Interview Preparation

The Virtual Interview

Practicing for an interview means practicing several behaviors, not just answering questions. You must dress well, watch your body language and posture, practice your manners and eye contact, as well as practicing answering questions correctly, smoothly and with confidence.

The practice questions below, in one form or another, account for a large percentage of interview questions. With each question, you are given a series of choices for how you might answer the question. When you select an answer, you will learn whether your answer is correct - and why. Answering these questions will help you polish your interviewing techniques. The questions and answers in this exercise are generic, and in many cases, must be tailored to your individual situation. Still, the logic behind the answer remains essentially the same.

1) Why are you the best person for the job?

  1. "I've held a lot of positions like this one, and that experience will help me here."
  2. "Because I am good at what I do."
  3. "Our discussion here leads me to believe this is a good place to work."
  4. "You need someone who can produce results, and my background and experience are proof of my ability. For example ..."

2) If asked a point-blank question, such as: Are you creative? Are you analytical? Can you work under pressure? etc. What is the best way to answer?

  1. Answer yes or no.
  2. Answer yes and give a specific example.
  3. Answer yes and give an explanation.

3) Tell me about yourself.

  1. Outline personal data, hobbies, and interests.
  2. Give an overview of your personality and work habits.
  3. Give three specific examples of your personality traits and accomplishments.

4) What was your GPA? Why is it low?

  1. My GPA is 2.8. basically because I had a lot of fun in college.
  2. My GPA is 2.8 because I held a full time job while in college, working my way through school. It is not reflective of my ability to do the job.
  3. My GPA is 2.8 which I don't think is too low, at least compared to my friends.

5) What are you looking for in a position?

  1. "I'm looking for an opportunity to apply my skills and contribute to the growth of the company, while helping to create some advancement opportunities for myself."
  2. "I'm looking for an organization that will appreciate my contributions and reward my efforts."
  3. "I'm looking for a position that will allow me to make enough money to support my lifestyle. I am a hard worker and will give a concerted effort to earn the money I need."

6) What do you know about our organization?

  1. "I've done a little homework and here is what I know about your organization ..." (cite examples).
  2. "Everything I've seen and heard makes me want to be a part of this organization. I understand your industry is (blank) and your primary customer is (blank). A particularly exciting part of your business appears to be (blank)."
  3. "I know enough to know this is an exciting place to work. It appears to be fit for my career goals."

7) What are your strengths?

  1. "I am good at giving constructive criticism to my coworkers. This honesty is something I'm very proud of and have found essential to having open working relationships."
  2. "I consider myself to be very consistent. I have proven myself to be someone who can be counted upon to do what is expected."
  3. "I would have to choose between two skills. I am very proud of my determination and ability to get things done. At the same time, I am very proud of my analytical abilities and problem solving skills. These skills combine to give me a unique ability to solve problems and then implement the solutions."

8) How would coworkers describe you?

  1. "They perceive me as a leader. The people who have worked with me learned a great deal and accomplished in many cases more than they thought possible."
  2. "My employees would tell you they got direction when they needed and the room to work when it was appropriate. I believe a measure of a good manager is how much he/she can get done through others."
  3. "They perceive me as someone who cared about them personally and had high expectations. I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping others do their best. My former employees would highlight three of my priorities, which are to build loyalty and a team environment, obtain results, and develop people."

9) What did (do) you like and dislike about college?

  1. "I didn't like the tremendous about of homework some professors assigned us. I liked those professors who realized I had a life outside of class."
  2. "I liked the opportunity to be involved on campus. It was a small campus that allowed students to take responsibility, organize events and be a part of the planning team. I can't really think of anything I disliked. College was a wonderful experience."
  3. "I liked having Wednesdays off. I think the thing I disliked most was living in the dorms."

10) Are you willing to relocate?

  1. "No."
  2. "I'm open to opportunities within the company. If they involve relocation, I would consider them."
  3. "I'd move, but I know your headquarters is in Alaska and that's too cold for me."

11) What are your short-term goals?

  1. "Short term, I just want a job."
  2. "Bills are beginning to pile up. In the short run I need to find work so I can keep up with my obligations."
  3. "Short-term, I'd like to find a position that is a good fit and where I can contribute to a company's bottom line. The position we are here to discuss today would appear to be such an opportunity. Could you tell me more about it?"

12) Where do you want to be in five years?

  1. "I haven't really thought that far ahead, but I think I'd want your job."
  2. "If selected, I would hope to meet my goals and take advantage of opportunities to learn, so I will be considered for other positions within the company. I hope to build my career with a company like this one."
  3. "Long term, I hope to start my own business."

13) Describe a situation you've encountered with a difficult customer.

  1. "In my last job I dealt with customers at a retail store. One customer wanted to return an item she had obviously bought several years ago, which was against store policy. I talked to her calmly and explained our policies and encouraged her to shop and I would exchange the item, however, I could not give a refund.".
  2. "I rarely encounter a difficult customer because of my excellent customer service."
  3. "I had a customer once who claimed her steak was not cooked correctly....I picked up a knife and cut it open and explained that's the way it's supposed to be."

14) Before we go any further, what kind of money do you need to make?

  1. "I feel I am worth at least $30,000."
  2. "My salary requirements are negotiable. Your firm has a reputation of compensating employees fairly, and I trust you would do the same in my case. I am very interested in finding the right opportunity and will be open to any fair offer."
  3. "Money is not very important to me. I need to be able to pay the bills, but the work environment is far more important to me."