Appendix D: Six Types of Interview Questions – Samples

Sarah Ladd

Below are sample questions for each of the six categories of questions discussed in this chapter. This is a sample list only, there are many variations of questions you can be asked in an interview. Remember to practise the techniques taught, and learn to recognize what type of question you’re being asked.

Introductory Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What are your goals for the next 5 years?
  • What do you like about your academic program and why did you choose that program?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want this job?

Strength and Weakness Questions

  • What are three of your strengths?
  • Name some of your weaknesses.
  • What would your most recent supervisor say are your best and worst abilities?
  • Identify two or three skills you’d like additional training in.
  • What skills do you offer us to help you succeed in this position?
  • Describe a situation where you were successful.
  • Describe a situation where you failed.

Behavioural Based Interviewing (BBI)

Because behavioural-based interview questions are very common, see Appendix F for a full page of sample BBI questions for you to begin practising.

Knowledge-Based Questions

Knowledge-based questions will be highly specific to your industry. You should research questions for your particular field or industry. Some industries, like engineering and computing science, can include technical interviews with highly specific technical questions and problems to solve before, during or after your job interview. Here are some generalized samples to help prepare you that are not industry-specific:

  • Describe your knowledge or experience with Microsoft Excel.
  • What is a theory or method you learned in class that you feel will help you in this job?
  • What was the last book or article you read related to your educational background, and what do you remember most?
  • Talk about a project you completed recently. What steps did you take, and what did you learn from the project?

Scenario or Situational Questions

Scenario questions will be highly specific to the type of work you are doing, and the industry and type of work the company does. Here are some examples from a variety of different industries:

  • A member of your team (at work, volunteer, or school) is underperforming and you’re not certain why. What would you do to find out, and how would you assist them?
  • You have been given a task for which you do not have all the information you require, and your managers are not available for assistance, but the deadline for the first draft of the task is coming soon. How do you handle this?
  • It has been a few weeks on the job and you feel your tasks are not progressing. What can you do to change this?
  • You have complex tasks coming in from three different supervisors, with varying levels of detail and different deadlines. What methods or techniques will you use to keep track of all the different items and stay organized?
  • You are working on site at a large industrial facility, and you see what appears to be two employees working in an area that appears to be unsafe. What do you do? Why?

Unusual Questions

  • How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?
  • If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
  • What can you teach me in only one minute? Please take a moment to think of something, and then teach it to me.
  • If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?
  • Can you tell me five things you would do with a pencil, other than write?

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