made very few corrections.
However, I had broken the Golden Rule of Spanish Composition -- the essay must not even touch the hands of a
native speaker. To prove to her that I was capable of producing an essay that exceeded her expectations of a non-
native speaker, I offered to re-write another essay in her office. I earned an A-minus.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

26. Tell me about a major problem you recently handled. Were you successful in resolving it?
Sample excellent response:
While working at K-mart, I was one of three people to work in the electronics department. One day upon arriving
at work, I was told the district manager was coming the next day to do a store inspection. The two other people
who worked in electronics were both over 55. Neither could lift heavy objects, and one refused to work at all. As a
result, the electronics department was usually left to me to keep stocked with product and kept in order. I had
about five hours of work time to get the entire department in shape. Those five hours passed, and there was still a
substantial amount of work to be done. I asked the store manager if I could stay and work after hours while the
overnight stockers were there. He said that because of the employment budget, he could not let me. I was faced
with bringing the entire store's rating down, so I suggested a creative staffing solution, allowing me to work the
extra hours while temporarily reducing the hours of the other two members of the department. Because of this
solution, in a matter of hours, the department was in tip-top shape -- and still under budget. And the results? The
electronics department got a score of 95 out of 100.

27. Would you say that you can easily deal with high-pressure situations?
Sample excellent response:
Yes. My past experience as an Administrative Coordinator required me to deal with many serious situations since I
held emergency on-call duties as a supervisor. One example was when I was called by a Resident Assistant to deal
with an attempted suicide on her residence-hall floor. The situation required that I think clearly and quickly in this
life-and-death situation. I had to weigh the many tasks that needed to be completed. I had to assign RAs to call
911, make sure that EMS could get into the locked building, while at the same time applying first aid, and ensuring
that the rest of the residents on the floor were OK. I also had to make sure the privacy of the resident in need was
respected. I basically prioritized and dealt with each task by its importance. I delegated responsibility to RAs for
things that they were capable of handling because I could not physically be in many places at once. Once the
resident was taken to the hospital, I was responsible for paperwork and follow up to make sure the staff members,
residents, and the resident-in-need adjusted back to "normal" life. I know this is an extreme example not found in
the financial consulting field; however, it shows just how well I can deal with extreme pressure.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

28. What quality or attribute do you feel will most contribute to your career success?
Sample excellent response:
My greatest strength is my flexibility. I have learned that work conditions change from day to day and throughout
the day, as well, no matter where I have worked in the past. I also have realized that certain projects require
individual attention and others involve a teamwork approach. These are just a few examples of the changes that
happen in the financial-consulting field, as you are well aware. My flexibility to adapt to the demands of the job
has allowed me to surpass my supervisor's expectations.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

29. What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in school or on the job?
Sample excellent response (shows how he recognized his weakness and worked to improve):
My greatest weakness used to be delegation. To improve my workers' efficiency, I would take it upon myself to do
many small projects throughout my shift as a manager that could have been done by others. Once I realized that I
was doing more work than the other assistant managers, and they were achieving better results, I reevaluated
what I was doing. I quickly realized that if I assigned each person just one small project at the beginning of the
shift, clearly state expectations for the project, and then follow up, everything would get done, and I could
manage much more efficiently and actually accomplish much more.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

30. What were your reasons for selecting your college or university?
Sample excellent response (tells how education specifically will benefit the employer):
My college has always had a reputation as having an excellent accounting department, so I knew that if I enrolled
there, I would achieve first-class preparation for my chosen career field. It is also a highly accredited school known
for satisfying employers with the preparation of its graduates -- that's why companies like yours recruit at my
school -- the school produces top graduates. The school offers an excellent liberal-arts background, which research
shows equips graduates with numerous qualities, such as versatility and strong critical-thinking skills. Finally,
having visited the campus before enrolling, I knew that the business school emphasized group projects. During my
four years in the school, I participated in more than 35 group projects, which taught me invaluable teamwork,
communication, and interpersonal skills.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

31. If you could change or improve anything about your college, what would it be?
Sample excellent response:
My major department had a wonderful internship program, and I completed three valuable internships with my
department's guidance. Some other departments in the business school don't have internship programs that are as
strong as my department's. I'd like to see all the departments have strong internship programs so all my school's
business grads would have the same opportunities that I had.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

32. How will the academic program and coursework you've taken benefit your career?
Sample excellent response (response is very specific to the job he is interviewing for):
As you will note on my resume, I've taken not only the required core classes for the finance field, I've also gone
above and beyond by double majoring in accounting. I doubled majored since I knew that the financial-consulting
field requires much knowledge of portfolio analysis and understanding of the tax laws. I believe that my success in
both areas of study have specifically prepared me for this career. But it's not just taking the classes in these two
areas that allows me to offer Merrill Lynch clients more. I minored in Spanish to understand the growing hispanic
clientele in the Central Florida area, which as you are well aware is a growing source of revenue for the industry.
If you like, I can elaborate on other aspects of my education further.

33. Which college classes or subjects did you like best? Why?
Sample excellent response:
My favorite classes have been the ones pertaining to my major, which is marketing. These classes have laid the
groundwork for my career in marketing. They have also taught me skills that I can bring to my employer, ranging
from communication skills to interacting with others.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

34. Are you the type of student for whom conducting independent research has been a positive experience?
Sample excellent response:
Yes, I love it. I thoroughly enjoyed my senior research in college while many others in my class were miserable. I
was never tired of learning more about my topic and found it exhilarating to be researching something that had
not been studied before.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

35. Describe the type of professor that has created the most beneficial learning experience for you.
Sample excellent response:
My favorite professors were the ones who gave me hands-on learning experiences that I can apply to my career.
Any person can make you memorize the quadratic equation, but someone who can show you how to use it, and
why, were the professors I liked. I liked teachers who realized that sometimes there is more then one answer and
everyone thinks differently.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

36. Do you think that your grades are a indication of your academic achievement?
Sample excellent response:
I have focused much of my energy on work and obtaining real-world experience. I commend my classmates who
have earned high GPAs, but I also feel it's important to be well-rounded. In addition to work experience, I
participated in sports and extracurricular activities in school. These activities taught me leadership,
communication, and teamwork skills. Sometimes my heavy load has not allowed me to keep up with some of my
studies, but I have learned an enormous amount that I can apply in my future industry. As you will discover if you
talk to my supervisors, my ability to work effectively much more reflects my future potential than does my GPA.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

37. What plans do you have for continued study? An advanced degree?
Sample excellent response:
I plan to continue my education for the rest of my life. In any technology-related field, keeping up to date through
continuing education is of the utmost importance. Continuing education can include on-the-job training, courses
sponsored by the employer, and courses taken in new technologies as they emerge. I plan to be not only a career
employee but a career student so that I can be the best information systems analyst I can be. I will ensure,
however, that any education I pursue not only doesn't interfere with my job or the company's policies, but will
enhance my value as an employee.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

38. Before you can make a productive contribution to the company, what degree of training do you feel you
will require?
Sample excellent response:
My background has been focused on preparing me for the financial-consulting industry, so I can be productive right
away. I already have obtained the educational credentials and skills to allow me to become an immediate asset to
Wells Fargo. After interning for a semester, I am well aware of the shared beliefs of the organization and its
corporate values. I already have a very good working knowledge of the financial-consulting business. I am
confident of my ability to get up to speed quickly in any assignment with which I'm not familiar.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

39. Describe the characteristics of a successful manager.

Sample excellent response:
A successful manager should have the vision and capabilities to formulate strategies to reach his or her objectives
and communicate these ideas to his or her team members. In addition to serving as a positive role model for co-
workers, successful managers must also be capable of inspiring others to recognize, develop, and apply their
talents to their utmost potential to reach a common goal. These are the traits I hope to demonstrate when I'm a

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

40. Why did you decide to seek a position in this field?

Sample excellent response:
I want to work in the marketing and PR industry because ever since I took my first marketing course in college, I
have felt very passionate toward the industry and cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

41. Tell me what you know about our company.

Sample excellent response:
You're large and respected worldwide. You're both a clinical and teaching hospital. Over the last 60 to 70 years
you've produced award-winning research. In reviewing your Web site, I've familiarized myself with many of your
corporate goals and objectives.
[Submitted by "Judy"]

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

42. Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?

Sample excellent response:
I am convinced that there would be no better place to work than Accenture. You are the top consulting firm in the
United States. You provide your employees with the tools they need to stay competitive and sharpen their skills
while working in an open, team-based environment. I am also aware that you provide a mentor for all new
employees, and I would embrace any opportunity to work with a mentor and eventually become one myself.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

43. Do you have a geographic preference?

Sample excellent response:
Although I would prefer to stay in the Mid-Atlantic area, I would not rule out other possibilities.

44. Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which our company is located?
Sample excellent response:
Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend several days in your community, and I fell in love with it. I
love the fact that you have a thriving riverfront. I'm impressed with the many cultural opportunities here -- opera,
theater, art, and independent films. I've also already become a fan of the Saints and the other sports teams based
here. I have conducted significant Internet research on this city, so I am quite comfortable with your location.

45. Would it be a problem for you to relocate?

Sample excellent response:
I'm open to opportunities within the company; if those opportunities involve relocation, I would certainly consider

46. To what extent would you be willing to travel for the job?
Sample excellent response:
I am more than willing to travel. I understand the importance of going above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy
customer requests is sometimes required and that Merrill Lynch's customer-focus belief means that travel is
expected in some circumstances. I am willing to make this commitment to do whatever it takes to develop that
long-term relationship with a small business or client. It is only through this relationship that loyalty can be
maintained and financial gains and growth can occur for both the client and Merrill Lynch. It is my understanding
from other financial consultants that I have interviewed at Merrill Lynch that this occurs maybe one or two times a

47. Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
Sample excellent response:
A salary commensurate with my experience and skills is important, but it's only one piece of the package. Many
other elements go into making up a compensation package, but more importantly, it's critical to me to enjoy what
I'm doing, fit into the corporate culture, and feel I'm making a genuine contribution.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

48. What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?

Sample excellent response:
I am not depending on money to make me happy. What makes me happy is having a satisfying job that provides
challenge and new situations daily.

49. Tell me about the salary range you're seeking.

Sample excellent response:
I am sure that I am the candidate you are looking for. If you feel the same, then I'm sure your offer will be fair and
commensurate with the value I can bring the company.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

50. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see
things your way?
Sample excellent response:
Recently my company asked for bids on a phone system for our new college campus. Two companies came in very
close with their bids, and most of my department wanted to go with a vendor that we have used in the past. After
I looked over the proposals, it was clear that this was the wrong decision. So, I talked individually with each
member of our staff and succeeded in changing their minds and get the best product that would save money and
provide the highest quality.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

51. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
Sample excellent response:
When I was a resident assistant at my college, a student I did not know asked me if he could use my phone to call
another room. Although I did not know the student, I allowed him into my room. He used the phone and in the
course of this conversation, he stated that he had just come from a fraternity party and was high from taking some
drugs. Well after his conversation, I had to enforce the student conduct code by writing him up. He became very
hostile toward me and would not give me any identification or information. I stood in the doorway to prevent him
from leaving. I noted the serial numbers on his keys, so when the situation got to the point where I felt unsafe, I
allowed him to leave. I still preformed my job without jeopardizing my or his physical welfare.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

52. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
Sample excellent response:
I had a client come into the bank where I worked and request a $5,000 personal loan to "pay off some bills." In the
customary review process, I determined that what was really needed was a $25,000 debt-consolidation loan.
Rather than giving the customer a "quick-fix" to the problem, I logically solved the problem in a way that was in
the best interest of both the bank and the client.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

53. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and
Sample excellent response:
I've shown my ability to adapt by successfully working in several very different jobs. For example, I lived with a
native family in Costa Rica. I worked as a nanny for a famous writer in Cape Cod. I was responsible for dealing with
Drug Court participants. And I catered to elite country-club clientele. I did it all well and had no trouble adapting.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

54. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
Sample excellent response:
Arriving at the language school I was attending in Costa Rica in the middle of the night with very minimal Spanish-
language skills, I found my way to a very small town with no street addresses or names and found my temporary
residence. I was scared, but I handled the situation very well, very calmly. In very stressful situations, I am always
the one in the group to stay calm and focused. My friends, family, and professors have always said that I am an
oasis of calm in a storm.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

55. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
Sample excellent response:
This happens often in the IT industry, but one recent example was when we had a core backbone switch die. It
died at the worst possible time -- during exams -- as they always seem to do, and I needed to get it back up and
running quickly. I analyzed the logs and system status, and using my previous experience, I made some quick
decisions that rectified the problem and got the equipment back up only minutes later.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

56. Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.
Sample excellent response:
As an Administrative Coordinator, I had a staff of 27 students. Having such a large student staff all working
different shifts and having varying class schedules meant that meetings could not be held with everyone at one
time. I needed to communicate with everyone about important policies and information often, so I came up with
the idea of designing a Web page for my staff with written announcements. Each Desk Assistant was required to
check the Web page daily at the beginning of his/her shift. I also sent email communications by a distribution list
that allowed each Desk Assistant to keep informed about anything. The one situation that stands out in my mind is
a last-minute summer camp that decided to come in a day early with only one day's notice. I had no staff
scheduled to check in the campers or to organize the keys. I posted an update to the Web page and sent an email.
Within four hours, I had the following day completely staffed and desk assistants there to organize room keys for
the campers that night.

57. Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
Sample excellent response:
When I worked at Home Depot as an assistant manager, I was always looking for way to boost my employees'
morale. Unloading trucks is a very routine and physical job and can become very boring and exhausting, so to
improve the unloaders' attitude toward their duties and make the best of the situation, I put a radio in the
receiving dock. It worked; however, the district manager did not approve of the radio in the workplace even
though it did not interfere with any set policy or company objectives. The radio was also out of any areas where
customers would hear the music. I did not agree with my DM's decision to remove the radio; however, I understood
his point of view once he explained it to me and promptly complied with his request. The employees were not
happy that their radio was gone, so I found an alternative method of reward and morale boosting by implementing
a program in which we provided lunch for the unloaders from any restaurant of their choice if they unloaded the
trucks faster than normal. This program succeeded by increasing their unloading time from 2 1/2 hours to only 1
1/2, a savings in payroll of 8 percent of sales for that shift.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

58. Give me an example of an important goal that you set in the past and tell me about your success in
reaching it.
Sample excellent response:
As a senior in high school, my goal was to attend college and play college golf. But I was nowhere near the player I
needed to be to play or even get on the team. So over that summer I worked on my golf game to the point where I
won almost every tournament I entered. I spent every hour I had during the day to make myself a better all-around
player. I eventually walked on my freshmen year and was exempted from qualifying because I played so well in my
first outing.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

59. Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
Sample excellent response:
The most significant presentation I have ever had to deliver was at a national research symposium. I was
presenting research I had completed on digital analysis of mammograms and had to present to a panel of more
than 100 judges who were at the top of their field. I focused on the research, which could sell itself, and just let
the information flow. It went over very well, and I received many more invitations to present the research,
including on national television.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

60. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
Sample excellent response:
Although I had already punched out, I stayed behind to help a colleague solve a problem. A customer was very
angry as he had waited very long for his coffee. My colleague was new, she was quite slow. I came out and
explained things to the customer. Although he was very angry at first, I just listened to him and told him that we
try to bring our best out to each customer who walks in to our store. After a one-hour discussion, he left with a
happy face and was satisfied.
[Submitted by "Fizah."]

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

61. 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).
Sample excellent response:
During my time in the theater, I had one director with whom I absolutely did not work well. However, because of
my track record, she would assign me as stage director and/or assistant director. I was usually involved in the day-
to-day operations of the play and the details of how the play would be performed. I handled the operation for the
play by directing scenes the best way I could and then showing them to her for approval. If she did not like the
way a scene worked, I gave her my opinion as to why it should be my way. If we still could not compromise, I
would follow her directions to the best of my ability. Understanding that people don't usually have malicious
intentions is key, and understanding that you will never be able to convince some people that your way is right is
the best way to avoid conflict and still get the job done.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

62. Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head." Describe a situation where you had to request help or
assistance on a project or assignment.
Sample excellent response:
It's impossible to know everything in the IT field because of rapidly changing technology, so recently when we were
having troubles with our circuit emulation over our ATM network, I had to call in some engineers from North
Carolina to come help me out. The nice thing about asking for help is that when you get the assistance, you can
learn from what you are told and apply it to future situations.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

63. Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project in another class.
Sample excellent response:
Last semester I was taking a microeconomics and a statistics course. One of the microeconomics projects dealt
with showing the relationship between the probability that customers would stop buying a product if the price was
raised a certain amount. Through what I learned in statistics I could find the median where the price was the
highest and still kept most of the customers happy.

Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.

64. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did
you do?
Sample excellent response:
I was on a project team in a business class in my freshman year in college, The group brainstormed ideas for the
video we were assigned to produce, and everyone but me was leaning toward an idea that would be easy. I
suggested instead an idea that would be more difficult but would be something different that no other group
would be doing. I used my communications skills to persuade the rest of the group to use my idea. During the
project, we really learned what teamwork was all about, became a close team, and ended up putting a lot of hard
work into the project. All the team members ended up feeling very proud of the video, and they thanked me for
the idea -- for which we earned an A.