Search Tech Interviews Search Tech Interviews Prepare for job interviews with the questions and answers asked by high-tech employers 55 most frequently asked interview questions By adm in | August 1 8, 2005 Dan Johnston from PPR Career shared the following list of frequently asked questions on a job interview, as well as advice on what to be prepared for. 1. Tell me about y ourself. Answer in about two minutes. Av oid details, donâ€™t ramble. Use “Picture Frame Touch on these four areas: Approach” How many years, doing what function Education â€“ credentials Major responsibility and accom plishments Personal summary of work style (plus career goals if applicable) Prepare in advance using this formula: 1. “My name isâ€¦” 2. “Iâ€™ve worked for X years as a [title]“ 3. “Currently, Iâ€™m a [title] at [com pany]“ 4. “Before that, I was a [title] at [company]“ 5. “I love the challenge of my work, especially the major strengths it allows m e to offer, including [A, B, and C]“. 6. Second, help the interviewer by focusing the question with a question of your own: “What about me would be m ost relevant to y ou and what this com pany needs?” 2. Did y ou bring y our Yes. Be prepared with two or three extra copies. Do not offer them resume? unless y ouâ€™re asked for one. 3. What do y ou know about Research the target com pany before the interview. Basic research is our organization? the only way to prepare for this question. Do y our hom ework, and youâ€™ll score big on this question. Talk about products, services, history and people, especially any friends that work there. “But I would love to know m ore, particularly from y our point of view. Do we have time to cover that now? 4. What experience do y ou Pre-interview research and PPR Career will help y ou here. Try to have? cite experience relevant to the com panyâ€™s concerns. Also, try answering this questions with a question: “Are you looking for ov erall experience or experience in som e specific area of special interest to you?” Let the interviewerâ€™s response guide your answer. 5. According t o y our Be prepared to define success, and then respond (consistent record definition of success, how of responsibility) successful have y ou been so far? (Is this person mature and self aware?) 6. In y our current or last Give one or two accom plishment statements position, what were y our most significant accomplishment s? In y our career so far? 7. Had y ou thought of Refer to positive aspects of the job, advancem ent opportunities, and leaving y our present what you learned. position before? If yes, what do y ou think held y ou there? 8. Would y ou describe a few Give only one, and tell how you have corrected or plan to correct situations in which y our your work. work was criticized? 9. If I spoke with y our Be consistent with what you think the boss would say. Position the previous boss, what weakness in a positive way (refer to #12) would he or she say are y our great est strengths and weaknesses? 10. How would y ou describe Keep y our answer short and relevant to the job and the y our personality ? organizationâ€™s culture. 11. What are y our strong Present three. Relate them to that particular com pany and job point s? opening. 12. What are y our weak Donâ€™t say you have one, but give one that is really a “positive in disguise.” I am sometimes impatient and do to much work myself point s? when we are working against tight deadlines.” Or “I com plim ent and praise my staff, but feel I can improv e.” 13. How did y ou do in Em phasize your best and favorite subjects. If grades were average, school? talk about leadership or jobs y ou took to finance y our education. Talk about extra-curricular activities (clubs, sports, volunteer work) (Is the person m otivated? What are his/her values, attitudes? Is there a fit?) 14. In y our current or last Refer to y our satisfiers for likes. Be careful with dislikes, give only position, what features one (if any) and make it brief. Refuse to answer negatively. Respond did y ou like most ? Least ? that y ou “like everything about my current position and have acquired and developed a great many skills, but Iâ€™m now ready for a new set of challenges and greater responsibilities.” 15. What do y ou look for in a Flip this one over. Despite the question, the employer isnâ€™t job? really interested in what you are looking for. Heâ€™s interested in what he is looking for. Address his interests, rather than y ours. Use words like “contribute,” “enhance,” “im prove,” and “team environment.” Fit y our answer to their needs Relate y our preferences and satisfiers/dissatisfiers to the job opening. 16. How long would it take “Not long, because of my experience, transferable skills and ability y ou t o make a meaningful to learn.” contribution t o our firm? 17. How long would y ou stay “As long as I feel that Iâ€™m contributing, and that my wit h us? contribution is recognized. Iâ€™m looking to make a long term comm itment.” 18. If y ou have never If y ou want to supervise, say so, and be enthusiastic. supervised, how do y ou feel about assuming those responsibilities? 19. Why do y ou want t o “To grow and develop professionally, to help others develop, to become a supervisor? build a team and to share what I have learned.” 20. What do y ou see as the “Getting things planned and done through others and dealing with most difficult task in different personalities.” Show how you have done this in the past. being a supervisor? 21. Y ouâ€™ve been with Letâ€™s assume the interviewer has a point here. That doesnâ€™t y our current employ er mean y ou have to agree with the negative term s of the question. quit e a while. Why Answer: “What I like about my present position is that itâ€™s both havenâ€™t y ou advanced stable and challenging. But itâ€™s true that Iâ€™ve grown about as wit h him? much as I can in my current position. (This response also turns the issue of salary on its head, transforming it from What more can I get? to What more can I offer?) 22. Why are y ou leaving y our Never answer with negative reasons, even if they are true. However, present position? som e com panies have financial problem s which may preclude y ou from staying with them. Frame y our answer positively by answering why you want to m ove to the target com pany instead of why y ou left or want to leave your m ost recent job. For example, instead of answering, “I donâ€™t get enough challenges at [com pany],” respond, “I am eager to take on m ore challenges, and I believe I will find them at [hiring com pany]. ”Iâ€™m not unhappy (at my present employ er). However, this opportunity seems to be particularly interesting and I am interested in pursuing it further. Never personalize or be negative. Keep it short, give a “group” answer (e.g. our office is closing, the whole organization is being reduced in size). Stick to one response; donâ€™t change answers during the interview. When applicable; best response is: I was not on the market when PPR Career contacted me and explained what you are doing, it peaked my interest. 23. Describe what would be Team work is the key. an ideal working environment? 24. How would y ou evaluat e Be positive. Refer to the valuable experience y ou have gained. y our present firm? Donâ€™t mention negatives. 25. Do y ou prefer working Be aware of what the job requires and position your answer in that wit h figures, or with context. I n many cases it would be both. words? 26. What kinds of people do Use this question as a chance to show that y ou are a team player: y ou find difficult t o work “The only people I have trouble with are those who arenâ€™t team wit h? players, who just donâ€™t perform, who com plain constantly, and who fail to respond to any efforts to m otivate them.” The interviewer is expecting a response focused on personality and personal dislikes. Surprise her by delivering an answer that reflects com pany values. 27. How would y our co- Refer to y our strengths and skills. workers describe y ou? 28. What do y ou think of If y ou like him or her, say so and tell why. If y ou donâ€™t like him or her, find something positive to say. y our boss? 29. Why do y ou want t o work Explain how this size or type of com pany works well for y ou, using in a company of this size. examples from the past if possible. Or this ty pe? 30. If y ou had y our choice of Refer to job preferences. Say that this job and this com pany are very jobs and companies, close to what best suits y ou. where would y ou go? 31. Why do y ou want t o work You feel y ou can help achieve the com panies objectives, especially in for us? the short run. You like what y ouâ€™ve learned about the company, its policies, goals and management: “Iâ€™ve researched the com pany and people tell me itâ€™s a good place to work.” 32. What was the last book Think this through. Your answer should be com patible with y ou read? Movie y ou accepted norm s. saw? Sporting event y ou att ended? 33. What are y ou doing, or Talk about formal courses and training program s. what have y ou done t o reach y our career object ives? 34. What was wrong with Again, choose y our words carefully. Donâ€™t be negative. Say that y our last company? no com pany is perfect, it had both strengths and weaknesses. 35. What kind of hours are “As many hours as it takes to get the job done.” y ou used t o working? ( DO ES T H E P ER SO N MA T CH JO B A N D C R IT ER IA ?) 36. What would y ou do for Relate past success in accom plishing the objectives which are us? sim ilar to those of the prospective employer. 37. What has y our Give examples from accom plishm ents. experience been in supervising people? 38. Are y ou a good Draw from y our successes. Yes, my people like and respect me supervisor? personally and professionally. They often comm ent on how much they learn and develop under my supervision. 39. Did y ou ever fire any one? If y ou havenâ€™t, say so, but add that y ou could do it, if necessary. If so, what were the reasons and how did y ou handle it? 40. How have y ou helped Refer to accom plishm ents. y our company ? 41. What is the most money Refer to accom plishm ents. If y ou havenâ€™t had budget y ou ever account ed for? responsibility, say so, but refer to an accom plishment that Largest budget dem onstrates the sam e skill. responsibility? 42. Whatâ€™s the most Rem ember, youâ€™re talking to a prospectiv e employ er, not y our difficult situation y ou best friend. Donâ€™t dredge up a catastrophe that resulted in a ever faced on the job? personal or corporate failure. Be ready for this question by thinking of a story that has a happy ending â€“ happy for y ou and y our com pany. Never digress into personal or family difficulties, and donâ€™t talk about problem s youâ€™ve had with supervisors or peers. You might discuss a difficult situation with a subordinate, provided that the issues were resolved inventively and to ev ery oneâ€™s satisfaction. 43. Describe some situations Refer to accom plishm ents. Everyone has had a few of these pressure in which y ou have situations in a career. Behavior -related questions aim at assessing a worked under pressure candidateâ€™s character, attitude, and personality traits by asking or met deadlines? for an account of how the candidate handled certain challenging situations. Plan for such questions by making a list of the desirable traits relevant to the needs of the industry or prospective employ er and by preparing som e job-related stories about your experience that dem onstrate a range of those traits and habits of conduct. Before answering the questions, listen carefully and ask any clarifying questions you think necessary. Tell y our story and conclude by explaining what y ou intended your story to illustrate. Finally, ask for feedback: “Does this tell you what you need to know?” 44. How do y ou handle Rejection is part of business. People donâ€™t always buy what y ou reject ion? sell. The tick here is to separate rejection of y our product from rejection of yourself: “I see rejection as an opportunity. I learn from it. When a custom er takes a pass, I ask him what we could do to the product, price or service to make it possible for him to say yes. Donâ€™t get me wrong: Youâ€™ve got to makes sales. But rejection is valuable, too. Itâ€™s a good teacher.” 45. In y our present position, Refer to accom plishm ents what problems have y ou identified that had previously been overlooked? 46. Give an example of y our Refer to accom plishm ents. creativity. 47. Give examples of y our Draw examples from accom plishm ents. leadership abilities. 48. What are y our career Talk first about doing the job for which y ou are applying. Your goals? career goals should mesh with the hiring com pany goals. 49. What position do y ou Just say y ou wish to exceed objectives so well that you will be on a expect t o have in t wo prom otable track. y ears? 50. What are y our Refer back to question #48 on goals. object ives? (How does the person handle stress? What is their confidence level?) 51. Why should we hire y ou? This may sound suspicious, negative, or just plain harsh. Actually, itâ€™s a call for help. The em ployer wants y ou to help him/her hire you. Keep your response brief. Recap any job requirements the interviewer may have m entioned earlier in the interview, then, point by point, match your skills, abilities and qualifications to those item s. Relate a past experience which represents success in achieving objectives which may be similar to those of the prospective employer. 52. Y ou may be over- “A strong com pany needs a strong person.” An employer will get qualified or t oo faster return on investment because you have m ore experience than experienced for the required. position we have t o offer. 53. Why havenâ€™t y ou “Finding the right job takes tim e. Iâ€™m not looking for just any found a new position job.” before now? 54. If y ou could start again, No need to be self-revealing. “Hindsight is 20/20; every one would what would y ou do make som e changes, but Iâ€™ve learned and grown from all my differently? decisions.” 55. How much do y ou expect Be careful. If y ou donâ€™t know the market value, return the if we offer this position t o question by saying that y ou would expect a fair salary based on the y ou? job responsibilities, your experience and skills and the market value of the job. Express y our interest in the job because it fits y our career goals â€“ Receptive to a reasonable and com petitive offer â€“ donâ€™t talk $â€™s. Itâ€™s always best to put off discussing salary and let PPR Career handle that. ANSWER: Iâ€™m open to a com petitive offer. Iâ€™d prefer to discuss the opportunity and allow my recruiter to handle any salary questions.
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