21 Sample Interview Questions

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In this section you'll learn what the interviewer hopes to get out of a good meeting with you, and how to answer tough and not-so-tough interview questions.

Table of Contents
Types of Interview Questions: Traditional and Behavioral
12 Questions for Management and Non-Management Applicants
9 Questions for Management and Executive Applicants
What Questions Are Illegal

Interview Styles
There are two styles of interview questions: traditional and behavioral.

  1. Traditional questions are direct and tend to give the interviewee the sense that he's being tested, as if there are right and wrong answers. Traditional questions might be something like these:
    • Why do you want to hold this position?
    • Aside from money, what will you gain from having this job?
    • What motivates you to excel?
  2. Behavioral questions invite the job applicant to tell a story. The theory behind behavior-based interviewing is that by hearing about a job seeker's past behavior, the employer can predict his future behavior. Here are some sample behavior-based questions.
    • What accomplishment are you particularly proud of?
    • When did you handle conflict with your boss, colleagues, or subordinates? Tell me about it.
    • Tell me about a situation that demonstrates your work habits.
    • Describe a time when you and your superior were in conflict and how it was resolved.

Many managers have been trained in giving behavioral interviews, so you're likely to run into them. Others will ask traditional questions, in which case, here's a tip: Give behavioral answers whenever possible. Even when asked traditional questions, take every opportunity to tell a short story about one of your accomplishments, a scenario that demonstrates your style of work, or an example of your skills in action. Your behavioral answers will make your interview more memorable, more meaningful, and more fun for the manager.

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