32 Common Interview Questions

Prepping for an interview? This is by no means a complete list of every interview question your interviewer could ask, but it should cover a lot of ground and get you prepared to think in the right way to answer those questions. If you’re having trouble with some of these questions, check out 19 Killer Interview Questions and How to Answer Them for some tips on answering the tougher of these.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Tell me about your education.
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. What are 2 – 3 weaknesses you need to improve?
  5. How would you define success?
  6. Describe an ideal work environment.
  7. What is your greatest achievement and why?
  8. What are your salary expectations?
  9. Why do you want to work here?
  10. Why should I hire you?
  11. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  12. How do others describe you?
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. Name three adjectives that describe you.
  15. Describe the situations in which you are most comfortable as a leader.
  16. Tell me about a time when your first solution did not resolve an issue. What did you do?
  17. Who has been instrumental in helping you develop your performance over the last few years? In what way?
  18. Tell me about a well-functioning team that you were on. Why do you think the team worked so well together?
  19. Describe an instance in which you were able to persuade an important person over to a new way of thinking.
  20. On a scale of 1-10, how organized are you?
  21. Tell me about a project that you started but never finished. Why did you not complete the project and how did that make you feel?
  22. Describe a high pressure situation you had to handle at work. Tell me what happened, who was involved, and what you did in terms of problem solving.
  23. Give an example of how you solved a problem in the past.
  24. What do you consider the most important idea you contributed or your most noteworthy accomplishment in your last job?
  25. Give an example of a time you showed leadership and initiative.
  26. Describe your best/worst boss.
  27. In a job, what interests you the most/least?
  28. Where do you see yourself in three years?
  29. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  30. What was your biggest failure?
  31. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  32. How many tennis balls can you fit in a limousine?
  33. What questions do you have for me?

 

Did we miss any major questions you’ve struggled with or had in a recent interview? Post them in the comments below.

19 Killer Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

What+happens+during+a+job+interview_2fe868_3702785Interviews can be stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to come up with the right answer to a question. Here are 19 killer questions and some tips on how to craft a beautiful answer to land the job!

  1. Tell me about yourself. Your answer to this question should sum up why you are right for the job. Use your elevator pitch, but don’t regurgitate your resume. Keep it short and simple. What do you want the interviewer to know about you most? Listing one or two accomplishments or a description of your personality/work style and how they position you for this job will suffice.
  2. What are 2 – 3 weaknesses you need to improve? Gauge your answer with honesty and self-awareness. Don’t use clichés (ie. I’m too much of a perfectionist) and don’t tell them you don’t have any. Find something you struggle with that isn’t a red flag and make sure you end your answer with explaining how you’re attempting to improve.
  3. How would you define success? Your interviewer is asking what your personal definition of success is. Research the company’s mission and goals to see if they align your personal answer.
  4. Describe an ideal work environment. Research comes in handy here. Research what it’s like to work at this company—most company websites have a company culture page, but if not try looking for employees on LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview to learn more. You answer should be in line with the type of work environment and culture the company has.
  5. What is your greatest achievement and why? Is it your college diploma? An award? What about a project that you completed and are proud of? Use the STAR Method to give context and results to be effective in telling whatever story you choose.
  6. What are your salary expectations? Show you’ve done your research and know your worth. Not sure where to find salary information for your industry? Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics or O*Net.
  7. Why do you want to work here? Your interviewer wants to know that you are passionate about this job and company. Identify why you’re a great fit for the position and follow with why you love the company.
  8. Why should I hire you? Your answer needs to cover four things: that you can do the job, deliver great results, fit in with the company culture, and that you’d be a better hire than the other candidates. What makes you stand out? Bring it up (or bring it up again) here.
  9. What can you offer us that someone else can not? Similar to the above question, what makes you stand out? And don’t say you’re more hard working or passionate than the other candidates. Bring up accomplishments and success stories that can provide hard evidence of what you’ve done and can do. Don’t forget to use the STAR Method.
  10. What is your dream job? Do you have realistic expectations for your career? And do you have ambition? The interviewer wants to see if this job is really in line with your long-term career goals. Talk about your goals and how this position will get you closer to them.
  11. Name three adjectives that describe you. The interviewer wants to get to know you and see whether you have the right personality and traits to fit the position and culture. Don’t cop-out by saying generic, overused buzzwords like “innovative,” “creative,” and “passionate.” If those things are the best words to describe you, get a thesaurus. Look up unique ways to communicate those same messages.
  12. Describe the situations in which you are most comfortable as a leader. Make sure you don’t describe something completely opposite of the company’s culture and use the STAR Method to back up what you say. How do you find out what situations you could face in the company? Informational interviews with employees you find on LinkedIn can be key in helping you prepare for this question.
  13. Tell me about a time when your first solution did not resolve an issue. What did you do? Use the STAR Method to illustrate your story. Your interviewer is trying to see how you have behaved in a difficult situation in the past and how you were able to solve the problem so they can understand how you would navigate a future challenge.
  14. Who has been instrumental in helping you develop your performance over the last few years? In what way? As a student, or young professional, this should be an easy question to answer. Who has helped you develop your career? Your interviewer probably wants to hear how you have developed over the past few years. If those years didn’t include internships or jobs demonstrate your adaptability and growth in schoolwork and team projects.
  15. Describe your best/worst boss. Be careful here. Don’t bash any previous employers. These could even be hypothetical. Your interviewer is trying to see if you’re a good fit for the company. Know the management style of the company (how do you find out? Informational interviews with current employees in similar roles. Reach out on LinkedIn. Most people are happy to chat, especially about themselves) and align your best boss description in line with their style/culture. Be truthful, but your worst boss description should definitely not sound like a description of the company you’re interviewing with.
  16. In a job, what interests you the most/least? Be honest. What interests you? Make sure to frame the things you’re “least” interested in as not being things you aren’t interested in. Maybe explain you understand this task is a part of the process and you are happy to complete it, but it simply isn’t as interesting as ____.
  17. Where do you see yourself in three years? Be honest about your career goals. Show you have realistic goals, ambition, and that this position will help you reach those goals. It’s okay to say you aren’t quite sure what the future olds, but that you see this position as playing an important role in helping you make those decisions.
  18. How many tennis balls can you fit in a limousine? Variations of questions like this are framed to test your creativity and critical thinking skills. The interviewer does not (probably) have the correct answer and most likely isn’t looking for the correct answer. What he or she is looking for is to see how you think on your feet.
  19. What questions do you have for me? Prepare a few less-common interview questions before the interview because a lot of times most of your questions will be answered during the interview itself. Consider asking about your interviewer’s career path, a regular day in the office, how the interview thinks you could impact the company, etc.

Have there been other interview questions that stumped you? Post them in the comments and we’ll talk about how to handle them in the future.

Class of 2014 It’s Your Time!

Graduation is this week! we did it reese witherspoon

 

 

 

 

Bring on the celebrations

dancing brad pitt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of us have jobs or post-grad plans and are like

dancing lobster

 

 

 

 

 

but some of us are still searching like

why-dont-i-strap-on-my-job-helmet-and-squeeze-into-a-job-cannon-and-fire-off-into-job-land

 

 

 

 

Either way, we’re all grown ups now. Right? i'm an adult

 

 

 

 

 

As we graduate, we can get caught up in having to say goodbye to a place we called home for 4 years and goodbye to the wonderful friends we made, and that can be scary.

lily cries

 

 

 

 

But if they’re good friends, we’re really just saying goodbye for a little while. I'm_never_saying_goodbye_to_you

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pull it together, you have to look good in those graduation pictures everything is fine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of graduation

Quinn_Graduating

 

 

 

 

Try not to let this be you

falling down at graduation

 

 

 

 

I’m sure that big day will go swimmingly for everyone, and if you do trip, you could always fountain to cheer up.

fountain_dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember that Purdue will always welcome you back with open arms purduepete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all,

everything ends sometime

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus, next year around this time we’ll all be like finals-huh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Graduation Class of 2014!

You’re Going to Succeed During Finals Week…. Here’s How:

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Below you will find some general study tips gathered to help you succeed. Do not stress, just stay focused and keep your eye on your goals.

Sleep. At this moment you still have enough time to prepare for all of your finals. You have at least 6 days to study, not cram. Sleep will be one of the most important things for you over the next few days, as it will help you stay focused and stay on schedule.

 

Study in time intervals. It’s best for you to focus on material for 45-50 minutes, then take a 10-15 minute break to relax. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting on Facebook or Pinterest… we all know that’s a trap. Stretch out, grab a snack, or talk to friends for a few minutes. This will help you recharge.

 

Organize, organize your study materials, & organize your time. Break each class up into times that you will study that specific material and have your folder/binder of the material put together and ready.

 

Switch it up. Change your study locations so you don’t get bored or distracted.

 

Exercise and eat healthy. Just good habits to practice.

 

Quiz yourself or have others quiz you. Practice with past exams or having friends quiz you out loud. This will jog your memory in a different way than just reading notes over and over – which will help you to remember the material.

 

Talk with your professor. One semester I was struggling with the amount of material that would be covered on my final, so I took my study guide to my professor where she was able to help me weed out the useless information and focus on what would be important.

 

The more you prepare, the more likely you will be to succeed. However, if that didn’t help at all, consult these articles for more tips & tricks!

Nervous about an in-class essay final?

Feeling the pressure & stress pile-up?

15 Hot Tips to Study for Finals

How to Study for Finals

 

Dream Company Networking: Road Map to Pass the Unfamiliar Intersection

Networking

When heading toward your dream company, you need to pass two intersections: one that will determine the direction of your career/ industry and the other inquiring your networking strategy.  Since you already have a dream company in mind, you have successfully turned the “right” way at the first intersection toward your dream career.  Now, you’re heading toward the unfamiliar networking intersection.  It would help if you had a road map to help you make the choice…

Before addressing the networking paths, I bet you’re wondering why there is a networking intersection in the first place.  Good question.  The answer is simple; to get your foot inside the door.  Networking is the most effective way to obtain an opportunity to work for your dream company because it allows you to meet the right people to make it happen.  Often, when I hear people say they finally “found their dream company”, they usually haven’t “found a dream plan” to make the dream come true.  That’s why it’s just as important to have a dream networking strategy along with the dream company.

Enough with the explanation; where’s the map?  Well, you’re in luck.  Finally, below is a road map of the general five paths you will face at the intersection.  Which one will you choose?

Path #1:  Company Websites
Companies pack a ton of information into their website.  Whether it is new product FAQs or mission statements, each info piece helps prospective employees discover what it takes to work at the company.  What people don’t know is that company websites are a great first step toward company networking.  Websites are meant to display the “what,” “when,” and “where” for their respectful company, which include (but not limited to) company tours, event sponsorship and participation, and company displays.  Additionally, they provide recruiter/ representative contacts.  Using the accumulated information as a guide, attend those events and contact those representatives to express your interest in the company.  Exposing your name within company functions will show the company that you are a serious candidate and should definitely be considered for future employment.

Path #2:  Career Fairs
Boilermakers have an advantage when it comes to career fairs due to heavy company participation.  Career fairs offer ample opportunity to network with company recruiters and representatives face-to-face.  The face-to-face aspect is important since it is easier to remember a face than it is and email or a name alone.  Not only are career fairs designed for networking purposes, but also for landing job offers.  Usually, companies have a clear motive when they arrive at a fair; they are looking for a select number of candidates with a distinct type of skills.  Therefore, this route serves as the “most accessible option” in terms of interviews.  I would recommend to do your dream company a favor and convince them with your elevator speech that you are the dream candidate they are looking for.  Either way, you should always leave a career fair on win-win terms.  You would either walk out with an interview or a contact that will lead you to a future interview.

Path #3:  Informational Interviews
Interviews can be stressful, especially the ones that could land you the full-time position or leadership role.  The goals for those “persuasive” interviews are to convince both the interviewer and yourself of the perfect-fit you and the company share.  However, I am not talking about the persuasive kind; you already know that you are the perfect fit in your dream company.  Informational interviews are professional meetings with a company representative conducted by you.  During the interview, you will be asking company-specific questions to learn more about the environment, people, and function of your ideal workplace.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the representative’s contact info for additional questions after the interview.  This exchange of info serves as a foot-in-the-door since you have introduced yourself to a “company insider.”  But don’t worry about being greedy either!  Take the initiative to ask for additional contacts whom can answer field-specific or role-specific questions.  The more contacts you have inside the company, to more opportunity you have to get completely inside the door.

Path #4:  Linked-In
If you want to take the innovative networking approach, then Linked-In is your best choice.  This tool allows you to meet future co-workers on a professional level.  All you need to do is send a personalized “link” request to the people you want to connect with.  The key is personalized.  If you only send a generic “join my network” request, then the person won’t know your real purpose for the connection.  Let him or her know that you are interested in the company and want to learn about future opportunities.  Most professionals are open to help proactive, motivated, future candidates. Once the person accepts your request, make sure to continually show that you’re interested in future opportunities at the company.  Frequent communication is essential to growing your network, or else it will die quickly.

Path #5:  Company-sponsored events
Most companies targeting college students promote themselves through organizational events.  That’s great because you’re attending Purdue with over 900 student organizations, resulting in numerous opportunities to attend company-sponsored events and get to know the company.  Generally, during the event’s festivities, the company representatives will have booth promoting available positions and company products.  Here is your chance to express an interest.  This small expression could easily turn into an interview, depending on your newly acquainted company contact.  Yet, you won’t know the result if you don’t try.  The same principle should be followed during formal events like sponsored charity dinners.  Meet as many people as you can and see where they take you.

Each path is a great choice when attempting to network with representatives from your dream company.  Generally, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” path; however, there exists a “strategic” path.  Depending on the company, each networking path has its pluses and minuses when it comes to effectiveness.  However, if you accidently chose a less-effective path, that’s fine.  Just retrace your steps and take another path at the intersection.  You will know which path worked when you arrive at your first day in your dream company.

Destination reached.

If you have a dream company in mind, but need help making a plan of how to get there – stop by the CCO in YONG132 from 10a-4p Monday-Friday. Multiple-Paths

Dress to Impress: Business Casual vs. Professional

Knowing what to wear in business or professional situations can be hard. Here are some pointers on the differences between business casual and professional to help you wear what’s appropriate.

Business-Casual-vs.-Professional-Dress-blog

If you do have any questions about what’s appropriate dress for an event or interview you have coming up, feel free to Drop-In the CCO during walk-in hours, Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, or you can make an appointment in Young 132.