Interview Questions You Should Always Be Prepared to Handle
As you prepare for an interview, it’s impossible to predict every question a prospective employer will ask, but there are certain questions you should always be prepared to answer.
What are your career goals? Have you ever been fired? Why do you think you’re the best candidate for this job? Those are considered traditional interview questions and they certainly may seem familiar. You’ve probably answered all or some during your career and can probably expect to answer more in future job interviews.
There are two other types of interview questions often used today, too: closed-ended and behavioral. Learning more about all three types can help you prepare for an interview and perhaps even master the process.
Traditional Interview Questions
These interview questions can give you a chance to showcase your accomplishments and abilities and address sensitive subjects.
Walden University’s Career Planning and Development department shared other traditional interview questions you should prepare for, and offered these suggestions to help you prepare your answers:1
Why are you interested in this position? Do your homework—thoroughly research the company and prepare an answer that makes a convincing case for your interest, and why your experience and skills make you the right candidate for the job.
How do you cope with working under pressure and meeting tight deadlines? Prepare to share specific examples of how you manage stress and your time.
Have you ever been fired? Why? If you’ve been fired in the past, this is one interview question you should always be prepared to answer. Be honest, objective, and positive. If it wasn’t the right fit, explain that and share what you learned from the experience.
Closed-Ended Interview Questions
These can be fairly simple interview questions that generally don’t require long answers. Hiring managers might ask these kinds of questions early in interviews to start building a picture of applicants and their abilities.
Robert Half, a human resource consulting firm, offers these examples:2
How many years did you work for your last employer?
Have you ever worked in a different industry?
Do you prefer working with a team or independently?
What’s the longest you’ve worked for any employer?
If you are asked closed-ended questions at the start of an interview, it can be a good opportunity for you to break the ice, gaining confidence as you move on to questions requiring more complex answers.
Behavioral Interview Questions
A typical behavioral interview question usually includes the phrase “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of…”
Why do hiring managers like this approach? “A behavior-based interview question seeks to discover past behavior, as it is the best predictor of future behavior,” the Walden career services center explains.1
Set yourself up for success by preparing for behavior-based questions like these. Think about a time when you:1
Solved a problem
Made a good/poor decision
Handled change in your organization
Worked as part of a team
Met/missed a deadline
Disagreed with a decision made by your supervisor or upper management
Provide as many specifics as you can, to demonstrate how you confronted an issue and successfully resolved it.
Behavior-based questions can feel challenging if you’re unprepared, nervous, or just can’t pluck a good example from your career in the moment. If you are stumped by a behavior-based question—or any kind of question—you can always ask for a few moments to give it some thought or even offer to follow up with the information after the interview.
Level Up Your Career
Whether you’re interested in changing career lanes or advancing in your current field, you may find that earning a degree online can help you reach your goals. Walden University, a pioneer in distance learning, offers online certificate programs and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in an online learning model designed to fit your busy life.
Walden has more than 100 online degree and certificate programs in areas of study that include education, public health, information technology (IT), nursing, and social work and human services. And with more than 270 specializations and concentrations to choose from, you can earn a degree that’s closely aligned with your career goals.
The accredited university offers comprehensive student and academic support. Walden’s Student Support Services are there to help guide you from enrollment to post-graduation. Enrollment Specialists can help you launch your online education journey. You’ll have access to 24/7 technical support, tuition and financial aid advisors, and a robust Academic Skills Center providing online learning support.
Walden’s online Career Planning and Development resources are available to students and alumni. Drop in during “office hours”—a live event where you can video chat with students, alumni, and a member of the Career Planning and Development team. You’ll learn about career options, potential employers, and more. Or, take an interactive workshop to learn how to build a résumé. Search for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities.
When you’re ready to earn a degree to maximize your career impact, choose an online learning partner that invests in your academic and career success.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online certificate programs and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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