Sample Job Interview Questions
To prepare for a job interview, it’s a good idea to consider questions you may be asked and how you would respond to them. Setting up a mock interview with the Berklee Career Center is a great way to practice responding to questions pertinent to the job you seek, but you can also prepare by asking yourself and responding to the questions in the Typical Job Interview Questions section below.
You’ll also want to ask potential employers questions during your interviews. These may arise organically from the conversation, but it’s helpful to have a few ready ahead of time. For ideas on questions you may wish to ask, explore the Potential Questions to Ask Employers section below.
The questions below are common in job interviews. Take note of the italicized text for advice from the Berklee Career Center that may help you in your response.
- Tell me about yourself. (This is your opportunity to tell the employer what qualifies you for this position. Talk about your skills, strengths, and experiences, both educational and employment related.)
- What do you consider to be your major strengths?
- What do you consider to be your major weaknesses? (Be honest, but try to downplay weaknesses, perhaps by framing your response as something you’re working on or would like to improve. Another strategy on answering this is to think of your skills with people, tools/technologies, data/information, and other categories. Which is most important to the position and which is least important to the position? Focus on something that is least important to the position in your response.)
- What is your understanding of this opportunity?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What are your short-term goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What did you like most about your last job?
- What did you like least about your last job? (This is another opportunity to put a positive spin on an otherwise negative question. Try to focus on one specific task or process you didn’t enjoy rather than getting into organizational politics.)
- How would your professor/friends/coworkers/boss describe you?
- What college courses did you enjoy or find most challenging?
- In what ways have your college experiences prepared you for a career?
- How would you describe the ideal job for you following graduation?
- Did you take part in any school activities or community service?
- What do you think you could bring to this job?
- What motivates you to do a good job?
- How do you manage multiple tasks/projects? Please give an example.
- How do you deal with stress and/or deadlines? Please give an example.
- What experience do you have with problem solving? Please give an example.
- Did you ever have a disagreement with a boss, coworker, or company policy, and how did you handle it?
- Do you prefer to work independently or within a team? (Employers will want you to be able to do both.)
- Tell me about one of your greatest accomplishments.
- What other positions have you been considering? (Make sure that your greatest level of enthusiasm is reserved for the position you are currently interviewing for.)
- Why should I hire you? (What can you do for them that someone else can’t? This requires that you know their goals, show your skills, articulate shared values, and state your interest in the position.)
More Advanced Questions (more typical for higher level jobs or second-round interviews)
- What are the limitations in your current job, and what do you seek in a new position?
- Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?
- Describe an experience when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
- Give us an example of a time when you had to get something accomplished by working with someone who was a bit difficult.
- How do you measure your own success?
- What aspects of your work earn respect from coworkers and your supervisor?
- What motivates you in a job?
- What type of people do you work with most effectively?
- Tell us about a work situation that irritated you and what you decided to do about it.
- How would you describe your management style?
- When was the last time your work was criticized? How did you deal with it?
- If you could change one work decision you made during the past two years, what would it be?
- As you review your past work history, what key lesson would you bring to a new job?
- Tell me about a time that your work was innovative.
- What work accomplishment is your greatest source of pride?
- Is there anything you’re aware of that would hinder you from performing optimally in this position?
Come to your job interview ready to ask questions. It can be helpful to pick a few of the questions below ahead of time and plan to ask them. However, you will need to be ready to improvise. If the employer covers one question you had planned to ask during the course of the interview, don’t ask that question or it may seem as though you were not listening.
In addition, it's better to ask questions that arise naturally from the flow of conversation rather than sticking to your script no matter what. Lastly, while it's good to ask a couple of questions, remember that you are there primarily to answer questions, not to ask them, so don't overload your interviewer with too many questions. Here are some questions you may wish to consider asking a potential employer:
- What are the primary duties of this position? (It's likely the employer will go over these with you in conducting the interview, but be ready to ask for clarification on anything you’re not sure of.)
- What are the most important skills or traits for someone in this position?
- What are the short- and long-term goals for this position?
- What are the greatest challenges of this position?
- Why are you looking to fill this position?
- What did you like most about the previous people who’ve held this position?
- What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- What is the standard schedule for this position?
- How would you describe your management style?
- What training, if any, would be given to me in this role?
- What are your goals or visions for the department/organization in the future?
- What accounts for success within the company, and how is performance measured?
- What are the prospects for advancement in this position?
- Is there anything else you want me to expand upon?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?