Job Interview Questions and Answers

Question 1:  Tell me about yourself. 

This is usually the first question asked because it is a good icebreaker.  You should not use this open-ended question to offer useless information about your hobbies and home life.  Many people will make the mistake of saying, "I'm 32 years old, married, and the mother of three children aged 5, 7 and 9.  My hobbies are knitting, cycling, reading and . . . blah blah blah."  This is not a good answer.

A good answer to this question is about two minutes long and focuses on work-related skills and accomplishments.  Tell the interviewer why you think your work-related skills and accomplishments would be an asset to the company.     You could describe your education and work history (be brief) and then mention one or two personal character traits and tell the interviewer how the traits helped you accomplish a task at school or work.  Do not describe yourself with tired old clichés such as "I'm a team player," "I have excellent communication skills," unless you can prove it with an illustration.  For example, one might say  "I would describe myself as a self-starter.  At Acme Corporation, there was a problem with . . . so I created a new inventory system (give details) that reduced expenses 30 percent."

Someone with a new degree in an IT field might answer this question as follows:  "I have enjoyed working with computers since I was eight years old and have always been adept as using them.  Throughout junior high and high school, friends and relatives were always asking me for help with their computer problems, so no one was surprised when I chose to major in IT at college.  I spent hundreds of hours at the computer learning everything I could about them and how they worked.  A few years ago I became particularly interested in software development and began formulating ideas for new software that would really help consumers. I even developed plans for a few applications on my own.  [Discuss the plans briefly.]  I've also worked on several college teams and as an intern at Acme developing software.  [Offer highlights of work experience in software development.] I would like to continue working in this particular area very much. That's why I applied for a position with your company.  You're one of the leaders in software development and I want to work in a company where I can really be challenged and make a difference.  I also really like the products you've developed.  I think they're some of the best on the market and I would very much enjoy working to improve and enhance these products even further and create new software as well." 

Question 2:  Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Assume that you will be promoted two or three times in five years, so your answer should state that you see yourself working at whatever job is two or three levels above the job in which you are applying.  Do not claim that you will be "running the company" in five years.  You might want to add that you understand your promotions will be earned through hard work and that you do not assume you will be promoted just because you stayed with the company.   Good answer:  "I see myself as head of the Sales Department in five years.  I've already proven that I have the ability to manage a large sales staff at Acme, and I expect that I will be promoted to a senior management position in the future provided that I work very hard at my job and earn the promotions, which I expect to do."

Question 3:  Are you willing to relocate? 

If relocating were not an issue, the interviewer would not be asking the question.  Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "Yes."  If you answer in the negative, you will not get the job.  If you really do not want to relocate, then perhaps you should not accept the job if it is subsequently offered to you.  If you are not sure, then ask questions about relocation, such as when it is likely to occur, where you will relocate to, and would it involve a promotion. 

Question 4:  Are you willing to travel? 

If traveling were not part of the job, the interviewer would not be asking this question. Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "yes".   If you are willing to travel, answer yes and give some illustrations of work-related travel you have done.  However, if you do not want to travel, you should find out more about this aspect of the job before accepting the position, such as how much travel will be involved, where will you be traveling to and for how long.

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