These are basic and general questions that may be commonly found in any kind of job interview. If you don't know where to start in preparing for your interview, try practicing with these questions.
Questions about your academic education and experiences (work, volunteer, etc.) are generally focused on confirming your:
- Range of experience
- Level of expertise
These questions range from being broad (i.e. “What courses did you most enjoy at SFU?") to being very specific (i.e. “What specific skills did you gain from 'that' position?”). The employer is interested in knowing what skills and experiences you could bring to their organization.
- Provide adequate details to prove you have the desired skills, qualification, and credentials.
- Select your best examples and broad range of experiences to profile yourself.
- Be prepared to discuss any and all of the experiences you have listed on your resume and cover letter.
- Clearly demonstrate your level of confidence and competence in the areas that are being questioned.
What courses do you enjoy? Which ones are you not enjoying?
Tell me about your depth of knowledge in your subject area?
The question is intended to find out about the level of professional knowledge and expertise you have attained.
What courses/classes have you taken to stay ahead in your field?
Employers like a candidate who has attended additional classes or courses to further their education and career. This type of question allows employers to guage your level of initiative and drive, as well as your commitment to your own career development.
Describe a time in which you found that your results were not up to your professor's or supervisor's expectations. What happened? What action did you take?
Tell me about a course you took at SFU that can help you succeed in this position.
An interviewer may be curious about your overall personal and career objectives. This is because they are interested to learn more about your professional motivation(s) and level of initiative, self-awareness as well as your professional management commitment to work-life balance. They may be assessing your personal goals and objectives to verify they are in alignment with their organization's values and mission.
- Clearly articulate your ability to identify, set, and achieve goals.
- Demonstrate your interest to learn and grow as a professional.
- Present a clear image of who you are and what your values, goals, and expectations are.
What motivates you?
Interviewers ask this question to understand several aspects of their future employees. From a candidate's answer, interviewers are able to see what type of employee the candidate is and if they would fit in with the company culture or a specific team.
Many organizations put an focus on the importance of how the new hire will fit in with the existing team when seeking new employees. You may have the basic qualifications, but so does everyone else they’ve interviewed.
Take your interview one step further by showing that not only can you do the best job, but you can also fit in with their team.
Describe your ideal working situation.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? How did you choose these activities?
Organizations like to hire well-rounded individuals and feedback from accounting firms supports this view. In fact, when screening applications, recruiters often move those that mention participation in extracurricular activities to the top of the pile.
Why should I hire you?
This question is asked to candidates of all positions within a company. Variations of this question is asked to gauge what you can provide to the organization and to differentiate you from other candidates. For example, other variations of this question could be "What are your strengths?" or "What would your previous supervisor say about you?.
What strengths would you bring to this firm?
This question is used to assess your confidence, maturity, capacity to learn and potential for future growth with the firm.
Do you feel overqualified for this job? Do you feel under-qualified for this job?
Don't let this question distress you. It's seldom meant as an indication that the interviewer thinks you're not right for the job, rather it's a 'placed' question to test your response.
From your previous experience(s), what have you gained that you could apply to this position?
Name 5 qualities that you think are important for someone working in this position. Do you possess these qualities?
How do you feel about working in a smaller/larger work environment than you've ever worked at previously?
What do you think you can learn from this job?
What is one task that you would never want to do?
Why do you think you're qualified for this job?
This is an opportunity not only to specify your relevant educational and professional qualifications but also to describe their relevance to this job.
What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate above all others?
Why would you like to work with our organization?
This question is intended to test how much research you have done prior to the interview, how much you know about the organization and if your interest and their needs align.
These questions are general and applicable in a wide variety of interviews. The interviewer will be asking these to get a better sense of your personality, so be sure to have your answers ready when asked in order to make a good impression.