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Commonly Asked Questions You Should Already Have Answered

  1. Tell me about yourself. This is your “summary statement”, NOT a laundry list of tasks. It is relevant to the job position you are seeking. It is your “elevator speech”…who you are in relationship to how you are the solution to the employer’s problem. EX. “Currently,….(talk about your jobs and what you do and want to do for them)
  2. What are your strengths? You should NOT have to think about this! Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples: Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude. Taking the Strengths Finder assessment is a great way to identify your top five strengths. When you answer have a work example to back it up to show your success.
  3. What are your weaknesses? You should have a list of three. Keep in mind that the employers expect people to have weaknesses…AND to see that they are working on resolving those weaknesses. If you don’t see yourself as having any great weakness, just ask your spouse or children! EXAMPLE: Silence can be considered a weakness. It intimidates some people; makes others think you are not listening to them; because you don’t answer their questions right away, they think you are not knowledgeable.
  4. What are your future career plans? Where do you see yourself five years from now? Show how you plan to motivate yourself within the job. Also, don’t be too specific or state in 6 months you plan to move to Asia.
  5. Why are you interested in us (working with us)? Why do you want this position? Point out your assets and how they meet with the organization’s needs. Show how you can help the company, not the company helping you.
  6. How did you get along with your last boss? Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?  This is a trick question. It’s a test to see if you will speak ill of your boss. Never, ever speak ill of a boss. Find something positive and develop a poor memory about any trouble. Keep this answer short and sweet!
  7. How would your peers, direct reports, or last manager describe you?  Numerous good possibilities: loyalty, energetic, positive attitude, a leader, team player, patient, hard working, creative, problem-solver, non-judgmental, and caring.
  8. Tell me about a time when helped resolve a dispute between you and a co-worker. Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving skills and NOT the dispute you were having.
  9. What do you like to do in your spare time?  This borders on being too personal and they really shouldn’t be asking! Tactfully decline, or answer in generalities, unless you see that your hobbies are a connection to the boss.
  10. What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have?  Be generic and positive! Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of humor, fair, loyal to staff and company, and holds high standards. Usually all bosses think they have these traits.
  11. And last, but not least….the one that may shoot you in the foot and keep you from getting the job…DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Do not go into an interview without having at least three questions to ask the employer. They should not be about salary or number of vacation days. You should do your homework…”Is this position a new position?” OLD: “How long has the previous employee been in this position?” NEW: “What lead to the creation of this new position?”




Compiled by Constance Peay, Career Services Coordinator at Rappahannock Community College from and Nancy Eckert “Resume Writing and Interviewing Skills” workshop at Southside Community College- March 2011

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