and Often Asked Interview Questions
One of the objectives every interviewer has in mind is to evaluate an applicant's attitudes, personality, and
behavior, along with the obvious assessment of professional abilities and potential. The following are some
questions compiled from various employers within the Tampa Bay area, and suggested answers that make a
positive statement about you. The suggested answers are just thought provokers to get your gray
matter going. It's suggested that you review them, and try to formulate a response that you're comfortable
with. Whatever your response, keep these important thoughts in mind:
1. Listen carefully to the question. If you're not sure of what's been asked, ask the interviewer to repeat
2. Take a moment to quickly think through the facts as they apply to you before you answer.
3. Then make a positive and confident response that answers the question the interviewers ask!
Keep just to the facts; DON'T EMBELLISH! This may lead to other questions you're not prepared for.
4. Strive to focus your answers on the skills and accomplishments you bring to the job. Remember,
we've just put together a presentation of your "achievements", and now’s the time to proudly draw
upon them. Your résumé, in most cases, is the only thing you two will have in common.........USE IT!!
The basic question the interviewer is trying to answer is: "What can this individual do for us?"
They want a direct answer!
Now, find a quiet spot and consider PS! It’s a
good idea to read
your answer(s) to the following: through these questions
before your interviews!
Q. Why do you want to work here...........? What attracted you to us?
A. The professional reputation and success of (company) makes it a natural target in my career search. The
opportunity is too important to overlook.
Q. How do you feel that you can contribute to our organization?
A. My training, skills, and experiences are a perfect for the requirements you've indicated for the job. Here
is where the related achievements in your résumé come in.
Q. Most people have something critical to say about those around them. What have people criticized you
A. If they have, I've never heard about it.
Q. Everyone has pet peeves. What are yours?
A. I guess you could say someone who doesn't give a full day's effort for a full day's pay. I also am less than
friendly with a car that won't start.
Q. What is your leadership style?
A. Strive to motivate a team effort. And, when a mistake is made I try to learn from it:
- How do we solve this problem now? (short term)
- What have we learned from this?
- Above all, how do we prevent this from happening again? (long term)
- Don't point fingers; when warranted, counsel in private.
Q. Are you geographically mobile now, or in the future?
A. Yes, but I would always want to be sure the change is for the better.
Note: Obviously, you have to use your own discretion here on your move preferences.
Q. Tell me about the best and worst boss you've ever had.
A. I guess the best boss was my last one. He/she was very professional, and allowed me to operate as my
job requirements dictated........gave me the responsibility and let me meet it. I don't think I've ever had a
Q. What does your spouse do?
A. Note: This is intended to learn something about your home life, which could affect your stability at work.
Respond however you feel most comfortable.
Q. Tell me about your family.
A. Note: Same as above. The interviewer wants to know about you, the person, as well as you, the
Q. What else do you think I should know about you?
A. Well, I think my résumé and our discussions covered just about all there is to know.
Q. What has kept you from progressing as fast as you would have liked?
A. I've been highly satisfied with my career progression. I feel that I'm now ready for another step up.
Q. What do you think management can do to allow you to function more effectively?
A. Keep me informed at all times, and provide periodic critiques.
Q. Have you ever made suggestions to management? What happened?
A. I've always felt it is my responsibility to make suggestions when I see where we can cut costs, increase
sales and profit, or provide better service to the customer. For the most part, my suggestions have been
Note: Be prepared to give an example! Here's a chance to show how you can make a positive
contribution to the company!
Q. What are some of the most difficult problems you encountered in your last job?
A. Note: Cover a good example of something you were able to influence. If possible, select one that
affected the company revenue/costs, and relate what you did about it.
Q. In your last job, how much of your work did you do on your own, and how much was a team effort?
Which did you enjoy most?
A. Note: Again, this is a judgment call on your part, but I recommend that you show a strong affinity and
enjoyment for team efforts.
Q. What did you like best and least about your last job?
A. The challenge of meeting personal as well as company goals to make a profit. I least liked not having the
ability to control many of the factors.
Q. We all have weaknesses, what are some of yours?
A. I guess I get impatient when I don't think the job is being done fast enough. I want to take over and do it
Q. Tell me about your greatest achievement / disappointment in life.
A. Note: Your call - this is a frequently asked question to recent graduates. We've all had our greatest
achievement......if you haven't had a great disappointment, say so.
Q. How did you like working with (your last job) company?
A. Note: Always try to be complimentary, or at least non derogatory about your last company.
Q. Why did you leave?
A. If you're a new graduate, probably for a permanent career oriented position. If you've been in the work
force awhile, probably for a more challenging step up, where your talents can be better utilized.
Q. What are your short range and long-range goals?
A. Right now my goal is to earn more career-oriented responsibility. Then state what you see as your
long-term career goal(s).
Q. What does success mean to you, and how do you judge it?
A. Success is being in a career position I like, and having pride my performance in that position. This is the
type success I'm seeking now. (Remember, if you have a job you like, you may never work another day
in your life!)
Q. What motivates you?
A. That's easy. A challenge has always been my biggest motivator, and I enjoy creating and implementing
innovative approaches that work. (Better have an example in mind)
Q. If you were choosing someone for this job, what kind of person would you select?
A. This position needs a person who is creative, and who communicates well. Above all, the position
requires an experienced hand.
Q. If you could have your choice of any job, what would you do?
A. One that offers continuous challenge and the opportunity to utilize my skills.
Q. Why do you want to go into the __________field?
A. My experience and skills point like an arrow to this field. It is a natural for me, and one which I enjoy.
Q. If you feel you any weakness with regard to this job, what would it be?
A. I can think of no weaknesses which would interfere with an excellent performance.
Q. What would you expect in this job that you were not getting in your past jobs?
A. The opportunity to fully utilize all my skills, rather than some of my skills.
Q. What does your spouse think about the kind of work you do? How about this job?
A. My spouse enjoys being a part of my work. As a professional, the business environment fascinates
Q. How do you feel about evening work?
A. Provided it is not a matter of course, I have no objections to evening work. I've often done much of my
most creative work in the evenings.
Q. Assuming we make you an offer, what do you see as your future?
A. I see a natural progression to areas of more responsibility.
Q. How would you handle this problem? (After interviewer describes a problem.)
A. A problem of that magnitude would require some time to solve, and a detailed knowledge of company
policy and the personalities involved. However, this is the type of problem I enjoy digging into.
Q. Are you considering other positions at this time? How does this one compare with them?
A. Yes, I am considering other positions. This position compares favorably, since it demands leadership and
Q. Why did you leave your last job?
A. Due to the economic conditions in the __________industry, my company was forced to close down (or
down size) their operations in the area.
Q. How long have you been out of work?
A. Since (whenever). However, I've been fortunate to have had several promising interviews.
Q. What have you been doing since you left your last job?
A. Due to the liberal benefits of my old company, I am financially able to take time and care in my search for
a new position. This has been a valuable time for me to analyze my goals and strengths, and to analyze
my opportunities in depth.
Q. How did you like working at ___________company? Why?
A. It was a good experience, as you can tell by my ___ years experience there. The people were
professionals and goal oriented, and I liked the way I fit in.
Q. What are your plans for further education?
A. Note: Your call....let it be known that you want as much career related education as is possible, and as
Q. What have you done to improve yourself in the last year?
A. My major road to improvement is through avid reading. I read newspapers, magazines, and periodicals
related to my profession. If you’re taking, or have taken college courses over the past year, say so!
Q. How do you spend your spare time?
A. I like to read, play golf, and I enjoy gourmet cooking. I've recently acquired a computer and am busy
learning what makes it tick and how to best use it.
Q. Tell me about your health?
A. I have missed only 4 days of work due to illness in the last 18 years. I am naturally very healthy and
rarely get even a cold. Most flu epidemics pass me by.
Here are some questions or comments of a more difficult nature, to which should be
prepared in advance. Typical of these are:
1. Tell me about yourself. Here’s where your 60-90 second “elevator” speech comes in!
2. Isn't this a career switch?
3. Do you think your education and background qualifies you for this position? Why?
4. You don't seem to have any experience or education for this position. How could you handle it?
5. We were thinking of an (older/younger) person for this job.
6. You seem to be overqualified for this position, don't you think?
7. I don't feel that you have the background or experience we are looking for.
8. Salary questions, early in the interview: NOTE! This might be a good time to ask…
-What are your financial needs? ”What is the range for this position for a
-What is the minimum salary you would accept?
-What is your salary history? person with my background and
9. Are there any questions you would like to ask about the job/company?
Yes…..What would you say are my most important priorities in this job. What would you hope
to see me accomplish over the next 6 months….12 months?
Yo! This one will really nail the interview!
Here are some often asked questions that pertain to women:
1. Do you have any plans for getting married?
I know that first reaction is ”...You can’t ask me about
2. Are you planning to have (more) children? those things...it’s against the law!”
3. What childcare arrangements have you made? Well, dear heart, you’re right! But you may be asked
the question(s) anyway. Our purpose here is to alert
4. Why do you want to work? you to the possibility, and encourage you to have a
response you’re comfortable with...
5. Do you think you can supervise men?
6. How do you feel about attending overnight conferences or business trips with men?
When you have learned to give brief, positive and reasonable answers to the above
questions, you will be in control of your interviews, and will be able to satisfy the
interviewer's need to determine:
1. Is there a consistent interest in a specific vocational area or career objective?
2. Does your employment history, education and other development show consistent application of
3. If you lack the specific background desired, does your experience include some of the same activities for
which you are being considered?
4. While discussing past employers, and your reasons for leaving, do you reveal maturity and a realistic
attitude, or do you appear to carry a "chip on your shoulder"?
5. Do your responses to questions show stability, maturity and responsibility, as well as progress and
6. Can we make money off him/her? Is he/she worth the investment?
About dress, mannerisms, and “courtesy” tips for the interview:
1. Dress for success!
Suit & tie, or conservative well coordinated sport jacket & slacks for men. Business suit, or
coordinated conservative skirt and top ensemble for the ladies; slacks are OK, but not preferred.
For both, please make sure your shoes are shined (men); not scuffed, no heel marks (ladies).
Grooming & personal appearance are key indicators to your personal work habits! Neat haircut
and fresh shave, or beard trim for men. Hair freshly coiffed for women, tasteful and conservative
makeup if used; avoid overpowering or “sweet” fragrances. Suggestion: It’s best not to “freshen
up” your perfume just after you arrive. However, you might grab a breath mint. No gum!
2. Timing isn’t everything, but it’s right up there! Arrive no later or earlier than 15-20 minutes ahead of
your appointment….gives you a minute or two to get to know the secretary or office manager…..
good contact for follow-up “stuff”. If you’re going to an unfamiliar area, and have the time, take the
family for a ride the evening before, and scope it (or them) out.
3. Strong firm handshake…both men & women; look the interviewer in the eyes, stick out your hand first,
and tell them how much you appreciate the opportunity and their time.
4. During the interview try NOT to fold your arms and appear to “lock out” the interviewer(s). Sit back
and relax, (Yeah, right!) and concentrate on the conversation. Listen for their, and YOUR, hot buttons
when the job is discussed. When one of your hot button questions is asked, lean forward to respond;
….showing sincere interest. If you need, take a second or two to consider your response…it’s natural.
An occasional “I’m glad you asked that….” preceeding a response to one of your hot buttons is also a
good way to show enthusiasm and pride in yourself and your magnificences.
5. Remember mutual hot button matches between their needs and your magnificences you discussed! As
soon as you can after the interview, jot a couple of the mostest hottest ones down. Then, include a
sentence about them in the Thank You note you send…ASAP!
Hey! You are going to send a note, aren’t you????
About researching potential employers
Knowing all you can about a company will put you in the top 10% of your competition. Hey! If there’s only 10
candidates for the job, guess what!? Plainly stated, over 90% of résumés and search efforts are directed to
organizations that the candidate knows little or nothing about except the name, and general product or
service line. Any background knowledge about the company that can be addressed in your cover letter and
résumé makes a very favorable impression on the reader ...use it!
1. Make a list of at least ten employers you want to concentrate on....as long as you
are in an active search mode, you should always have at least ten solid
targets on your list; create the list by (1) your own preferences, (2) your friends'
recommendations, (3) networking sources, (4) business periodicals and news media,
(5) asking in your cover letter [if the company doesn't have a present opening] if
they can recommend another company or organization that may have a need for
your qualifications and skills, (6) there are many sources....use your imagination!
2. Hit the library! If you're not familiar with corporate searching, ask the reference
librarian about suggested sources and how to use them. Find out all you can about:
(1) the company’s current and future needs, and how your qualifications can help,
(2) the core product / service, and any specializations or technological processes,
(3) revenue from past quarters, and expected growth (this will help in salary negotiations).
The librarian may also be able to refer you to electronic databases, or outside sources,
such as fee-based companies to do the research for you.
3. Don't wait until the last minute to try to learn about the company you're going to
interview with. The usefulness of information is directly proportional to the time
spent researching it!
About cover letters
Frequently, job seekers view cover letters as a necessary formality. I know from years of personal
experience that employers consider them the mark of a candidate's personality and pride in his or her
professionalism. A well-planned cover letter will make your résumé stand out from the rest of the
crowd. Use one only if you intend to make an impression.
1. Never ever send a form cover letter out. It detracts from your résumé, and says
you're too lazy to tailor one for the most important job in the world.....the one you're
2. When done properly, a cover letter can "tailor" your résumé to meet specific job
requirements without you changing a single word in the résumé.
3. Here's where you let the employer know you've done some research on the company,
and your background training and experiences are a solid match for his or her needs!
Always present the best possible image, consistent with
the truth, and what’s contained within your
A wise old