What are commonly asked questions?

If you think through and practice interview questions ahead of time, you will be more poised, confident and prepared. Here's a list of common interview questions broken out by theme. At the bottom, you'll find a list of possible questions for you to ask an employer. 


Personal assessment and career direction

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your long- and short-range goals? How have you prepared to achieve them?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would someone who knows you describe you?
  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in this field / position / organization?
  • In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  • Describe how you work under pressure.
  • How would you describe your ideal job?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What are some examples of your creativity?

Work attitudes

  • How do you define success?
  • What qualities should a successful manager possess?
  • Describe the relationship that ideally exists between a supervisor and supervisee.
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?

Academic assessment

  • How has your college experience prepared you for a career?
  • Describe your most rewarding college experience.
  • What changes would you make in your college or university? Why?
  • Do you have plans for continued study? An advanced degree?

Knowledge of the employer

  • What do you know about this organization? Where did you find this information?
  • What contributions do you think you could make to this organization?
  • If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Why did you decide to seek a position with this organization?

Other interests and experiences

  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
  • What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?

Situational or behavioral questions

  • Describe the most difficult interpersonal situation you’ve had with a professor, supervisor, supervisee or colleague. How did you handle it?
  • If your supervisor were setting impossible deadlines, what would you do?
  • How would you handle a situation where your direct supervisor asked you to do something that was not consistent with your professional judgment?

Sensitive issues

  • How did you get along with your last supervisor?
  • You seem overqualified for this position. Can you explain why you applied?
  • What is the hardest job you have ever performed?
  • How much do you think this position pays?
  • Tell me your position on drug testing.



  • What qualifications do you expect the successful candidate to have?
  • What are the main issues that need immediate attention?
  • What resources are available to solve these issues?
  • Do you support professional development? How?
  • What are the established guidelines and procedures for making decisions in this position?
  • What are the reporting relationships of this position?
  • What are the short-term and long-term goals of the department and how are they set?
  • How would successful performance be measured in this position?
  • How often is performance reviewed in this position?
  • What is culture of this organization? 
  • Describe the interdepartmental relationships.
  • What has the turnover rate of the department been?
  • What happens next?
The University of Vermont Career Center Division of Student Affairs


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