Sample Interview Questions

There are questions that employers commonly ask at job interviews and it's important to be prepared to respond. Here are some of the most frequently asked interview questions plus some extra help for answering the specific question, “Tell me about yourself”.

Sample Questions

Use the information under Behavioral Interviewing to prepare your answers to these sample questions.

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that challenged your coping skills.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa.)
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  • Give me an example of when you motivated others.
  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
  • Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
  • Describe a situation in which you had to deal with people who were upset about a problem.

Tell Me About Yourself: Constructing the Two Minute Drill

It is very possible that you will be asked to say something about yourself. You want to give a thoughtful response that is not too long. Here is a suggested approach to responding to this request.

  1. Start with the present. Briefly describe your current role in plain English.

    Example:

    I'm an accountant with the Government Accountability Office here in Washington. I work with a team of six accountants in the agency's Financial Investigation section. Right now, I am working on the audit of an agency that has an annual budget of more than $10 billion.
  2. Then summarize your past experience.

    Example:

    Before coming to the GAO, I worked at the General Services Administration for five years and with Price-Waterhouse for three years. I spent much of my time helping both organizations to automate their accounting systems. I also trained staff teams to use customized accounting software. I got my CPA in '96 and am looking at area MBA programs.
  3. Share some future possibilities. Mention your plans for the future and consider including what you hope to gain from this particular conversation.

    Example:

    Because of my experience in both the private and federal sectors, I have gained a broad exposure to large accounting operations. I'd like an opportunity to integrate what I've learned from both environments and advise organizations on new technologies and best practices. You mentioned ABC Consulting Firm's new division a few minutes ago. Can you tell me more about it?

As a summary, you should not assume that the evaluators are familiar with your education and work history. Therefore, you should use the interview as an opportunity to communicate your experience and any other information that relates to the position.