The Basics – Answer These 40 Interview Questions BEFORE You Start a Job Search

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You’ve had a successful career.  You are rising to the top of your profession and ready to take the skills you’ve learned to the next level.  Time to start a job search.


Do not send out that resume until you have prepared yourself.  With hard work you can be prepared in a week.  If you want to try to do this a few hours on the weekend, you will need to wait a few weeks before reaching out to new jobs.

The Task?

Write down answers to the forty interview questions below.  Yes, write them down in grammatically correct English.  Make them interesting answers.  Try to turn your answers into opportunities for conversation.  You want a dialogue with your interviewer and spending some time crafting interesting answers will make your interview engaging and memorable.  Do NOT memorize your answers.  The act of writing down the answers will give structure to your response.  You don’t want to memorize the answer because it will sound stilted and over prepared.  You don’t need to memorize the answer because this is your life.  You know what you’ve done but, as with any good effort, preparation is critical to presenting that information in an interesting and informative way.


The First 10 Interview Questions to Prepare

These are the most common questions that are asked.  Sometimes they won’t be phrased exactly as shown below, but preparing for these ten questions will probably cover 80% of the questions you get asked.

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. Why are you leaving your current job?
  4. What are your weaknesses?
  5. What are your strengths?
  6. Where do you see yourself in five years? ten years?
  7. Describe a great accomplishment?
  8. Tell me about a mistake you made?
  9. What are your salary requirements?
  10. Do you have any questions for me?

10 Interview Questions About the Position

The next questions that are the most common will focus on assessing you for the specific position you are interviewing for.  You will be able to anticipate these based on your skill set and matching it to the job description you applied for.

  1. Why should I hire you for this position?
  2. What interests you most about this job?
  3. Tell me what skills you bring to this position?
  4. What skills are you missing?
  5. Why did you choose the education you did?  How well did you do?
  6. How would your previous or current manager describe you?
  7. How would your associates or clients describe you?
  8. How does this position further your career goals?
  9. What do you think of our company/product/services/management?
  10. What is the name of our CEO?


10 Interview Questions About Your Interpersonal Skills

No matter what you will be doing you need to get along.  For some positions you may need to do more than just get along and the interviewer will be trying to assess that as well.

  1. How well do you handle conflict?
  2. Describe a time when you had conflict and what you did?
  3. How well do you handle pressure?
  4. Describe a time when you failed to meet a deadline/expectation?
  5. Would you rather work with information or with people?
  6. What are you passionate about?
  7. What type of work do you dislike?
  8. What makes you uncomfortable?
  9. Have you ever been fired? How would you fire someone?
  10. Are you a leader or a follower?


10 Seemingly Casual Getting-to-Know-You Interview Questions

Even though these questions seem more personal, keep it professional.  Yes, they want to get to know you, but you aren’t their buddy yet!

  1. What was the last book you read for fun?
  2. What is your favorite website?
  3. How much time do you spend on social media? Your phone?
  4. What are your pet peeves?
  5. What gets you up in the morning?
  6. What are your hobbies?
  7. What do you do on weekends? Vacations?
  8. What do you know about the town where this position requires you to work?
  9. What is your favorite movie? TV show?
  10. What is on your bucket list?

If you are starting a job search and looking for advice or assistance, reach out to Executive Recruiters Smith Hanley Associates.  Put our 35+ years of experience to work for you.








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