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Interview Question Database

Common Q's

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.

Education and Experience

QUESTION INTENT

Questions about your academic education and experiences (work, volunteer, etc.) are generally focused on confirming your:

  • Credentials
  • Knowledge
  • 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.

TIPS FOR RESPONDING TO EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE Q'S 
  • 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?


Answer Tips

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

Job interviews often contain questions that ask you to describe your level of professional knowledge. Keeping up to date with trade magazines and networking with others in your field are both great ways to develop and deepen your professional skills and knowledge.

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

You will impress your interviewer by showing that you have attended courses of your own volition or on your own time. Do not lie when answering this question. University results are usually, and easily, verified by employers. Be sure to highlight how your training has directly improved your ability to perform your job

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?


Answer Tips

Tell me about a course you took at SFU that can help you succeed in this position.


Answer Tips

Personal and Career Objectives

QUESTION INTENT

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.

TIPS FOR RESPONDING TO PERSONAL AND CAREER OBJECTIVES Q'S
  • 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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

When asked this very broad and general question, you don't want to assume the interviewer is what motivates you at work. You can clarify to what specification they would like to address.  When preparing an answer for this question, think of your strengths, interests and what you are passionate about. Secondly, if applicable, connect your strengths with the company's values. Most importantly, be honest when answering this question. 

Work and Culture Fit

QUESTION INTENT

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.


Answer Tips

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

Get involved! An important part of an accountant's job is interaction with clients, so activities that hone your communication and customer service skills are particularly valuable. Consider joining the Accounting Student Association, or at least attend some of their great events.

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?.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

There are some situations were this question is not asked explicitly, but you would like to somehow present this information to the interviewer regardless. For the question "why should I hire you?", you could focus on what differentiates you from other candidates, such as relevant work experience and your GPA. If the interviewer to ask you "what are your strengths?", you can list the relevant strengths to this position, such as attention to details, strong computer skills, quick to learn and your initiative. Lastly, if you were asked "what would your previous supervisor say about you?", you can say something about your work ethics, work performance, such as hardworking and efficiency. Many of these answers overlap and/or can be combined. 

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.

Answer Tips

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

If you may be over-qualified, the interviewer wants you to prove that you will not be bored by the job on offer. Remember, people are seldom perfectly qualified for a job. You should be capable of showing that you will enjoy other challenges that the job presents. If you may be under-qualified, the interviewer wants you to prove that you are up to the job on offer. Remember, people are seldom perfectly qualified for a job. You should be capable of showing that you are willing to learn the necessary skills to perform the job.

From your previous experience(s), what have you gained that you could apply to this position?


Answer Tips

Name 5 qualities that you think are important for someone working in this position. Do you possess these qualities?


Answer Tips

How do you feel about working in a smaller/larger work environment than you've ever worked at previously?


Answer Tips

What do you think you can learn from this job?


Answer Tips

What is one task that you would never want to do?


Answer Tips

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

A 'qualification' in the context of this question is not restricted to a certificate/diploma/degree. Feel free to include relevant work and/or leisure experience which makes you a better candidate for this job.

What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate above all others?


Answer Tips

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.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

You can allude to the reputation and qualities in the company that you respect and the complimentary qualities you could bring to the team. Try not to over-extol the virtues of the company as it may be thought to be insincere.

General

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.

What extracurricular activities have prepared you for success? How so?

This question is often used to assess your leadership and team-work qualities. It also provides a good indication of your interpersonal and communication skills, time-management skills, reliability, trustworthiness, maturity and self-confidence.

Answer Tips

Answer Tips

Demonstrate to the interviewer that you are a well-rounded individual and that you take a balanced approach to your personal development.