SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - ALL
(See last pages for program/position specific questions)
1. Tell me what interested you in this job.
2. What qualifications and abilities do you have that indicate you will be successful in your field?
3. What are your career plans?
4. Why did you leave your last job? Why did you start looking for a different job?
5. What salary expectations do you have?
6. Why should I hire you?
7. What other positions have you applied for or are considering apply for?
8. Are there any work experiences or accomplishments that you wanted to share with us that we
did not address?
9. Given your understanding of the position, how does it fit into the mission and success of MU
10. Which job have you had that have been the best fit for your skills?
11. As important as it is to find someone with the right skills for the job, it is also important to find
someone who will be a great compliment to the team. What teams have you worked with in the
past that have not been a good fit for your personality?
Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving
1. Give an example of a situation where you had to resolve a conflict between co-workers, staff,
volunteers and/or clients. What was the conflict and what approach did you use to resolve it?
2. Give us an example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
What about when you didn’t use such good judgment and logic?
3. Tell us about a situation where you ―blew it‖ and what you did to remedy the situation.
1. We all have customer/client stories that we won’t ever forget – tell me about a great customer or
client you had, and a difficult customer.
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2. What partnerships have you developed that you are particularly proud of? What was your role in
developing this partnership? What was the business impact as a result of this partnership?
1. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to
see things your way.
2. Describe a time when disagreed without being disagreeable.
3. Describe a current or past colleague whom you believe has excellent/poor communication skills.
What makes their communication skills effective/ineffective?
1. What computer programs are you proficient in?
2. Excel / spreadsheets – explain one of the more difficult spreadsheets you have developed from
scratch, how it worked, and what it was used for.
3. What is the difference between a database and a spreadsheet? When would you use one instead of
1. Give me three (3) strategies that you would use when relating to people of diverse backgrounds,
values and demographics in this assignment?
2. Do you believe it is or is not important for an organization to be concerned about reaching diverse
audiences with our products/services, and/or with striving for a diverse work force? Why or why
3. Describe to us what you know about the demographics of the population in the county(s) this
position serves. What experiences have prepared you to address this range of audiences? What
steps have you taken in your current position to provide equal opportunity for diverse audiences?
4. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations,
5. This position works with Latino audiences. What should we know about this audience in order to
improve the chances of attendance? How is this culture different than the majority in this
6. Our culture is aging and we are facing more and more multi-generational environments, both in
the work environment and within our audience base. What do you know about generational
differences and how each generation learns and works?
7. What key educational programs do you believe should be provided to our aging demographics in
the community? How would the delivery of educational programs be similar or different to this
group than the younger generation?
Education / Teaching Styles
1. What type of trainer are you? What is your training style?
2. What do you know about the various learner styles?
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3. Describe an experience where you provided leadership to individuals in developing,
implementing, and reporting the impact of an educational program.
4. Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
Evaluation of Programs
1. What experience and/or knowledge do you have with developing and/or conducting
quantitative and qualitative evaluations? What evaluation methods have presented the
greatest challenge for you? Greatest benefit?
2. You are asked to be a trainer at the next Annual Conference, training on the ―why’s and/or
how’s of program evaluation.‖ How would you approach the training? What are some
possible topics you would address?
3. Evaluating the success of programs involves writing evaluation reports. What makes a report a
―good report‖? What are some pitfalls to avoid?
4. You have developed (or advised others on the development of) evaluation tools that are to be
implemented. After the appropriate amount of time, you are ready to analyze the data but find
that you have not received an adequate response rate (or there are problems with the data).
What are the possible reasons? What do you do now?
Fiscal Experience and Accountability
1. Tell me about your fiscal management experiences (budgets, payroll, capital plans, cash flow)?
2. What budget responsibility have you had? What parties are involved, how and when should
they be involved in the development of budgets?
3. If one of your counties unexpectedly loses funding, what steps would you take to help the
local extension council and others adjust to this situation?
Goals and Achievements
1. What type of goals have you been responsible for meeting/exceeding in the work place (sales
goals, client contact goals, financial goals, etc)?
2. What would you consider your most significant achievement in the work place?
3. What did you do for your last company that made a difference and for which you believe you will
1. Tell me about your current position and how you helped the organization accomplish its goals and
2. Have you had to champion an unpopular change? What was it, how did you handle it?
3. Describe a time when you believe you exhibited your best leadership within the work
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4. If you could change one leadership decision you made in the last few years, what would it be?
5. How would you change the decision and why?
1. Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.
2. How would you define ―success‖ for your career? At the end of your work life, what must
have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?
1. MU Extension values continued professional development. We offer many in-service
educational opportunities, and support faculty and staff with being actively involved in
professional associations related to their area of expertise. What professional associations are
you involved with? What associations do you believe would be advantageous to become a part
2. How do you ensure your knowledge and skills in the field are kept up-to-date?
1. This position is involved with seeking out and developing external funding sources to enhance
existing and future programs, including identifying reasonable and acceptable fee’s, new
opportunities, appropriate grant or contract opportunities, and partnerships to provide growth
opportunities for new and existing educational programs.
What experience do you have with fund raising?
What experience do you have with obtaining and/or managing grants?
What ideas do you have to help generate resources to grow new and existing educational
2. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful donor
3. Our faculty have the flexibility and freedom to identify local needs and develop programming to
help with this need. If you had an idea that you wanted to try but did not have the resources
available to do this program, what might you do to generate the money needed?
Do you have any experience with fundraising, grant writing, or other experiences that would
benefit you in a situation like this?
1. Describe a time at work when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your
2. What work-related situations causes you stress?
3. Sometimes it is easy to get in ―over your head‖. Describe a situation where you had to request
help or assistance on a project or assignment.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
1. If I asked your current and last supervisors what your strengths and areas needing improvement
are, what would they say? What do your past performance evaluations indicate?
2. If I asked for copies of your performance reviews, what would I find?
1. What supervisory experience have you had?
2. Tell me about a time you coached employees who 1) improved and 2) didn’t improve
3. What is your own philosophy of management?
4. What was the most challenging personnel issue you have had to deal with?
5. Tell me about your experiences with staff development. How do you think your current staff
would describe you? How would the other managers describe you?
1. Much of our work today is accomplished through teams. Share an experience where you
worked on a team that was successful, and one that wasn’t successful. What was your role?
2. Why was the team successful / not successful?
3. Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
Understanding of position, location, travel, evenings, etc.
1. Describe to us your understanding of this position and of Extension. Why do you think you would
like this type of position and organization?
2. Extension has faculty and staff employed throughout Missouri. Do you have a geographical
preference if given the opportunity to live anywhere in Missouri?
3. The county(s) this position resides in is (give descriptor – population, entertainment, etc). Is this
an environment that you could ―feel at home‖ in? For how long?
4. Should you be offered this position, what do you believe would be the most rewarding part of
this position for you? What would be the least rewarding? (or the largest learning curve)
5. This positions requires traveling to other counties about x-x times a week, plus traveling to
Columbia x times a year for training and meetings. The last person in this position turned in
approximately xx,xxx miles a year for mileage reimbursement. 1) Does traveling with your own
vehicle require any special accommodations? and 2) Does traveling that much on a regular basis
1. What do you see as essential components to a well run volunteer program?
2. What volunteer liability issues should be considered?
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3. You find out that one of your volunteers is on the sexual offenders list. What thoughts go through
your mind and how do you respond?
1. What position have you had that was the most/least rewarding? Why?
2. Tell me about your favorite/least favorite supervisor.
3. What trait in a supervisor do you consider the most important and why?
4. Describe your current work environment. What do you like about it and what would you like to
change if you could? OR What kind of work environment would you rather not be in again?
5. If you could change two things about the place you last worked, what would they be?
6. What do you do to contribute to the well-being of your co-workers? How can you help them be
more fulfilled at work? What can they do for you?
7. What are some ways that your supervisor can help keep you motivated?
8. Describe three things that are most important to you in a job.
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Program / Position Specific Questions
4H Youth Development
1. In-box Activity - Listed below are three common situations that a 4-H Youth Development
Specialist might encounter. Assume that you have been out of the office and find these three
messages on your desk. It is a Thursday afternoon and all three messages need a response by noon
on Friday. Review the three messages and be prepared to explain to the committee the following:
a. How would you prioritize your responses? Which message would you address first,
second, and third? What are your reasons for this prioritization?
b. Three situations:
Situation One: State Representative Smith called. He/she received a call from
someone in the district who is very angry about the middle-school Health Fair for
children and parents that you helped to plan and coordinate. The constituent has
stated that the ―Health Fair dealt with inappropriate and perverse topics, such as
sexuality and AIDS/HIV.‖ The constituent believes that 4-H and Extension should
not be involved in this type of programming. Representative Smith wants a call back
by noon tomorrow with more information on this program.
Situation Two: The 16-year old chairperson of the planning committee for a teen
lock-in called. The lock-in is scheduled for tomorrow night and will involve teens
from two high schools that are arch-rivals in sports. Fights broke out between fans at
last year’s game. All week long there have been acts of vandalism and harassment
between students from the two schools. Threats have been made of more violence at
the game tomorrow night. The lock-in is scheduled to begin at 11:00pm immediately
following the game. The teen is distressed and wants to know whether to cancel the
Situation Three: A 4-H volunteer who leads one of the largest clubs in the county
called. He/she is very upset and discouraged by the lack of parent support and
involvement in the club. The last straw was this morning when a father swore at
him/her for failing to nominate his child for a special award. The volunteer says
he/she is ready to resign as club leader at the meeting tomorrow night.
2. Research has shown that youth (in particular females) who are involved in sports are less likely to
get involved in drugs, have higher self esteem, and are less likely to become pregnant teens. What
are the characteristics of a 4-H program that would lead you to believe that we may see similar
3. One of the basic components of our Youth Development program is to develop good citizenship in
our youth. What is ―citizenship‖ and what experiences can you reflect on that would help you
develop good citizenship in others?
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1. What would you tell a farmer who comes to your office and says:
a. I’ve been losing money the last several years and my banker says I’ve got to do
something different, or
b. I’m thinking about buying some more land. Is that a good idea? Or
c. My kid will be graduating next year and wants to come back to the farm. What do we
need to do? Or
d. Should I invest in a proposed new ethanol plant? Or
e. What can I do to reduce my price risk? Or
f. My combine is about worn out, but a new one costs a fortune. What should I do? Or
g. I need a better record keeping system. Do you have any suggestions?
2. A farmer (wife and husband) call with a problem. They want to meet with you. They are 65, want
to retire and travel the world. To accomplish this goal they want transfer, sell and/or lease their
land, cattle, equipment etc to their two married children. One child currently lives on the farm with
his/her family and has been helping with the farm for the past 20 years. The farmer has not
allowed the child to buy into the farm, or participate in the business aspects of the farm, mainly as
farm labor. He/she and spouse have off farm jobs to support family living expenses.
The second child moved away to college 25 years and never returned. He/she want to quit current
job in the big city and return to the farm. How would you advise this couple?
3. A group of local farmers come to you. They raise hogs, but have not been happy with the local
market. They want to buy a small local slaughter house and sell the pork directly. They want to
know how much increased income they should expect.
ANR - Agronomy
1. A producer brings in a leaf sample from soybeans. He questions if it is soybean rust? What would
be the process you would use to respond to the producers’ question and what recommendations
would you make?
2. A producer is interested in an alternative crop to this area. Who would you contact for
information? What guidance would you offer the producer?
3. Tell us about an experience you have had with producers and an agronomic issue—when the
response may have not been what the producer was expecting.
4. A farmer comes to you after a grazing school wanting assistance in developing a grazing system.
He has two large pastures and wants to begin on the pasture with the most potential on his
cow/calf herd. One is a fescue/red clover pasture. The second is a smooth brome/alfalfa pasture.
What would you recommend and why?
ANR – Horticulture
1. Tell us about your understanding of the Master Gardener program and your experience in training,
empowering and managing a volunteer based program.
2. Our regional specialists deliver research based information to the community. This position
requires academic knowledge in many of the following areas. Please explain the level of
knowledge you have in the following areas:
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Specialty crops; Vegetable production; Turf; Tobacco crops; Other
How have you gained your knowledge and expertise?
How would you respond to a question from someone about something you are unfamiliar
3. Horticulture fields: What fields of Horticulture do you consider to be your strongest areas? What
fields do you consider to be your weakest as far as knowledge and expertise? (commercial hort;
turf; pest management; nutrition or horticultural crops, landscape design, soils, etc)
4. Pest Management: Assume that you receive a request from the local horticulture association to
develop a one day workshop to train garden center employees in the area of pest management.
What are some topics you would cover during the workshop? What topics would you present vs.
find other speakers to cover? How would you find these speakers?
5. Plants: How would you respond to a homeowner who called to ask you to visit his/her home to
identify a shrub growing in their landscape?
a. What is the best time for organizing a fruit tree pruning demonstration? Why?
b. What are heirloom tomatoes? Are there any problems associated with growing heirloom
7. Prioritization: There is a tremendous demand for Horticulture Programming. If hired for this
position, how would you prioritize your work load when responding to the needs of the Master
Gardeners, the general public, and the Commercial Horticulture Industry?
ANR - Livestock
1. What is your opinion regarding Hog Confinements? How would you help a farmer with upset
neighbors? How would you educate regarding odor control?
2. Are you familiar with the Heifer Program? What would you add or change to the program?
3. This position will work closely with the 4H program. What experience and/or knowledge do you
have regarding 4H? What experience do you have with livestock judging, sheep and steer weigh-
ins, knowledge contests? Are you willing to help 4-H AT the County Fair?
4. The Amish are trying to start up goat milking and meat goat production. What knowledge about
goats and/or the Amish could you bring to this educational opportunity?
5. Are you currently active or willing to be an active member of livestock organizations such as MO
Cattleman’s Association, Pork Producers, Sheep Association, etc.?
6. Although a large percent of time this position is working with beef, it may also work with swine,
sheep, goats, and horses. What is your experience, knowledge, and comfort level with these areas?
1. Tell us how your past experiences will help you succeed in this position (entrepreneurial; teaching
or training; consulting; breadth and depth of business knowledge)
2. How would you help a customer who wanted to start a business and obtain a $500,000 loan?
3. How would you help a company expand overall sales?
4. This positions success is directly tied to improving business development in the community. Goals
have been established, including number of clients served, number of training attendees, and
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economic outcomes expected such as sales, jobs created, and loans obtained. When have you been
in a situation where you had quantifiable goals to reach?
5. What ideas do you have to attract clients with high probability of success in terms of sales, jobs,
loans, and businesses started?
6. How would assist someone that wanted to sell their product or service to the government?
7. What is the purpose of business? What is the ultimate goal of entrepreneurs? Does social
responsibility have a place?
1. How do you define and describe community development? What are the basic tenets?
2. Tell us about your experiences and education related to the following areas. How do you know if
you are successful in educating groups in these areas?
a. Community Economic Development
b. Community Leadership Development
c. Facilitating community and organizational planning processes
3. What are some methodologies to helping community organizers facilitate community
4. How do the adult education principles of power relationships, institutional structures, community
dynamics, and the role of the community organizer affect the successful outcome of community
5. Politics: Public officials can be elected officials, appointed managers (public employees with a lot
of discretion), and public employees in various offices. Are there differences and similarities in
how to work with them? How do you work with public officials without becoming involved in the
6. Define CD: If you were asked by a community leader ―what is community development‖, what
would you say? What are the basic principles that you bring to CD?
7. Facilitation / controversy: A proposal to start a farm in a near by county has brought quite a bit
of controversy among various groups (i.e. local citizens, environmental groups, community
leaders, etc). You have been asked to facilitate a group discussion with these groups in order to
help reduce the tension that is building. What approach would you take?
8. Economic Development: How do you distinguish between Economic Development and
Community Economic Development?
9. Leadership Development / Diversity: We have an increasing diverse population of
Hispanics, Amish, and poverty within these communities. If you were asked to hold a Leadership
Development program and wanted to include these groups, what would you do?
HES – Human Development and Family Studies
1. How do you define and describe human development and family studies? What are the basic
2. This position works with divorced families. If you were to develop a program to address the needs
of newly divorced parents, what topics would you incorporate?
3. Are you familiar with the ―Focus on Kids‖ program? What would you change about this program?
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HES – Housing and Environmental Design
1. Housing and Environmental Design is a fairly broad category. Where do you see your strengths
and interests fitting into this area?
*Common questions / topics for H/E Design Specialists include:
Indoor air quality issues (mold, radon, lead, etc)
Energy conservation techniques for renters and homeowners
Home buyers education
Home maintenance and repair
Rent smart issues
Special needs of housing in place / universal design
2. Housing finances and laws – questions related to:
a. consumer rights and responsibilities associated with housing
b. legal and financial aspects of purchasing and leasing housing
c. laws and public policies that impact housing decisions and costs
3. Housing needs – questions related to:
a. what are the housing characteristics related to the counties that this position serves?
b. describe factors affecting housing choices
c. describe the relationship of housing and family economics
d. what are the demographic trends and psychological, physiological, and social needs on
4. Housing health and safety
a. explain the effect of housing conditions on health and safety
b. what topics would you address if educating a group on detecting safety hazards and
maintaining a safe home?
c. what experience and/or knowledge do you have to address housing features for
individuals with special needs?
HES – Family Financial Planning
1. What key concerns do you believe individuals who do not have bank accounts face on a regular
basis? How would you help address their concerns?
2. If you were to develop a seminar on ―1st Time Home Buyers‖, what topics would you include?
3. What area of family financial planning are you most comfortable with? What areas would you
need more training? I.e.
a. family systems
b. family economics
c. housing and real estate
d. retirement planning
e. insurance planning
f. personal income taxation
4. A citizen asks you for information on rebuilding credit. How do you respond?
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5. A newly divorced single mother of five comes to you for help in learning how to balance her
check book and get out of debt. How do you respond?
6. Given the current economy, what advice do you have for consumers 5 years away from
retirement? What about those 25 years away from retirement?
7. Finances can be a ―dry‖ topic to many individuals. What have you done in the past to make it a
topic others want to learn about? Is there a well known financial advisor that you believe gets
people wanting to ―be smarting‖ about their finances?
HES – Nutrition
1. The local FACS teacher contacts you and shares that there has been a sudden increase in the
number of girls who are pregnant in the local high school. She would like you to provide some
programming for her class. Walk us through your program planning process.
o Staying up-to-date on research
o Marketing / promoting programs
o Teaching individuals with low literacy levels
2. What are the similarities and main differences with the current food pyramid and the last food
3. What do you believe are the most influential reasons for childhood obesity?
4. Successful nutrition education is based on theory, ongoing research, and a well-designed program.
Share how you have used theory, research, and/or a well designed program to help people make
nutrition-related behavior changes.
5. School teachers are asked to teach more and more subjects, and often times struggle to work in
nutrition education. How would you respond to a teacher who asks ―why is it important to teach
nutrition? Shouldn’t that be the parent’s responsibility?
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