Sample Interview Questions
Your goal during an interview is to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job. In order to accomplish this, you must be able to clearly and articulately convey that you have the specific skills and strengths for which the employer is looking. The best way to increase your likelihood of effectively responding to interview questions is through advanced preparation. Before an interview, you should prepare your responses to standard interview questions and practice speaking them out loud. If you can, do a mock interview with a Steinbright staff member or with family or friends. Below are some frequently asked interview questions that you can refer to while preparing for interviews.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What are your long-range career goals? Short-range goals?
- What specific goals, other than those related to your career, have you established for yourself?
- What do you really want to do in life?
- Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
- Would you prefer a large or a small company? Why?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you spend your spare time?
- In what kind of a work environment are you most comfortable (structured, unstructured, etc.)?
- Why did you select Drexel University?
- Why did you choose your major field of study?
- What courses do you like the best? The least? Why?
- Do you think your grades are an accurate indication of your academic achievement?
- Do you have a geographical preference? Why?
- Will you relocate?
- Do you have plans for continued study and obtaining an advanced degree?
- What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
- Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
- How is college preparing you for your career?
- What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in your career?
- Why should I hire you?
- What do you hope to learn on this job?
- What three things are most important to you in your job?
- What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
- What have you learned in your other jobs that you think will help you to do this job well?
- Why did you apply for this job?
- What do you know about our company?
- Why are you interested in working for our company?
- After reading the job description, what do you think will be the most challenging aspects of the job for you?
- How do you think you can add to the company?
- What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
- What have you learned from participation in co-curricular activities?
- What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
- How would you describe your most rewarding college experience?
- How would you describe your most recent group effort?
- Can you tell me about the time you met the most opposition when proposing a plan of action?
- Could you describe a situation that best demonstrates your ability to get things done through others?
- Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do?
- Describe the most significant written document, report, or presentation that you've completed. Do you have an example of oral communication skills?
- Describe a time when you were confronted by a difficult task-related problem and how you solved it. Did you ever have to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done?
- Give an example of a time when you did not have enough information to do your job. What steps did you take?
- Can you tell me about a specific occasion when you conformed to a policy even though you did not agree with it?
- Could you give an example of when you were able to build motivation in your co-workers or subordinates?
- Have you ever had a confrontation with someone? How did you handle the situation?
- Describe the most creative work-related project you have completed.
- Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
- How would you describe the ideal job for you?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
- Have you ever been in a leadership role? Please explain the situation.
- Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
- How do you work under pressure?
- What types of people seem to "rub you the wrong way"?
- Could you describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and subordinates?
- What type of supervisor would you like to have?
- Can you give an example of an important goal you had to set and your process in meeting that goal?
- If a friend or professor were asked to describe you, what would they say?
- How do you define "success"?
Illegal Interview Questions
Questions that can and cannot be asked during the interview phase of the recruitment process are determined by federal and state laws. The reason these laws are in place is to ensure that the interviewer does not obtain personal background information on the candidate that could be used to bar them from employment. The purpose of an interview is for an employer to assess a candidate based on the skill sets and aptitudes required to sufficiently perform the job, not to obtain personal information unrelated to the job duties and responsibilities. Explore the following sections to learn about illegal interview topics in the United States, examples of illegal questions, and what to do, both in the moment and afterwards, if you are asked questions of a potentially illegal nature.
If you are a Drexel student and feel you have been asked inappropriate questions during an interview, it is important to contact the Steinbright Career Development Center after your interview. Steinbright works closely with Drexel's Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture and the Counseling Center who provide support to students facing issues relating to harassment, bias, and discrimination.
It is illegal for an employer to ask about the following topics during an interview: age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, pregnancy status, marital status, or citizenship status.
The following topics are illegal for an employer to ask about during an interview. We've included a few examples for each category.
- How old are you?
- How long have you been working?
- You have a unique look. What are you?
- What race do you identify as?
- You have an accent. Where are you from?
- Where are your parents from?
- What is your religion?
- Are you practicing?
- Are you planning to have children?
- Is this your maiden name?
- We've always had a man/woman do this job. How do you think you will stack up?
- Are you going to be comfortable working with a bunch of women?
- Where were your parents born?
- I detect an accent, where are you from?
- Have you ever been married before?
- What is life at home like for you?
- How many kids do you have?
- Are you thinking about having children anytime soon?
- Do you have any medical conditions we should know about?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?
- What is your sexual orientation?
- I noticed you don't wear a ring. Do you have a husband/wife?
- Do you live with anyone?
How do you respond in the moment?
- You can choose to answer the question if you are comfortable doing so and believe it was asked naively.
- You can take control of the question, for example, an answer to "You have a unique look. Where are you from?" could be answered by saying, "I've lived a few places in my life, but I am legally allowed to work in the U.S., if that's what you're asking."
- You can ask why the question is relevant to the job and/or simply decline to answer
Who can you contact after the interview if you choose?
- You may contact your Co-op Advisor or any trusted Drexel staff or faculty for guidance. Please keep in mind that most Drexel employees except for religious representatives and counseling center staff are mandated reporters, which means that they must inform Drexel's Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC). While what you report will stay confidential within the EIC office, they will contact you for follow up. Mandated reporters will keep the conversation confidential outside of the EIC report.
- You may contact EIC directly, as well as Drexel's Counseling Center. EIC is responsible for ensuring that the University complies with its own policies and with federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment based upon race; color; religion; gender; pregnancy; national origin; age; disability; sexual orientation, identity, and expression; and veteran status. In addition to investigating complaints, EIC utilizes various conflict resolution processes to address complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The Counseling Center offers free, confidential counseling services provided by mental health professionals to currently enrolled full-time undergraduate and graduate students.
For more information and resources for managing discrimination in the workplace, please visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Questions for the Interviewer
Most interviewers will conclude by asking "Do you have any questions for me?" The interviewer will expect you to have questions prepared and will use these questions to gauge your interest in and understanding of the job. Asking thoughtful and specific questions about the job and company will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are serious about the position. Conversely, if you do not ask questions you appear uninterested.
Also keep in mind that the interview is your opportunity to learn more about the position in order to determine if it is a good fit for you. Be sure to ask questions that will enable to you fully understand the scope of the job, so that you can make an informed decision about working for the company.
The following list contains appropriate questions for candidates to ask in the initial job interview. This list is by no means exhaustive; you should develop your own questions during the course of your research on the company. Ask specific questions based on your research of the company: growth plans, competitors, new products, and research, etc.
- What type of training programs do you have?
- How long is the training period?
- What does the training consist of?
- How and when will my performance be evaluated?
- What can I do between now and the start of the position so that I am prepared to hit the ground running?
- What is unique about your company?
- Can you describe the company's basic management philosophy?
- What is the organizational structure above and below this position?
- Do you hire co-op students from cycle to cycle?
- What percentage of your co-ops become full-time employees upon graduation?
- In your opinion, why is this a good place to work?
- What has your career progression been within this company?
- If I excel in this job, would I have the opportunity to increase my job duties and responsibilities?
- What would make an employee stand out as "exceptional" in this job?
Avoid asking questions that makes you appear to be more interested in what you can get from the company than what you can offer them. Also avoid questions whose answers you could have easily found for yourself if you had put any effort into researching the company. Some topics to avoid include:
- Vacation or time off
- Information that could be found via online research or in the job description
Practice your interview responses using Big Interview, a video interviewing platform complete with video tutorials and practice software.