Common Interview Questions

Regardless of the position, you can typically expect employers to ask certain questions in an interview. Below is a list of common interview questions and a bit of information about what the employer is looking for in a response. Practice how you would respond to each if asked.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. This question is really asking, “Tell us about yourself in relation to this position.” Briefly touch on your education, experience, and interest in the position.
  2. Why are you interested in this position? This question serves as a chance to demonstrate the research you have done on the position and organization. They want to hear why them and why this vs. some other organization or opportunity.
  3. Why did you select your major/how has your major prepared you for this role? This is your chance to demonstrate a solid understanding of your major and foundational skills you have learned through your education. This can help exhibit your ability to translate your classroom learning into real-world experiences.
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Focus on strengths as they relate to this role and give examples where you have demonstrated your strengths. In talking about your weaknesses, do not focus on anything that would negatively affect your ability to do this particular job. Also, be sure to explain how you have identified ways to work on those weaknesses and give examples of how you have improved in that area.
  5. Give me an example of a time when… Any question beginning with this phrase is asking for a specific example of a time when you have encountered this – answer by addressing the following things: what was the situation, tasks that needed to be done, what action(s) did you take, and what was the result? The thought process is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Below are a couple of examples:
    1. Tell me about a time when you had to use your analytical skills to solve a problem.
    2. Give me an example of a time when you have demonstrated leadership.
    3. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with a co-worker. What happened? How did you resolve the issue?
  6. Tell us about one of your greatest accomplishments. This opportunity to highlight a significant project or task might prove you have the skills needed to be successful in this role. Be specific about what you achieved and how.
  7. Why do/did you want to leave your current/last job? The employer is looking for reasons that show a desire to grow or for someone just out of college to get a sense of their career goals.
  8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? This is in reference to your professional/career goals. Employers often want to hear that you see a future with their organization.
  9. What do/did you like best about your current/last job? This gives the employer an idea of the types of job duties you enjoy doing.
  10. What has been the most interesting job or project you have had in your working career so far? They are likely more interested in the reasons than the answer, which may give the employer an idea of what you want from a job.
  11. How would your former co-workers describe you? This gives the employer an idea of how you like others to perceive you.
  12. What is your ideal supervisory style? This gives the employer an idea of the type of supervisor you work well with.
  13. Why should we hire you? Similar to the ‘strengths’ question – focus on the unique skills and experiences you bring to the table that set you apart from other candidates. What can you do for them that other candidates cannot do?
  14. Do you have questions for us? You should! This demonstrates a sincere interest in learning more about the position and organization and shows us that you prepared for the interview.


School of Human Ecology Undergraduate Career Guide Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Human Ecology Advising & Career Center. All Rights Reserved.

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