You need to develop positive answers to the most frequently asked interview questions. Perfect your answers with a mirror and tape recorder. Play back the tape and ask yourself:

  • Do I show confidence?
  • Do I sound dynamic?
  • Do I talk in a conversational, non-memorized style?
  • Do I speak without excessive fillers - “ah,” “like,” “you know”?
  • Do I seem believable? Likable?

Develop a strategy for your responses and the essence of the message you want to convey. Do not memorize responses. Be especially prepared to answer these three “killer” questions:

  • Tell me about yourself. (Always focus on your work-related accomplishments, not your personal history)
  • Why should we hire you? (Focus on your value/contributions)
  • What are your salary expectations? (Timing is everything, and be careful what you wish for!)

The most frequently asked questions include the following:

Personality and Motivation

  1. Why should we hire you?
  2. Are you a self-starter?
  3. What is your greatest strength? Weakness?
  4. What would you most like to improve about yourself?
  5. Describe your typical workday.
  6. How well do you work under deadlines?
  7. What will you bring to this position that others won't?
  8. How well do you get along with your superiors? Co-workers?
  9. Do you prefer working alone or with others?
  10. How do others view your work?
  11. How do you deal with criticism?
  12. Do you consider yourself to be someone who takes greater initiative than others? Can you give an example?
  13. Are you a good time manager?
  14. How important is job security?
  15. How do you define success?
  16. How do you spend your leisure time?
  17. What really motivates you to perform on the job?

    Education and Training

  18. Why didn't you go to college?
  19. Why didn't you finish college?
  20. Why did you major in ________?
  21. Why weren't your grades better in school?
  22. What subjects did you enjoy most? Least?
  23. If you did it again, what would you change about your education?
  24. What leadership positions did you hold in school?
  25. What materials do you read regularly to keep up in your field?
  26. What is the most recent skill you have learned?
  27. What are your educational goals over the next few years?

    Experience and Skills

  28. Why do you want to leave your present job or previous jobs?
  29. Why have you changed jobs so frequently?
  30. What are your qualifications for this job?
  31. What experiences prepared you for this job?
  32. What did you like most about your present/most recent job?
  33. What did you like least about that job?
  34. What did you like most about your boss? Least?
  35. Tell me which responsibilities you most enjoyed in your jobs.
  36. What duties did you find most difficult to perform?
  37. What do you want to leave your present job? Being forced out?
  38. Have you ever been fired or asked to resign?
  39. What's the most important contribution you made on your last job?
  40. What did you want to accomplish but were unable to?
  41. What's the most important thing you've learned from your jobs?

    Career Goals

  42. Tell me about yourself
  43. Describe your career goals.
  44. How do your career goals today differ from five years ago?
  45. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  46. Describe a major goal you set for yourself recently.
  47. What are you doing to achieve that goal?
  48. How long have you been looking for another job?

    Why You Want This Job

  49. Why do you want to work for us?
  50. What do you see as your major contributions to our company?
  51. What would you change about this position?
  52. How long would you expect to stay with our company?
  53. How do you feel about working overtime or on weekends?
  54. Are you willing to relocate?
  55. How much are you willing to travel?
  56. What are your salary expectations?
  57. How soon could you begin work?
  58. Do you have any questions?

For more information, see some of these books (all can be found and ordered on


SOURCE: Adapted from Ron Krannich, Ph.D., The Re-Entry Employment and Life Skills Pocket Guide (Manassas Park: Impact Publications), pages 38-40. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Copying strictly forbidden.