Potential Interview Questions

Potential Interview Questions

By Thad Peterson, Monster Staff Writer

While there are as many different possible interview questions as there are interviewers, it always helps to be ready for anything. We’ve prepared a list of 100 potential interview questions.
Will you face them all? We pray no interviewer would be that cruel.
Will you face a few? Probably.
Will you be well-served by being ready even if you’re not asked these exact questions? Absolutely.

Basic Interview Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  • What’s your ideal company?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • When were you most satisfied in your job?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
  • What were the responsibilities of your last position?
  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Behavioral Interview Questions:

  • What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome?
  • Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
  • Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
  • Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?
  • What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
  • What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it?
  • Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
  • What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
  • If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?
  • If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
  • What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
  • What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.

Salary Questions:

  • What salary are you seeking?
  • What’s your salary history?
  • If I were to give you this salary you requested but let you write your job description for the next year, what would it say?

Career Development Questions:

  • What are you looking for in terms of career development?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?

Getting Started Questions:

  • How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
  • How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
  • What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days of this job?
  • If selected for this position, can you describe your strategy for the first 90 days?

More About You:

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • What would be your ideal working environment?
  • What do you look for in terms of culture — structured or entrepreneurial?
  • Give examples of ideas you’ve had or implemented.
  • What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
  • If you had to choose one, would you consider yourself a big-picture person or a detail-oriented person?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement.
  • Who was your favorite manager and why?
  • What do you think of your previous boss?
  • Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?
  • What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What are your lifelong dreams?
  • What do you ultimately want to become?
  • What is your personal mission statement?
  • What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
  • What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
  • What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?
  • What are three positive character traits you don’t have?
  • If you were interviewing someone for this position, what traits would you look for?
  • List five words that describe your character.
  • Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What is your biggest regret and why?
  • What’s the most important thing you learned in school?
  • Why did you choose your major?
  • What will you miss about your present/last job?
  • What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader? A bad leader?
  • Do you think a leader should be feared or liked?
  • How do you feel about taking no for an answer?
  • How would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you?
  • How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
  • Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
  • Tell me the difference between good and exceptional.
  • What kind of car do you drive?
  • There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • What magazines do you subscribe to?
  • What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What is your favorite memory from childhood?


And here is yet another group of potential questions:

1.0.      What do you know about our organization?

2.0       What would you do for our organization in the first 90 days and beyond?

3.0       What do you look for in a job?

4.0       What has been your most difficult challenge that you overcame?

5.0        Do you consider yourself to be a good leader?  Provide an example.

6.0       Are you a strong manager?

7.0       Did you ever fire anyone?

7.1.      If so, what were the reasons and how did you handle it?

8.0       Why would you leave your present job?

9.0       Describe the ideal work environment for you.

10.0      Describe the ideal management style for you to work within?

11.0      What kind of boss are you?

12.0      What is your single greatest business success?

13.0      In your current or last position, what features did you like the most?  Least?

14.0      What do your subordinates think of you?

15.0      In your current or last position, what are or were your five most significant accomplishments?

16.0      What do you think of your boss?

17.0      Would you describe a few situations in which your work was challenged?

17.1.      How did you handle it?

18.0      If I spoke with your previous boss, what would he say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

18.1.      What would he/she tell me you still need to work on?

19.0      Can you quantify the value you have brought your current employer (revenue, cost savings)?

20.0      In your present position, what problems have you identified that have been previously overlooked?

21.0      How have you improved communication in your department?

22.0      Why do you want to work for us?

23.0      What was the last book you read?

23.1.     Movie you saw?

23.2.     Sporting event you attended?

24.0      Are you creative?

24.1.     Give examples.

25.0      Are you results oriented?

25.1.     Give examples.

26.0      What are your career goals?

27.0      What are you doing or have you done to achieve them?

28.0      How do you keep yourself current in your industry?

29.0      Have you ever been a mentor to someone?

29.1.     Describe the situation.

30.0      According to your definition of success, how successful have you been so far?

30.1.     Have you ever received critical feedback?

30.2.    What was it?

30.3.     How did you respond?

31.0       How would your subordinates describe your management style?

32.0      What was the best job you ever had?

33.0      What did you like the most?

34.0      Describe a recent situation that best illustrates your style in leading others to accomplish a task?

35.0      Have you had a subordinate who was not performing up to their potential?

35.1.     Describe the situation and how you handled it as well as the outcome.

36.0      Have you ever fired an employee?

36.1.     Describe the situation and the results.

37.0      Describe the last time you disagreed with one of your bosses or co-workers.

37.1.     What was the reason?

37.2.     How did you express your disagreement?

37.3.     What was the person’s reaction?

37.4.     What was the outcome?

38.0      Tell me about a recent time when you had to rely on the cooperation of your peers to get the job done.

38.1.     What was the task?

38.2.     How did you go about gaining their cooperation?

38.3.     What difficulties did you run into?

38.4.   How did you handle the difficulties?

38.5.     How did it turn out?

39.0      Despite our best intentions, we don’t always see eye-to-eye with people.

39.1.     Tell me about the co-worker you just don’t get along with.

39.2.     Why does this person irritate you?

39.3.     Tell about the time you got along best with this person.

40.0      Recall a time when you were really angry or frustrated at work.

40.1.     What was the situation and what did you do about it?

41.0      Recall a conflict between your personal/business life.

41.1.      What was the conflict? How did you resolve it?

42.0      Describe the most prominent mistake you made in your career and how it was handled.

42.1.     What were the results and what did you learn from it?

43.0      Describe a setback in your career and what you did about it.

43.1.     What was the end result?

44.0      Tell me about the last time you received critical feedback?

44.1.     What was it?

44.2.     Was there a pattern to it and how did you handle it?

44.3.     What were the results?

45.0      What was the most difficult ethical business decision you have had to make?

45.1.     What did you do and what were the end results?

46.0      Tell me about the most long-term, extra-hour effort you have undertaken in the last year.

46.1.     What was the project or assignment?

46.2.     What extra effort did you put in?

46.3.     Were you successful?

46.4.     Why or why not?

47.0      Tell me about a recent time when your work was very hectic.

47.1.     What did you do to keep it under control?

48.0      If you could start your career over, what would you do differently?

49.0      Which of your past jobs has been most demanding in terms of having to handle a variety of tasks at once?

49.1.     What competing demands did you have to deal with?

49.2.     How did you decide what to do first?

49.3.     How did it turn out?

50.0     Tell me about the most perplexing problem you faced over the last two years?

50.1.     How did it arise?

50.2.     How did you analyze it?

50.3.     What alternatives did you consider and what solutions did you try?

50.4.     How did you implement the solutions and what was the result?

51.0.     Tell me about the last time you made a decision when the procedures or instructions were unclear, ambiguous, or contradictory.

51.1.      How did you decide what to do?

51.2.     What alternatives did you consider and how did the decision work out?

52.0      What was the toughest decision you had to make in the last six months?

52.1.     What made it so tough?

52.2.     What factors did you consider to reach your decision?

52.3.     How would you handle this type of decision in the future?

53.0      What keeps you awake at night?