Common Interview Questions

Many of these questions were compiled from a survey of 242 well-known companies and published in "The Northwestern Lindquist-Endicott Report" by Victor R. Lindquist, formerly at the Northwestern University Placement Center, Evanston, IL. They are used here with permission.

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Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer

Questions start the minute the interview does, and to show that you are an exceptional candidate, you need to be prepared to answer not only the typical questions, but also the unexpected. You can expect questions regarding your qualifications, your academic preparation, career interests, experience, and ones that assess your personality.

  • What are your long range and short range goals and objectives, when and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
  • What specific goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself for the next ten years?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • How did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths? And weaknesses? What are you doing to overcome your weaknesses?
  • How do you think a former supervisor or professor would describe you?
  • How has your college career prepared you for a career in...?
  • We are looking at a lot of great candidates; why are you the best person for this position?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in this career?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
  • In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? How?
  • If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Why did you select the College of William and Mary and how did you arrive at this decision?
  • What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
  • What is your GPA? How do you feel about it? Does it reflect your abilities?
  • How have you changed personally since starting college?
  • What has been your greatest challenge?
  • To what do you owe your present success?
  • What motivates you?
  • If you could change a decision you made while at college what would you change and why?
  • Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?
  • What extra-curricular activities have you been involved in? How did you choose these involvements? What have you gained from these involvements? What did you contribute?
  • Describe a leadership role of yours and tell why you committed your time to it. What was your greatest challenge in this role?
  • Give me an example of an idea that has come to you and what you did with it.
  • What types of situations put you under pressure and how do you deal with pressure?
  • Tell me about a time you failed and how you handled it.
  • Why did you decide to seek a position with this organization?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you hope to work?
  • What characteristics do you admire in others?
  • Do you work better in a group or alone? Why?
  • If you were hiring someone for this job, what qualities would you look for?
  • Describe the type of manager you prefer.
  • What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
  • Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  • Tell me about yourself or how would you describe yourself?
  • Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to her or him.