Questions to answer and questions to ask
It's always good to be prepared with an answer - a good answer beyond a simple "yes" or "no." Now, you don't want to sound rehearsed and you certainly want to sound thoughtful. But you also don't want to sit there floundering around for an answer to a question you weren't ready for. Below are common questions you'll be asked as well as questions you might write out and have ready to use when they ask you what questions you have for them. If you'd like to run your answers past us, just stop by the Career Services Office.
Questions often asked by interviewers
- Tell me about yourself. (CAUTION - They don't really care about your hometown or your love for pets. They want to know about your qualifications, skills and strengths.)
- Why did you choose Rose-Hulman?
- Which courses and professors have you enjoyed the most? Why?
- What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
- Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult problem which you initially failed to solve. How did you approach the problem the second time? What did you do differently? (Sometimes interviewers will ask questions about negative experiences. Be sure to emphasize lessons learned from the experience and how those lessons enabled you to handle similar situations successfully.)
- What percentage of your college expenses have you financed yourself?
- Give me an example of a crisis situation and how you dealt with it.
- Give me an example of a time you used your leadership skills. What was the outcome?
- What has been your greatest challenge thus far? How have you attempted to meet that challenge?
- What are your strengths related to this job?
- What are your weaknesses? (Make your answer be a strength in disguise, as in "I'm a perfectionist, so I end up working at night to get a project just right.")
- Why are you interested in my organization? Why this position?
- What do you know about my organization?
- Give me an example of a situation in which you had to manage time effectively. Give an example of a time you had to set priorities.
- How do you handle rejection? Criticism?
- Tell me about a situation when you had to be a good team player. Explain your role on the team.
- Which organizations have you participated in? What have you learned from your involvement?
- What have you learned from some of the jobs you've had? Under which type of supervisor do you work best?
- What are your plans for graduate study? (Note they probably don't want to hear you're going to work for just a year or two and then leave to go to grad school. Maybe ask about attending grad school part time.)
- What are your geographic preferences or limitations? Are you willing to travel?
- What two or three things are most important to you to have in your job?
- How would your friends describe you?
- What salary do you expect to receive? (Be vague at this point. Perhaps simply say you're looking for a competitive salary.)
- Why have you chosen this particular career field?
- With which other organizations are you interviewing?
- What questions do you have for me to answer?
- Tell me about a difficult goal you have set for yourself.
- Tell me about a tough group you had to get cooperation from. What was the issue and how did you go about it?
- What was the most difficult decision you've made in the last six months? Explain how you went about making this decision.
- What unpopular decision have you made recently? How did others respond?
- Describe a time when you exceeded expectations. What did you do to make this possible?
- Why should I hire you for this position?
Questions you could ask the interviewer
- What kind of assignments might I expect the first six months of the job?
- Would you describe a typical word day and the things I'd be doing?
- Who are the people I'd be working with and what do they do?
- What are the company's policies on continued education?
- If I am hired for this job and perform well for a number of years, what opportunities might this lead to?
- How would I get feedback on my job performance?
- What skills are considered most useful for success in the position I am applying for?
- I would really like to work for your firm. I think it's a great company, and I am confident that I can do this job well. What's the next step in the process?
- Is there anything else you need to know about me that we haven't had a chance to discuss?
What NOT to ask the interviewer
Never - and we mean never - ask questions about salary, vacations, holidays with pay, sick days or benefits until you have received a job offer.