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Preparing for Interviews

Every applicant invited for an interview must meet the minimum qualifications of the position. It is acceptable to confirm qualifications during the interview stage; however, an applicant must meet all minimum qualifications to be eligible for hire. Applicants meeting the minimum AND some or all of the preferred qualifications represent those in your pool that are the most qualified.

Interview Process
  1. The Hiring Official reserves interview times and locations with all internal stakeholders.
  2. The Hiring Official or designate invites and confirm applicants for interviews. Provide the address, directions, parking information, links to public transit, and an opportunity to request interview-related reasonable accommodations.
    1. If virtual, provide a contact for last-minute technical difficulties.  
    2. If the applicant is not local to the area, offer to arrange a free, local area tour via the official relocation partner Long & Foster. Tours can be requested at [[AskHR]]. HR requests at least three business days’ notice for tours. Do not refer applicants to personal realtors nor conduct area tours in personal vehicles.  
  3. Hiring Official updates applicant statuses within PeopleAdmin to Interview Pending. 
  4. The Hiring Official/Chair informs the committee of process and expectations.  
  5. The Hiring Official readies the interview room and provides interview questions to all participants. It is customary to provide the applicant with bottled water, paper, a writing utensil, and a written copy of interview questions (to remain with the Employer). 
  6. The Hiring Official/Chair leads the interview, beginning with an introduction of the role. 
  7. The Hiring Official/Chair concludes the interview by offering to answer any applicant questions and describing the timeline/next steps. 
  8. The Hiring Official moves the applicant status to Interviewed. 
  9. The Hiring Official/Chair leads interview de-briefing. Here is a sample interview synthesis/debriefing form (coming soon).
Interview Questions 

Create a list of structured, job-related questions. Questions should focus on description-stated knowledge, skills, and abilities. Questions may also address the duties outlined in the description as well as general questions about organizational values, work attitudes, and work approaches. A final version of the questions will be retained for the search record.

  • Create open-ended questions to encourage the applicant to answer in sentences and present their best selves.  
  • Consider using behavioral-based interview questions. These types of questions are based in the theory that the most accurate predictor or future performance is past performance. Behavioral-based questions are attempting to determine behavior patterns. For example:  “Describe a time on any job when you were faced with dealing with a difficult person. How did you handle it?”  For more examples see Sample Behavioral Questions (coming soon) .
  • Consider structuring questions to allow for comparable or translatable qualifications. For example, “Have you used Adobe Photoshop, or another program to complete graphic design? Please name the program and how you used it.” 
  • Please consult Prohibited Interview Questions (coming soon).
Sample Interview Questions
  • Experience
    • What were your expectations for your most recent job and to what extent were they met?
    • What were your responsibilities and duties in your most recent position?
    • What major challenges and problems did you face in your last job? How did you handle them?
    • What applicable attributes or experience do you have that you can bring to this job?
    • Have you held positions similar to this one? If so, tell me about them.
  • Management
    • What is your management style? How do you think your subordinates perceive you?
    • What aspect of supervision do you find the most difficult?
    • What would you consider to be the most fundamental factors in the successful relationship between managers and employees?
    • How do you define “leadership”?
    • How do you plan your day?
    • What makes someone a good supervisor?
    • What do you do when you are having problems with an employee?
  • Conflict Management
    • Tell me about a recent time when you resolved a conflict with a co-worker.
    • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Please provide an example.
    • Describe a situation in which you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle the situation? Is there anything you would have done differently in hindsight?
    • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that person may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
    • Tell me about a situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  • Decision-Making
    • What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make?
    • Describe a difficult work situation/project and how you overcame it.
    • What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make? How did you arrive at your decision?
    • What type of approach to solving work problems seems to work best for you?
    • Give me an example of when you solved a tough problem.

    • What type of challenge or problem is the most or least rewarding?

    • Describe a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

  • Goals and Motivation
    • How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time?
    • What was the biggest accomplishment/failure in your most recent position?
    • What motivates you to do your best?
    • If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?
    • Do you prefer to work independently or on a team and why?
    • What are your goals for the next five years/ten years?
    • If you had to describe yourself in only three words, what would those words be?
    • If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that be?
    • When I call your references, what will they say is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
    • What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty on the job?
    • What are two or three examples of tasks that you do not particularly enjoy doing?
    • What are two or three examples of tasks that you particularly enjoy doing?
    • How do you measure your own success? What does success mean to you?
  • Communication

    • Give a specific example of something you have done at work that you consider innovative.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to use your communication skills to influence someone’s opinion.
    • Describe a situation when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures.
    • What are your short-term or long-term career goals?
    • What are you most proud of?
  • Managing Stress and Deadlines
    • How do you handle stress and pressure?
    • Describe some situations in which you worked under pressure or met deadlines.
    • What do you do when you are facing trouble with your job?
    • What do you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short period of time?
  • General
    • What do you know about this position or department?
    • Why are you the best person for this job?
    • Is there anything you wanted me to know about you that we haven’t discussed?
    • What interests you about this job and why?
    • What challenges are you looking for in a position?
    • What is important to you in your next job?