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Interview Questions

  1. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem.
  2. Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
  3. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures (whether alone or as part of a team).

  1. Tell me about two good decisions you’ve made and two poor decisions and your reasons for them. Why were they good or bad? What were your alternatives?
  2. What do you do when you are forced to make decision without enough information and/or time to fully evaluate the situation?
  3. Give me an example of a difficult decision you had to make, and the process you used to make it.
  4. Can you describe how you go about solving problems? Please give us some examples.
  5. Do you prefer to take your time to think things through or do you usually make up your mind quickly?
  6. Give examples of the kinds of decisions you make quickly and ones you take more time on.
  7. On the basis of the information you have received so far, what do you see as the major challenges of this position and how would you meet them?
  8. What is the biggest conflict you have ever been involved in at work? How did you handle that situation?
  9. Think about an instance when you were given an assignment that you thought you would not be able to complete. How did you accomplish the assignment?
  10. Have you ever had a great idea but been told that you could not implement it? How did you react? What did you do?
  11. Describe a situation in which you did “all the right things” and were still unsuccessful. What did you learn from the experience?
  12. What was the level of your decision-making authority in past positions?
  13. Give an example of a decision you made that turned out better than you believed possible.
  14. Describe a time when you made a decision in the absence of a clear policy regarding the issue.
  15. Describe a time when you were under pressure to make an immediate decision. Did you take action immediately or were you more deliberate?
  16. At times it is important to be hard headed about decisions you make, particularly when others don‘t like it. Give me an example of a time when you stuck by a decision even though it was under attack by others.
  17. Describe a situation in which you had to draw a conclusion quickly and take speedy action.

  1. Describe the most difficult interpersonal challenge you have faced and what you did about it.
  2. What have you been criticized for that you’ve heard from more than one source?
  3. When was a request for support you felt was important denied by a superior? Why was it denied? How did you deal with it?
  4. What has been the biggest failure or frustration in your business life?
  5. Tell me about what you have done to establish positive relationships with your co-workers. Your supervisor? Your customers?
  6. How do you deal with people who talk but don’t listen?
  7. How much independence do you have in your current job? How would your supervisor answer the same question?
  8. How much or how little supervision do you feel is optimal?
  9. Describe for me your best boss. What made him or her your favorite?
  10. Which boss was your worst? Why?
  11. What do you think your boss will say when you resign?
  12. How could your boss have done a better job?
  13. What are some of the things you didn’t agree with your boss about?
  14. Describe the relationship that should exist between supervisor and subordinate.
  15. What kind of boss do you like to work for?
  16. What constructive criticism would you offer for the way the company was run?
  17. Give an example of a potentially volatile situation or individual that you successfully calmed down and how you went about it.
  18. What did you do in your last job to contribute toward a teamwork environment? Be specific.
  19. What kind of people do you like? What kind of people do you dislike?
  20. Describe a time when you were successful in dealing with a colleague because you built a trusting relationship.
  21. Tell me about a time when you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you or vice versa.
  22. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver information or news to a colleague which you knew they were not going to be happy to hear. Please be specific on how you delivered this information.

  1. Give me an example of projects for which you have volunteered. Why did you volunteer?
  2. What volunteer or social activities have helped you develop professional skills?
  3. What professional associates do you belong to and how involved in them are you?
  4. Discuss the committees on which you have served and the impact of these committees on the organization where you currently work.
  5. Can you share with us your ideas about professional development?
  6. Describe some basic steps that you would take in implementing a new program?
  7. How do you keep up with technological changes in your field?
  8. Tell us how you would use technology in your day-to-day job.
  9. Tell us how you would learn your new job in the absence of a formal training program.
  10. What new programs or services would you start if offered the position?
  11. How do you demonstrate initiative in your job?
  12. If you were hired for this job, in what areas could you contribute immediately, and in what areas would you need additional training?
  13. What changes and developments do you anticipate in your particular field that might be relevant to this position?
  14. What techniques do you use to assess and execute your plans and objectives?
  15. What were your objectives for last year?  To what degree were they achieved?  If not fully achieved, why?
  16. How do you communicate your goals and objectives to your co-workers?  Management?  Your team?
  17. Describe your experience setting departmental goals and objectives.
  18. What are some of the best ideas you’ve ever “sold” to your manager?  To your customer?
  19. What do you do when you encounter resistance to your ideas?
  20. What have you done in the last year with your own time and money that would make you more valuable to our institution?
  21. What have you done that’s demonstrated a high level of initiative?
  22. What was your greatest accomplishment in your last job and what made it successful?
  23. Tell me about some projects you generated on your own.  What prompted you to begin them?
  24. What is the most effective method for setting priorities, in your opinion?
  25. What have you changed about yourself as a result of criticism?

  1. Do you have any concerns that would make you have reservations about accepting this position if it is offered to you?
  2. Do you have any additional information that you would like to share?
  3. Do you have any questions for us?
  4. What hours (or days) are you available to work, or unavailable?
  5. How do you feel about travel (or relocating) ( if applicable)? 
  6. Are you able to work overtime?

  1. Tell us how you go about organizing your work. Also, describe any experience you have had with computers or other tools as they relate to organization.
  2. What steps do you take to make sure your priority projects are accomplished?
  3. What experiences or skills will help you manage projects?

  1. Tell me about your work history.
  2. What kind of work did you do?
  3. How did you like your prior job? What did you particularly like about it? What did you dislike about it?
  4. What were your wages at your prior job?
  5. Tell us a little more about your professional experiences, particularly those not mentioned on your resume.
  6. How frequently were increases given; what were they based upon -- merit, productivity or something else?
  7. Were you ever promoted in prior jobs?
  8. What benefits did you have at your prior company?
  9. What kind of supervisor do you like to work for?
  10. Describe the best boss and the worse boss you have ever had.
  11. How were employee problems and complaints solved at your prior jobs? Did you think it was a good procedure?
  12. What are some dissatisfying job experiences you’ve had? What are some satisfying job experiences you’ve had?
  13. Why did you leave your prior job(s)? (get full explanation)
  14. What kind of references would you receive from your former employers?
  15. What criticism was made of your work? To what do you attribute the criticism?

  1. What prompted your decision to apply for this job?
  2. Why are you interested in leaving your current assignment and why do you feel that this assignment would be better for you?
  3. Why should we hire you? What makes you a better choice over all our other applicants?
  4. What in your background particularly qualifies you to do this job?
  5. Do you feel this position is a promotion, a lateral move, a broadening of your professional experience, or just a change? Why do you think so?
  6. What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
  7. What was the most creative thing you did in your last job? How did it happen?
  8. What do you consider to be your chief accomplishment in your present (previous) job(s)?
  9. What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

  1. What do you see as the most challenging management task?
  2. Give an example of how you handled a situation where your guidelines were not being followed.
  3. What criteria do you use for delegating assignments?
  4. Tell me about a specific experience where you have delegated authority and/or responsibility and how it worked out.
  5. What are the characteristics that you prize most in an employee? What behaviors or characteristics do you find intolerable?
  6. Give me an example of when you went the “extra mile” to cooperate with a difficult employee or situation.
  7. What procedure do you use to determine the major strengths and weaknesses of employees?
  8. How do you think an effective supervisor should communicate with his/her employees? What do you think are the requirements to communicate well with one’s employees?
  9. What would you do if an employee was having personal problems that affected job performance?
  10. What is your basic leadership style and how do you practice it?
  11. What was the greatest accomplishment that displayed your quality of leadership?

  1. What training/education other than high school or college have you had that has assisted you in your career?
  2. Why did you choose the particular college you attended?
  3. What determined your choice of major?
  4. How do you think college contributed to your overall development?
  5. What are the three college courses that best prepared you for your current job?
  6. In what professional development activities have you been involved over the past few years?
  7. What new skills have you learned over the past year?
  8. How would you characterize your level of computer literacy? What are some of the programs and applications with which you are familiar?
  9. What special training do you have that is relevant to this position?
  10. What licenses or certifications do you have that are relevant to this position?
  11. What professional affiliations do you have that are relevant to this position?

  1. Describe your ideal job.
  2. Tell us about your preferred work environment.
  3. How would you describe your attendance and punctuality?
  4. How many times were you tardy for work in the last year you worked?
  5. What do you consider to be good attendance?
  6. What do you consider a legitimate reason for missing work? 
  7. Do you know of any reason why you would not be able to get to work on time on a regular basis?
  8. What is most important to you in a job?
  9. Do you prefer a pre-established work plan (you provide input) or do you prefer a range of broad goals from which to select?
  10. Please share with us your philosophy about customer service in an academic environment. 
  11. Tell me about a time when you personally, through extra effort on your own, ensured that a customer’s needs were satisfied.
  12. How do you feel about diversity in the workplace? Give us some examples of your efforts to promote diversity. 

1. Why should I hire you over other candidates?
2. What motivates you about your career?

1.Give an example of a time in which you found it necessary to dedicate long hours to a job.
2.How do you keep yourself motivated when working alone?
3.Tell me about a time when you had to work hard to reach a particular goal. Be specific about what you achieved.
4.Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to communicate under difficult circumstances.
  2. Tell me about a time when you used your communication skills to influence someone‘s opinion.
  3. Careful listening and effective communication go hand in hand. Tell me about a time when your ability to listen helped you to communicate better.
  4. What types of experiences have you had in delivering oral presentations?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an upset or angry client.
  6. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

Some of this content is adapted from:
Lee, Christopher D. Search Committees: A Tool Kit for Human Resource Professionals, Administrators, and Committee Members, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, 2000.

UI Human Resources

Human Resources

Physical Address:
415 West 6th Street
Moscow, ID 83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4332
Moscow, ID 83844-4332

Phone: (208) 885-3609

Fax: (208) 885-3602