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February 24, 2021

job interview questions

For this assignment, you are to create a job interview script to study before a specific job interview. (It can be for a summer job, internship, graduate school, or an entry level position after you graduate–just make sure it’s something you can use in the near future.) You are to answer the 8 questions I have provided, plus an additional 7 questions you find through researching common interview questions online, at the library, and asking your professors, family, friends, and/or people currently working in your field. Therefore, you will prepare answers to 15 interview questions (you are welcome to do more).

Because this “script” is a document for your eyes only (not a formal document intended for others to read), I will grade this assignment on how well you prepare effective answers without focusing on writing errors. If you would like to discuss your plan to answer a specific job interview question, please ask in class when we have time or make an appointment to see me. In addition to the eight questions I’ve provided, think about what kind of questions you would expect to hear. For instance, for teaching positions, I knew I would be asked to describe my teaching philosophy and prepared accordingly.

Questions:

  1. Can you tell us about yourself?
  2. What are your strengths that would help you in this position?
  3. What are your weaknesses? How are you trying to improve them?
  4. Why did you apply for a job with our company?
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  6. What was your best course in college? Why?
  7. Tell us about an obstacle you encountered in the workplace and describe how you overcame it. (You could also use an obstacle from your academic career.)
  8. Do you prefer to work alone or in groups? (For this and all interview questions, keep in mind the job you’re applying for.)

For an extra credit point, also prepare 5 thoughtful questions that you could potentially ask the interviewer. (It’s normal to ask 1-3 questions at the end of an interview, but prepare at least 5 in case some are answered during the course of the interview.) The questions should not have to do with salary or benefits–you can negotiate these points after you’ve been offered a position. What kind of questions should you ask that could help you get a job offer? (See p. 413-414 for ideas.)

Grading note:
While a long document doesn’t guarantee a good grade, the majority of successful scripts for this assignment are over 1400 words and I have received scripts over 4000 words. Please number all questions consecutively (1-15) so that it is easy for me to provide feedback. Here are some complaints I have for students who lose points on this assignment:

  • Didn’t number questions consecutively.
  • Didn’t answer all 8 of the provided questions.
  • Didn’t answer an additional 7 questions found through research.
  • Used additional questions that weren’t especially helpful in preparing for the interview. For example, don’t use a question like “How fast can you type?” as one of your 7 additional questions. You may include simple questions like this, but only after you’ve reached 15 thoughtful questions and answers.
  • As discussed in class, while it’s natural to have some brief answers, you had too many. It’s okay to have brief answers that are to the point/detailed. It is not okay to have brief answers that are general and lack insight into you as a candidate. Remember that this is your time to bond/connect with the interviewers. Slow down and become a storyteller.
  • Missed opportunities to provide more specific answers/details/examples.
  • Contained an answer that doesn’t help you as a candidate for the position. This doesn’t mean the story/answer you provided is a poor one that shouldn’t be used; it means that you didn’t frame your answer in a way that demonstrates your growth as an individual or relate it to the job you are interviewing for.
  • Probably didn’t spend as much time on the assignment as you would have liked.

 

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