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






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






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.













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!

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.


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.

What’s Your Dream?

dreamboxWhile on Spring Break, I came across the Legend of the Dream Box.

This legend suggests that you should write down your fondest dream, greatest desire, and/or strongest wish on a small piece of paper and put it in a small box. Each evening and morning, you should hold your Dream Box and think of your dream, believing with all your heart that it will come true. The legend says that if you do this faithfully, your dream will come true.

While the legend itself seems a bit mystical, the act of daily focusing on your hopes and dreams isn’t an odd concept. I challenge you to make your own Dream Box—physical or mental—that makes you stop at the beginning at end of each day and think about your dreams and what steps you’re taking to achieve them.

Making it through the Midterm Homestretch

Spring break is right around the corner.







But one week of midterm exams and papers still stands in the way of us lounging at home or on the beach.

oprah like what






No one can focus on studying with that bright sun out. Don’t even get me started on the slightly above freezing temperatures.

crumble up papers










It’s already been a long and dreary semester, many students are having trouble focusing on the studying tasks at hand.

why'd i take out my phone








But never fear, you can make it through this homestretch. Just sit down at your computer plug in your tunes and get to work.








Get to work on those research papers.

didn't read for class..internet












And get some good nights’ rest while you’re at it.

soft kitty








Your midterms may surprise you and not be as horrible as you think.

jurassic park kittens









After all, regardless of how they go, you get a week of (hopefully) warmth and relaxation to regenerate energy to get you by until summer.








Find yourself bored during the upcoming week? Maybe you should update your resume. Stop by the CCO’s Walk-In Hours Monday through Friday 10am-4pm.

The Real Best Job On Campus

1463915_10152459078024046_100493317_nPicture this: It’s a warm and beautiful Friday afternoon and all you want to do is go to a meeting at work. Sound a little far-fetched? For me it isn’t. Because I work at the best office on campus, with the best people, doing what I love to do. I’m a Marketing & Media Intern at Purdue CCO.

I’ve been an intern for three years and I’ve watched the program grow tremendously. It started with just me, being given the task of tweeting 8-10 times a day, posting on Facebook and writing a weekly blog. Now we have three interns, working with six (soon to be seven) different social media platforms, posting blogs daily, designing marketing materials for workshops and events, and planning individual campaigns like LinkedIn Boot Camp and #definesuccess.

But I can’t work here forever, mainly because I think my supervisor, Claudine, would give me a death stare for even thinking about not moving forward with my career/life. So now that all of our interns are graduating, we have the opportunity to pass on this amazing opportunity to three new interns.

What’s expected of Marketing & Media Interns today and in the future? We’re looking for three major things:

  1. Marketing & Media Interns are expected to work between 13-15 hours a week on assigned projects. The three interns will divide and conquer tasks; however they should always be ready and willing to help where needed. You should be creative and have the ability to take initiative and prioritize the tasks given.
  2. Interns should have some knowledge and experience with Adobe Creative Suite. Expertise is not required though a desire to learn more about design and the programs is. This position can be a great opportunity for interns to build their portfolio and strengthen their knowledge on the software. However, a lot of staff will ask you to make flyers and digital graphics for events and workshops, so you should feel comfortable working with design.
  3. Social media is also a big component of the position. Interns will be expected to have a strong knowledge of how to effectively use the CCO’s six (soon to be seven) platforms. Working on social media will require you to do a lot of digging for content and information that is career-focused and relevant and engaging for students. This has its advantages though, because as you find, post and write articles centered on career advice for others, you will inadvertently be learning the best and most current tips to getting a job, interviewing, writing resumes and cover letters, etc. Basically, you get paid to spend time learning about the best ways to get hired after graduation.

Working with the CCO has been invaluable in my personal and career development, and if you think you fit the above description, you should consider applying. Deadline to apply is MONDAY February 24.

For the full job description and to apply, log on to myCCO and search for Job #764920.