Interview Tips Master Collection-Various Articles


By: Jorg Stegemann 

In 99% of any given application process, the online contact will be step 1 – may it be via email, social media or as a response to a job ad.

What are the absolute MUST criteria of an online application that will get you the first interview?

When I did my research o this topic, all posts say more or less the same. I have a slightly different point of view and structured my posting in “The Art and The Science”. Guess what: the new stuff is rather in “The Art” than in “The Science”…

The Science:

Email address: make it professional and traditional. I think there are few alternatives to “”. You know that you should not use “” and neither your professional email address. Also, do not change the orthography of your name: this week I met a candidate who is called “Francois” yet his email address reads “Fancois”. Of course 8 out of 10 people will get it wrong…

Mastering Outlook: The cover letter should be in the email body and not in a Word attachment. I also see over and over again people who put a date and address line on top of the email address which would be the correct place in a letter (in an email, the end is the right place for it). If you are nor sure on how to write an email, google it.

Size: Don’t send emails that are bigger than 3 MB.

Typos are not acceptalbe and there is no exuse for them. Alwais dubble check.

The Art:

Make it short: The cover letter should be short and concise. If your text is longer than one screen shot, it is too long. I read many many many applications and resumes per day and take less than 1 minute for each. Another unbelievable story: one of my fellow recruiters who has been working in this industry for years recently gave an interview in an important French newspaper and said “The cover letter is of utmost importance”. I asked him if he really thinks so and he answered “No, of course not. I don’t read it most of the times” (key learning: don’t believe everything that is written – unless it is on of course…).
Make it general: Beware of personalized phrases such as “to work for you, Mr. Stegemann, would be…”, “a role at Kennedy Executive Search & Outplacement means to me” or “I have been passionate about working in the morgue industry since I was a kid”. They do not really sound so personalized and 1 out of 10 applications like this I get, give wrong names or industries…

Make it specific: I once read that a good subject line should be a summary of the email. And I agree. Do not use “Stegemann CV” or “As discussed” but at least “Application for the job posting as XYZ, reference 123″. The best would be to outline your Unique Selling Points like “Sales Manager, 10 years international experience in B2B, fluent in English and Hungarian”, may it be for a specific job or not. Preparing your elevator pitch can help you to put into one sentence what makes you special.

Make it interactive: we talked about the signature under “The Science”. Why not add links to your LinkedIn and (if you have)Twitter account? We are not there yet but I guess one day we will not send resumes anymore and have all online. YourLinkedIn profile is most likely a shortened version of your resume which shows how you sell yourself and how you manage priorities. If you use Twitter on the job, this is a showcase on your communication skills and priority management.


I think the science part is not where you should prove creativity and the points I mentioned are in my opinion non-negotiable. Be, however, different in the second part and we will be curious to get to know you.


Ace your Interview!

There are very few people who can just mosey into an interview cold and just nail it. No matter how good you are, as a working professional, you should value your time investment and prepare yourself to do well. Preparation is the difference between a successful meeting and being rejected. Let’s face it, no one likes being rejected. As a professional recruiter in one of the most competitive industries (Silicon Valley High Tech) in the world, I witness talented people fail interviews on a daily basis because they simply try to wing-it. The good news is that you can properly prepare for an interview in less than an hour. Research, review and resilience


With all the tools available today, it is easy to research the company and more importantly, the people you will be meeting. Be proactive; ask your recruiter to provide the names of the people you will be meeting. Take the initiative to find out everything you can about these people, between Google and Linkedin you will find a plethora of information. Information like where they worked, attended college, interests and what they have accomplished will give you invaluable insight. (Google the people you are meeting, and look them up on LinkedIn. Take the time to ingest, where they worked, attended college and what they accomplished.) Dig deep and read their recommendations, check out their interests, read their blogs. Finding a commonality or some sort of personal connection with the people you meet, is far too often dismissed.


Be prepared to be pushed out of your comfort zone and don’t let it frazzle you. A lot of interviewers like to test potential candidates to see how they work under pressure. A lot of times this comes in the form of an adversarial or challenging interviewer. Don’t let this guy throw you off your mission or turn you off. Be resilient and focus on your mission to succeed.


Market your accomplishments! Demonstrate how you can add value to the company. Let me repeat, demonstrate the value you bring to the table. Review your performance and share what you have achieved. Too many talented people just fail to bring their accomplishments to light during an interview. It is so important to be able to detail a significant achievement.


Too often, I hear people phrase their accomplishments in terms of 3 years of this or 10 years of that. This is not an accomplishment. An accomplishment is something measurable that either increased revenue or saved the company time/money. Just because you have been working with a certain skill for ten years does not make you good. What makes you good is the depth of your knowledge and how you translated it to something measurable.


Remember, it is your responsibility to make the person want to hire you. The process is a lot more fulfilling when you are the person making the final decision, The offer you accept should be the one you want, not the one that is left over.


Taken from Linkedin written by Ellyn Enisman taken from her book Job Interview Skills 101

 60 Interview Questions:

1.  Tell me about a time when you were a member of a great team. What role did you play in making the team           great?
2.  Tell me about a time when you were given a task to accomplish without any direction.
3.  Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you did not get along with.
4.  Tell me about a time when you felt that a decision was unfair. How did you handle it?
5.  Tell me about a time when someone asked you for assistance outside the parameters of your job. What did           you do?
6.  Tell me about a time you had to multitask.
7.  Tell me about a time when you were creative in solving a problem.
8.   Tell me about a time when you were the leader of a team and the team disagreed with your decision. How             did you handle it?
9.   Tell me about a time when you were a team leader and had to mediate with members who disagreed with              each other.
10. Tell me about a project that did not go well.
11. Tell me about a time that you worked hard to accomplish something but didn’t.
12. Tell me about a time when you suggested a better way to do something.
13. Tell me about a time when you had to handle conflict within your group.
14. You are a team member and you disagree with an important decision that you believe will have a negative            impact on the project. How will you proceed?
15. Tell me about a time when someone told you that you had made an error. Describe how you would react                and what you would say in your defense.
16. You are a new employee at our firm and I have asked you to speak to a group of 10 employees. What would          you talk about and what would you say?
17. You are part of a team working on a project with a one-week deadline. The team leader does not seem to             be on top of things and you are worried about reaching the deadline. What do you do?
18. How do you handle a crisis? Describe one that you handled well.
19. Describe one that you didn’t handle well and what you would have done differently.
20. It’s five o’clock on Friday and your supervisor gives you an assignment that needs to be finished by 8:00 am         Monday morning. You have plans to be away for the weekend. What do you do?
21. Describe a situation that was a great learning experience.
22. Describe a challenge you faced in school and how you handled it.
23. Describe an experience that you felt was rewarding.
24. Describe a situation where you were mentored.
25. Describe a situation where you were given feedback on your performance that wasn’t what you had hoped         for.
26. Describe a situation where you resolved a problem.
27. What would your last boss/manager say about you?
28. How would your co-workers describe you?
29. What do you think is the best part of working in teams?
30. What do you think is the worst part of working in a team?
31. How do you define “work ethic”? How would you describe yours?
32. How do you make decisions?
33. What type of people do you like to work with?
34. What motivates you?
35. Give me 10 adjectives to describe yourself.
36. How do you like to be managed?
37. Tell me about your best manager. Why do you consider them the “best”?
38. Tell me about your worst manager. Why do you consider them the “worst”?
39. What book are you reading now?
40. What books have you read about leadership?
41. Describe your ideal job.
42. What was the most creative thing you have ever done?
43. What are you most proud of?
44. How do you handle stress at work?
45. What would you liked to have done more of in your last internship?
46. What would you like to have done less of in your last internship?
47. Why did you choose your last job/internship?
48. Why did you choose your school?
49. If you could have done anything different during your college career, what would it have been?
50. What are your short- and long-term career goals?
51. In what areas would you like to develop further?
52. What skills did it take to succeed in your internships?
53. What do you know about our company?
54. What makes you the best candidate?
55. Why should we hire you?
56. What made you apply for this job?
57. Where else are you interviewing?
58. How would you describe client satisfaction?
59. What do you think is most important in great customer service?
60. What will you do if you don’t get this job? 

Question: Tell me About Yourself

Abby Ludens, a recruiter with Mattress Firm, always starts with this: "Tell me about yourself, and by that I mean tell me about your background, your experience and highlight anything you'd like to share and we'll go from there."

This is the most common interview question, and it's the one where so many people get tongue-tied. This isn't your life story, nor should it be too personal. Your answer should reflect your professional side and it should directly tie into the position you're seeking. Sell yourself for his particular job by highlighting that you have the skills the role requires.

Let's say it's a retail sales position. Your response may be, "I’ve spent the last six years in retail sales. Before that I worked in call center customer service, and I found that what I liked most -- and where I really excelled -- was in working face to face with customers. I'm an exceptional communicator, I connect well with the people I'm serving, and I'm very goal-oriented so I thrive on meeting and, many times exceeding, sales targets. In fact, in my last position, I was the top sales person at my location for 10 out of 12 months." And then, if possible, end on a smart question: "I'm curious how sales excellence is measured here?"

Another common question along these lines: What's your greatest weakness?

Always avoid generic stuff like, "I work too hard. I care too much." That won't go over well. Focus on a genuine weakness, but one that won't prevent you from getting this job. For example, "I haven't had a lot of experience with public speaking before large groups, so I don't feel my best when giving big presentations. It's a skill that I'd like to build on so I've enrolled in a course or I'm hoping I'll have a chance to build this skill here." 


Another example: "I've had trouble in the past with managing e-mail -- instead of allowing it to manage me and monopolize my time. It's so easy to get distracted by the pressure to respond instantly when e-mails pop into your inbox, but I'm learning that the best time management rules dictate that it's best to check and respond to e-mail at designated times instead of every minute of the day. That's helped me to be far more productive than ever before, and it's a work in progress that I'm constantly aware of."

 Maybe there's a technical skill you need improvement with. Just be sure to show how you're working on this objective.

Question: What do you know about us?

Jim Thomason, vice president of human resources for Nashville-based Thomas Nelson, a publishing company, usually asks candidates what they know about this company.

This question gets at whether you really want to work here -- or if you're looking for any job with any employer. Do you know the bare bones or can you demonstrate a depth of knowledge? Too often candidates don't do the research, or they assume the interviewer shares whatever they need to know about the organization. Wrong.

The best answer will allow you to show off your research -- it'll be clear that you've done your homework because you know the company, its history, the trends impacting the industry in which it operates, and its top competitors. This shows you're very interested in this employer, not just any company.

Question: What is your five-year plan?

Another common one that so many people dread: Where you do see yourself in five years? Wrong answers: In your job, on the beach, anywhere but here -- even if that's how you really feel. Or you feel like saying none of us can predict tomorrow; how can we possibly know what's five years ahead of us. Not good either.

The answer should reflect growth with that company. "I'd like to become the best sales person in the company and help train other sales leaders. I'd like to be the best science teacher in this school system to enable our classrooms to be used as a model of excellence."

If it's a small company, you may try: "I'd very much like to help build this company's bottom line so I'm able to take advantage of the great opportunities that a growing company has to offer."

Question: How do you handle high-pressure moments?

At accounting giant Ernst & Young, Larry Nash, national recruiting director, is fond of asking, "Tell me about the most high-pressure situation you've dealt with in the past six months." These days many examples may come to mind.

We all face challenges on the job and in life, but we don't all handle them the same way. Questions like this one are looking for specific anecdotes and situations, not hypotheticals. What you did in the past, not what you might do in the future.

If you've been at work, your answer may reflect a tight deadline you had to meet -- one that was perhaps sprung on you with little notice. Or maybe you've witnessed layoffs and you've had to absorb twice as much work with half the staff.

If the question specifies six months and you've been out of work during that time, then your answer will reflect a personal challenge. Did you have to make a big decision about the medical care of a family member? How did you go about weighing the options before making a decision? Have you faced a financial challenge?

Without divulging information that's too personal -- and may reflect poorly on your candidacy -- think about how to best answer. Recently a jobseeker told me that her most intense moment came at Christmas time.

Since both she and her husband have been out of work, they didn't want to splurge on their annual holiday vacation, yet they also wanted to shield their kids from any kind of financial burden. They weighed the options and realized financial responsibility takes precedent--and they wound up planning an exciting holiday at home. Everyone was happy.

That shows she made a logical decision, not one rooted in emotions of guilt -- and not one where she threw caution to the wind. And she was careful to weigh the feelings and opinions of everyone involved, not just herself. Furthermore, she's not crying woe is me, which is important. She's showing that she's a real problem solver.

No matter what your response, interviewers are looking for how you handle change, how adaptable you are, your thought process, and your decision making skills, especially since you'll be faced with the need to make regular decisions on the job.

Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the Workplace Contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America." Ask her your interview questions at


The Silent Treatment:

You're at a meeting or job interview. You've just answered a difficult question or made an important point and are met with an unmovable silence. You wait, growing a bit uneasy, but the room remains deafeningly still.
What would you do? According to executive coach Mary Kay Scarafile, most candidates rush in to fill the void by talking a blue streak. "Most people are so intimidated by the silence that they slip into the role of someone who has goofed and is trying to recover. They'll do anything to end the silence, so they begin to qualify and expand on their previous answer hoping to hit on something that will fix the problem.

"This most often results in candidates offering more information than they need to - information that is irrelevant, even damaging, to them and their cause."

A senior advertising copywriter says her panic over an interviewer's silence cost her her dream job.
"When asked whether I'd still work if I won a $10 million lottery, I said that if I worked for this agency, yes, because I would be doing what I loved. It was an honest answer and I thought a good one, but the creative director just stared at me suspiciously."

"After a while I got so nervous, I began conceding that there were a number of changes I would make if I won the money... It was all downhill from there."

Whenever you are confronted with silence, the best strategy is to refuse to be intimidated by it. Remember, some people use silence as a test to see how you respond under stress. And if you actually did goof, remaining calm will do more to defuse the situation than a stream of chatter.

Scarafile recommends that if you ever encounter the silent treatment, you should keep quiet yourself for a while and then ask very sincerely: "Is there anything else I can add to fill in on that point"
This puts the responsibility back on the interviewer, and if you have said something that is troubling him or her, will give you a better idea of how to recoup.

Knowing what to say is important. Knowing when to stop is vital. To keep from talking yourself out of a job remember these Do's and Don'ts.

Do your homework beforehand. Anticipate questions that are likely to be asked and prepare brief (two minutes or less) compelling answers to each.

Don't spend time talking about dates, chronology or other information readily available on your resume unless asked to do so.

Do pause briefly before answering a difficult question to gather your thoughts. It not only helps you organize what you want to say, but will make you appear more sincere.

Do pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues from the others in the room to gauge their reaction and adjust your responses accordingly.

Do bring along a portfolio of successful projects (if applicable to your line of work) so that the interviewer can see and get a feel for the breadth of what you can do and ask about the projects which interest him or her.

Become comfortable with silence. Remember, eloquence is saying the proper thing... And then stopping!


Closing Interview Questions Taken From Linkedin Discussions


What are the key characteristics of people who are most successful in this postion?

Be aware, be engaging, be open - be real. An interviewee such as this will be a stronger interviewer than those who simply go in to be interviewed or go in with something to prove. It's a two-way street regardless of how hungry you are and a smart recruiter knows this. Hiring managers tend to struggle with this as many don't interview often enough to be a pro. Even executives can struggle with conducting an interview but if you will be open, be conversational, build rapport and draw the interviewer in, you'll be surprised at how much information is shared...shared both ways. Never be manipulative, always be forthright and sincere. Preplanned questions are good but allow for a natural flow of questions that come from having a good conversation. Prepare for the interview both by knowing as much about the company and the position as possible, read about the person you’re meeting (yes, look them up), and believe with quiet strength and confidence you are the right person for the job. Then go in and have a conversation. A good conversation means both people ask questions and both individuals feel free to ask probing and inquiring questions. Even the “do I fit this role” or “when do I start” questions.


Where do I rank among the candidates you have interviewed thus far?

How does my background compare to your most successsful performers?

On a scale of 1-10, how confident do you feel that I have what it takes to perform this position?

When making a decision on the right person for this position, what will be your deciding factor(s)?

How did you get where you are right now? How could I do something similar in our current landscape/environment? (you will find that suddenly the 30 seconds you thought you had turns into 30 minutes, and since they are talking about themselves, they will remember that warm fuzzy feeling in conjunction to you and your candidacy.

When can I start? (never underestimate your wanting the job as attractive... go getters GET, and since they will probably like this question you should go for these other questions listed above. Leave if they dont want to talk more.)

What would my first 90 days be like?


What will it take for me to be successful in this role?


How can I best support you or the boss to achieve results?


I want to be a part of this team, how can I add the most value?


Assuming I am the successful candidate and it is a year from today and I have done an outstanding job, what will you say I have done to achieve that outstanding review?
Determine if they know what success is, and if they have thought about the specific things that will have to be done by the new hire to be successful. Use this information as a way to highlight achievements in my background that mirror their needs


Do I have the qualifications you are looking for? Shut-up and let the hiring authority respond. At this point if the hiring authority has any concerns he will bring them up and the candidate can address those concerns. After that, the candidate should ask what the next steps are in the interviewing process and if there is anything that would prevent him/her from moving forward.


What are the growth & career development options with this profile in the company?



Preparation for the Phone interview must begin well before the time for the call. In order for you to have a better interview, we have put together this list of pointers for preparation.

-1- If at all possible, arrange for the call to take place on a land line. Some of the TV ads about mixed and dropped messages from cell phones DO hold a modicum of truth. You want to convey an image of solidity which is not always possible with a cell phone going in and out.

-2- Arrange to be in a private location at the time of the call. If at all possible, be in your office behind closed doors with the message to not be disturbed unless there is a fire!

-3- Place photos of your family, loved ones, significant others on the desk so that you have an incentive for doing well in front of you!

-4- Review your resume and have it on the desk in front of you. Don’t assume you know what is on it; it has probably been a while since you wrote it. Don’t be blindsided by a question about a resume statement that you don’t remember.

-5- If a position description was made available, review this description and have a hard copy of it on your desk for reference during the interview.

-6- Visit the website of the potential employer immediately before the call.

-7- Go into the office at least a full five minutes before the expected call, close the door and relax! Take some deep breaths! And spit out that chewing gum!

-8- At the time of your application for this position, sit down and write why you feel you are the best person for this position. Now that you are ready for the first step in the process, review this statement and put final touches on it for use today.

The Telephone Interview

-1- As you wait for the call to come in, continue deep breathing exercises.

-2- When you answer the phone, answer with a smile on your face and it will be reflected in your voice.

-3- Be upbeat, positive and confident throughout the interview.

-4- Remember that the goal of this interview is to move forward to a personal interview. Keep this goal in your mind throughout the chat.

-5- Look at the memorabilia/photo reminders you have surrounded yourself with for support during the interview.

-6- Anticipate preliminary questions.

-7- Take a moment to think before you answer so you can collect your thoughts and organize your answer.

-8- Answer questions and then STOP. Stick to the point, don’t ramble. Remain FOCUSED!

-9- Do not feel compelled to fill in silences with any kind of prattle. Just patiently wait for the interviewer to move forward. The silence may be their taking their notes.

-10- Take notes.

Your Questions:

-1- What attributes are you looking for in the person you hire?

Then address your personal attributes as they relate to those sought. Do not over do it-be succinct, to the point, focused.

-2- Is this a new or replacement position? Based on the answer, query more.

-3- If you had any major questions or concerns about items in the position description, depending on the interview, you might want to address them now. 

-4- What is your time frame for filling this position? 

Close with a previously prepared statement about why you are the right person for the position, why you are a good fit for the corporate culture, and that you hope they will seriously consider your application. State that you can be available within a (number) days notice to travel for an in person interview and that you hope to be meeting them in person in the near future. 

Do NOT talk about:

You current employer or immediate past employer or supervisor(s) in a negative manner- don’t “diss” them. This will lose the job for you before you even start the interview!

Salary or salary expectations, benefits, relocation, etc. This is not the forum nor the time for these topics. It will also make you come across as a person solely after the money, the “highest bidder” rather than a professional choice that is the best fit for you and your career.


It can take four to 14 months to find the right job... and fewer than 90 days to lose it. According to executive coach Linda Seale, most professional and managerial dismissals are due to failure to understand and fit into a company's culture. 

It is during these first weeks on the job that your boss and colleagues form the most lasting impressions about you. But remember, they don't expect you to be perfect. As long as you show intelligence, versatility and a willingness to work and learn, people will be happy to have you aboard and rooting for you to succeed.  

Here are 18 ways to make sure you get off on the right foot:
1.     Take a break. Take a week's break between jobs to clear your head. At the very least, get a good night's sleep        before your first day so you'll be at your best.
2.     Check your interview notes. Recall the names and titles of everyone you met and interviewed with so you will be able to greet them and pronounce their names correctly.
3.     Study up. Collect back issues of the company's newsletters, annual reports and press clippings. Check out your competitors' literature, too, to get a better handle on the "big picture."
4.     Work full days. Know where and when to report on day one. Get there 30 minutes early and leave when or after most of your co-workers do. Notice people's schedules and work habits, so that you'll know the optimal times and means to connect with others.
5.     Project positive energy. Look and act as if you're happy to be joining the team.
6.     Look good. All eyes are on you, so pay attention to your grooming. Dress tastefully and slightly above dress code.
7.     Keep a journal. Write down procedures, names of key people and contact numbers, so that you'll look like a quick study.
8.     Be flexible. Expect and embrace the inevitable challenges of your position. A flexible attitude will decrease stress for you and others.
9.     Show appreciation. Be kind and appreciative to everyone who helps you learn the ropes.
10.   Listen 80 percent; Talk 20 percent. Resist offering opinions or assessments -- that road is full of land mines. You'll get more respect by listening and absorbing what your co-workers have to teach rather than by showing off how much you know.
11.   Get to know your boss. Observe your boss' personality and work style, and tailor your interactions to his or her preferences.
12.   Clarify expectations. Make sure you and your boss are on the same page. Find out:
o    What priorities and issues need to be immediately addressed.
o    How often and in what format you should provide project updates.
o    How your performance will be evaluated.
13.   Connect with colleagues. Get to know as many people as you can especially your teammates and those with whom you will work regularly. Establish the foundation for a relationship, and trust and information will follow.
14.   Identify key players. Find out who the decision-makers, influencers, stars and up-and-comers are. Notice the traits they have in common and try to emulate them.
15.   Uncover hidden agendas. Identify any political forces at work. While you want to avoid getting involved in politically charged situations, it's helpful to be aware of undercurrents.
16.   Take initiative. As you finish assignments and are ready to handle a bigger workload, ask for more. Pick projects that have support from upper management and buy-in from your staff.
17.   Don't make major changes. Even if your interviewer told you the company was looking for fresh ideas, proceed carefully. Show respect for those who have invested energy in a project or system before trying to change it. There may be obstacles you aren't aware of. Ask why things are done the way they are and seek feedback from people whose support you need. Applaud what is being done right and frame changes as enhancements.
18.   Be a team player. Don't engage in gossip. Always make your boss look good. Share credit with your workmates.

15 Interview Killers

You worked so hard to get that interview.  So whatever you do, don't do these 15 things:


Arrive late - 1 minute late is too late
Arrive too early - 10 minutes early is ideal!
Smell like smoke - cigarette smoke or any other kind of smoke
Smell like alcohol and do NOT be intoxicated
Dress for a party or a nightclub or the mall
Talk too much
Tell jokes or personal stories
Talk bad about your past employers, co-workers or bosses
Lie about your experience
Forget your resume and your references
Bring your cell phone
Be in a hurry
Be rude, swear or be sarcastic
Forget which position you are applying  for
Arrive unprepared
Sounds simple enough but others have been eliminated from consideration for these very reasons.  Don't let it happen to you! 


These are supposed to be "killer" interview questions.

1.     What’s the biggest mistake you mistake you made in your life and what did you learn from it?

2.     If in 3months you found the job not to be what you expected it to be, what would it look like?

3.     What superhero would you be and why?

4.     What is one misconception people have about you?

5.     If you were a kitchen appliance what would you be?

6.     Why shouldn’t I call for a reference and why?

7.     So what are you going to do for us?

8.     Who are your heroes and why?

9.     What works for you and why? How can you increase your interaction with the energy generators? And what can you do to be one yourself?

10. Who at your former place of work gave you the most energy and why?

11. What do you think will be the biggest challenges you and I will face in your first 3 months on the job?

12. What kind of person do you like to work with?

13. If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?

14. You are on your death bed for what do you want to be remembered?

15. Can you do this job?

16. Why are you qualified?

17. What was your most and least satisfying job and why?

18. What is your view of office and business politics? How does it work? Can it be used in a positive way?

19. What’s been your best work that you think you are proud of yourself and what about them could you have done better?

20. Describe a time when you missed a deadline/revenues/failed to meet expectations and why? How did you feel? What lesson did you learn from it?

21. What are top 2 professional traits people in the company will miss or not the miss the most about you?

22. Why did you sign on for the position? What kept you there months and years later?

23. When was the last time you lost your temper? What was the situation and why do you think this affects you so?

24. What was unfair about your last job?

25. What motivates you and what doesn’t?

26. What is your 5 year goal?

27. Tell me in no more than 2 words what you think we do?

28. How many companies are you actively pursuing at the moment?

29. What industries are you interested in?

30. If your current employer offered you the same would you stay? Why or why not?

31. If you are hired for the position, what would your top priorities be in the coming quarter?


Most Common Interview Questions  

What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Why do you want to leave your current company?
Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
What can you offer us that someone else can not?
What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
Are you willing to relocate?
Are you willing to travel?
Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
What is your dream job?
How did you hear about this position?
What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
Discuss your resume.
Discuss your educational background.
Describe yourself.
Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
Why should we hire you?
Why are you looking for a new job?
Would you work holidays/weekends?
How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
What are your salary requirements? (Hint: if you’re not sure what’s a fair salary range and compensation package, research the job title and/or company on Glassdoor.)
Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
Who are our competitors?
What was your biggest failure?
What motivates you?
What’s your availability?
Who’s your mentor?
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
How do you handle pressure?
What is the name of our CEO?
What are your career goals?
What gets you up in the morning?
What would your direct reports say about you?
What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
Are you a leader or a follower?
What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
What are your co-worker pet peeves?
What are your hobbies?
What is your favorite website?
What makes you uncomfortable?
What are some of your leadership experiences?
How would you fire someone?
What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
Would you work 40+ hours a week?
What questions haven’t I asked you?
What questions do you have for me?


“So, do you have any questions for me?”

By Kristine Solomon of LearnVest - Linkedin

This common refrain toward the close of a job interview can make even the best of us stammer when the tables are turned. But with the national unemployment rate over 8%, sharp interview skills are more important than ever.

Whether or not you’re currently looking for a job, try your knowledge: Do you have the right questions to ask your interviewer?

The goal, of course, is to ask a few smart questions—thoughtful ones that show you’ve been paying attention and have done your homework when it comes to researching the company and the specific job you’re after. At the very least, you want to ask something.

Most employers agree that, “No, I have no questions,” is the worst possible response. “The most frustrating thing for a recruiter is when you don’t have any questions at all,” says recruiter Abby Kohut of

We asked professional recruiters to brief us on the top 10 most common interview questions to scratch off our lists immediately—plus five effective ones to ask instead.


Questions You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview

 1. Anything Related to Salary or Benefits

“Company benefits [and salary negotiations] don’t come into play until an offer has been extended,” says Kohut. The same principle applies to sick time and vacation days. It’s best to avoid any question that sounds like you assume you already have the position—unless, of course, your interviewer brings it up first. 

2. Questions That Start With “Why?”

Why? It’s a matter of psychology. These kinds of questions put people on the defensive, says Kohut. She advises repositioning a question such as, “Why did the company lay off people last year?” to a less confrontational, “I read about the layoffs you had. What’s your opinion on how the company is positioned for the future?” 

3. “Who is Your Competition?”

This is a great example of a question that could either make you sound thoughtful—or totally backfire and reveal that you did zero research about the company prior to the interview, says Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Before asking any question, determine whether it’s something you could have figured out yourself through a Google search. If it is, a) don’t ask it and b) do that Google search before your interview! 

4. “How Often Do Reviews Occur?”

Maybe you’re concerned about the company’s view of your performance, or maybe you’re just curious, but nix any questions about the company’s review or self-appraisal policies. “It makes us think you’re concerned with how often negative feedback might be delivered,” says Kohut. Keep your confidence intact, and avoid the topic altogether—or at least until you receive an offer. 

5. “May I Arrive Early or Leave Late as Long as I Get My Hours In?”

Even if you make it clear that you’re hoping for a flexible schedule to accommodate a legitimate concern such as picking up your kids from daycare, Barrett-Poindexter advises against this question. “While work-life balance is a very popular concern right now, it’s not the most pressing consideration for a hiring decision-maker,” she says. “Insinuating early on that you’re concerned about balancing your life may indicate to your employer that you are more concerned about your needs and less concerned about the company’s.” 

6. “Can I Work From Home?”

Unless it was implied in the initial job description, don’t bring it up. “Some companies will allow you to work from home on occasion once they see what a productive employee you are,” says Kohut. But an interview isn’t the time to be asking for special favors. Right now your top priority is selling them on you first. 

7. “Would You Like to See My References?”

“Interviewing is a lot like dating,” says Barrett-Poindexter. “It’s important to entice with your value and attract them to call you for the next ‘date.’” Offering up your references too soon may hint at desperation. Plus, you don’t want to run the risk of overusing your references. 

8. How Soon Do You Promote Employees?

“An individual asking this question may come off as arrogant and entitled,” says recruiter Josh Tolan of 

9. Do I Get My Own Office?

This is an uncomfortable one, says Tolan. Of course you may wonder about it, but will something like this really play into whether you accept a career opportunity or not? If so, he says, it may be time to rethink your priorities. 

10. Will You Monitor My Social Networking Profiles?

While a valid concern in today’s culture, this is something best left unsaid. “It gives the impression you have something to hide,” says Tolan. Play it safe and don’t post anything (especially disparaging things) about your company, co-workers, or employers on Facebook, Twitter—or anywhere on the internet, really.

And yes, even if you’re not “friends” with anyone at work. These kinds of things have a way of getting around.


Questions You Should Definitely Ask in a Job Interview 

1. Can You Explain the Culture to Me, With Examples of How the Company Upholds it?

Asking for specific insight into the company’s culture is key. “Everyone will tell you that their culture is great, but examples prove it,” says Kohut. This will help you decide if you want to work for them. At the same time, most interviewers are also trying to assess if you’re a good cultural fit for the company. 

2. How Have You Recognized Your Employees in the Past?

This is another example of a smart question that digs for specifics. “You want to be sure that your new company appreciates its employees,” says Kohut, and that the company values morale. 

3. What Do You Like Most About This Company?

By nature, most people like to talk about themselves, so this question helps warm up your interviewer, suggests Barrett-Poindexter. It also provides critical insight into whether you’d be happy working with this individual or company. “If your interviewer’s answer excites you, that can further reinforce your decision to continue the interview process. If the response is lukewarm, it may give you something to think about before deciding to invest in a future here.” 

4. Can You Give Me Examples of Collaboration Within the Company?

“This is a great question for team players,” says Tolan. It not only shows that you have a quality that’s very valuable to the company, but it also gets down to brass tacks when it comes to company culture. 

5. What are the Most Important Things You’d Like to See Me Accomplish in the First 30, 60 and 90 days of Employment?

This question shows you’re in invested in what you can bring to the company, and not just what the company can do for you. “Expect the answer to go deeper than just a basic skill set requirement,” says Barrett-Poindexter. “Hope that the interviewer will wander a bit, providing personal insight into qualities he favors–perhaps even offering nuggets of detail you can use to reinforce your value in the 

The thank-you note debate: handwritten card or email?

Both! Prior to the interview, have a stamped, addressed blank thank you card ready and with you. This way, you can write your thank-you note right when you walk out of your interview, while everything is fresh in your mind, and drop it right in a mailbox. Once you get home, you should send the email too!