Interview Questions – preparation is vital to achieving success at an interview

The following interview questions are not an exhaustive list. The objective of sharing the questions is to enable you to think through possible answers; answers that will focus your mind when preparing for an interview. Preparation is vital to achieving success at an interview.


About your job / work

Describe a typical day in your current job

What do you enjoy the most at work?

What do you least enjoy at work?

What is the job that you are most proud of and why?


You and your working relationships

How would your work colleagues describe you?

Describe the characteristics of the person who you have difficulty working with.  How do you overcome this?

How do you communicate with your boss and other work colleagues?

Describe the best manager you have ever worked with.

Describe the worse manager you have ever worked with.

Give me an example of when you have had to convince others that your way is the right way.

Give me an example of a time when you challenged your boss.


Your qualities

What motivates you at work?

How do you motivate yourself?

How do you motivate others?

How do you ensure that you deliver quality in your work while simultaneously delivering on time?

What are your key strengths?

What are your weaknesses / development needs?

Describe a time when you failed at something.

Tell me about a time when you have felt under pressure.

How do you deal with interruptions at work?

How do you go about improving your skills?


Your leadership skills

What is your approach when employees come to you with issues?

How do you organise your work?

How do you manage your time?

How do you ensure that you do not overlook anything when dealing with a number of tasks simultaneously?

Tell me about a time when you were under pressure?

What targets do you set your team?

Give me an example of when you have handled an under-performing team member?

Give me an example of when you have handled an over-performing team member?


Questions that are seeking evidence from your experience related to the job you are applying for

Tell me about a time when……

e.g. Tell me about a time when you have dealt with a customer complaint.

Tell me about a project that you have had responsibility for.


How do you…….?

e.g. How do you ensure that work is completed on time to the quality required?


Give me an example of when you have had to think on your feet and resolve a problem quickly.

Give me an example of when you have had to convince other managers that your way is the right way.

Give me an example of a new idea that you have had for increasing sales.  What was the outcome?

Give me an example of when you have followed through a customer complaint.



Why do you want to work for X?

What do you want me to remember about you after the interview?



Remember the interview is a two-way process; it is vital that you gather sufficient information about the company and the job in order that you can decide if you would take the job if it is offered to you. This means preparing questions to ask the interviewer. Here are a few questions


I note that the business strategy is ______________ can you expand on this?

What distinguishes this company from its competitors, both from a public and employee perspective?

What exactly will the job entail – describe a typical day to me

Who will I be working with?

Describe the company culture to me

Describe the management style at X

Can I see where I will be working?

Can I meet the person / people I will be working for / with?

What are your expectations of the job-holder?

Why is the position vacant?

How many applicants were there for the position?

What happens next?



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About ss608

Sue has now graduated from the University of Leicester. I'm Sue, a British expat living in Oslo, Norway. I have over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources (HR) and have recently, successfully completed studying the MSc International Human Resources (HR) and Globalisation course by distance learning with the University of Leicester. Sue has now graduated from the University of Leicester.

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4 responses to “Interview Questions – preparation is vital to achieving success at an interview”

  1. Popi Tsavlopoulou

    Yet another brilliant blog entry, Sue!
    A wonderful list/guide to consult at the planning stage of interview preparation!
    Many thanks for sharing!

    Best Wishes,

  2. Wassila Howes

    Hi Sue,

    Good to see more of your posts here:)

    Very relevant questions to consider not just for job seeking but also in defining ones own personal interests and work choices. It is indeed very important to be able to define and reflect on the type of work and jobs to be undertaken along actions and expectations from both, yourself and others you are dealing with.

    These need be considered not only for the rewards, money and salary expected in return, giving value and worth in monetary recognition towards one’s time spent, focused dedication and effective hard work maintained; contributing in effect to the growth and prosperity of someone else’s business. More so, these are really vital to assess what sort of work you want to be part of, involved in and dedicating your time to and life endeavours for.

    With regard to job functions and professional work, what you certainly don’t want at the end of a hard, and no doubt, stressful day is being disappointed of yourself and the wasted time spent on giving of yourself as you realise with every working day, your work and contributions don’t really matter…a real killer of motivation, incentives and in many cases a good excuse to be lazy, inefficient and uncaring!…These are very damaging as they are also very contagious at alarming rates..a ticking bomb if not tackled with speed and sensitive visionary care!

    Yet visionary considerations are in short supply! Still, you might always find some generous sad souls who are quite happy being taken for a ride and kept in the dark if others are deriving some sort of benefits from their hard work even if not recognised!!

    Expectations of the people you will be working with and dealing with on an ongoing regular basis need to be matched by the same high levels as yours. These are most effective when considered as mutual and inclusive. The understanding that value matters as a high moral positive thinking and behaviour must be recognised and afforded to everyone in equal share, regardless of levels or definitions, as concepts may differ from one person to another, however higher values & good morals are immutable in essence.

    What one values as primary needs should not be applied to oneself and yet denied to others… Progress is made, results are achieved and yet many employees are still not rewarded or recognised accordingly!

    These are of course, a matter of evaluation. Your evaluation might be better than mine, yet some might disagree! How do we decided at which levels your evaluation is better than mine or vice versa?…Who makes you or I a better judge?…and we can argue these assessment theories and philosophies for ever!… Forgetting perhaps that major successful achievements have all been derived at through trial and error…differing and convergent experiences…failures in judgement as we ‘err’ into the right directions!

    Here, my aim is certainly not to advocate inefficiencies in practice, as these never come from concentration in hard labour! However, hard labour achieved in countless explorations of our faults, misjudgement and mistakes are actually quite beneficial! These are key to our breakthrough discoveries and how refinements in progress are made…yet far too many feel the unbefitting shame of the revelatory fall better kept unknown on the way in the right direction, so that these don’t counter weigh finally being acknowledged one amongst equal, if not elevated above some others.
    The problem in many cases where disappointments on both sides are rife is when a miss-match is made. Here of course, is the much emphasised need for ‘company fit’ and finding the ‘right fit’ between (in this case) employee versus organisation. The better the two see eye to eye and fit together like a pair of gloves, not identical yet matching in form and shape, the better one is well seated for great and effective consequences as a result.

    A good way to actually have a sensible understanding of the right fit … use your hands wearing tight gloves exchanging the right pair with the left and vice versa!)…An interesting way to have a feel and grasp of what even a very slight motor disability could be like!

    Thus prospects for a good and successful partnership here will need to include allowing room for participation, innovation, agency in creativity, and mostly these days reengineering (a better word for reform:), ‘refreshing and rebooting’ to use more befitting trendy techy words here!

    After all, it’s how you want to spend the biggest part of your daily life. For those who can afford to go to greener pastures (rather than dry, rot and shrivel away in hopeless expectations!) … if others aren’t gona be there for you…why bother!

    This is how not only organisations but many nations lose their most valued assets: Their Human Capital… remaining deeply entangled in lost opportunities!

    All the Best for those with more insights & better fit!

    Keep up the good work here:)

    Warm regards,


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