Questions actually asked in screening interviews
Examples of the six most common types of questions asked by interviewers during the 102 interviews audiotaped for the University Minnesota study.
I. Questions About College Experiences
- Tell me about your course work (or, Tell me about your educational background.)
- How long have you been in school?
- What's your GPA?
- How do you find time to study?
- What kinds of extracurricular activities have you been involved in?
- Have you had courses in ______?
- What is your proficiency in _______?
- Why are you majoring in ________?
- What did you learn about yourself in _______ class?
- What classes have you most enjoyed?
- Is there any class you have completely disliked?
- What was your most difficult class?
- How have you changed since you started college?
- Is there anything you've been involved in at college that you are really
II. Questions About Work Experience
- What type of position do you have now? (or, What exactly do you do at _____?) (or, Tell me more about your work at ______.)
- How did you find your current job?
- How many hours do you work per week?
- What did you like best about your ____ job?
- How were you evaluated in _______ position?
- Why don't you want to stay in _________ business?
- Tell me about your past sales experience (or your past ______ experience).
- Is there any one thing you feel you learned as a ______? (or, . . . at (_______) company?)
- What would your past supervisors tell me about you?
- What has been the most difficult thing you have had to sell?
- Tell me about your last situation with an unhappy customer. What did you do?
- Did you ever have a customer get mad at something that wasn't your fault?
- Give me an example about a conflict with an employee and how you handled it?
- What has been the most difficult situation you've had to deal with?
How did you handle it?
III. Open Inquiries
- Do you have any questions? (There was little variability in the form
of this question.)
IV. Questions About Abilities, Aptitudes, Strengths, or Weaknesses
- What are your strengths? (or, Tell me something about your skills.)
- Why would you be an asset to our company? (or, What skills, or strengths, would you bring to our company?)
- What is your best quality?
- What has been your greatest accomplishment? Your greatest disappointment?
- Do you think you'd make a good manager?
- Tell me about your leadership skills.
- What do you perceive as an area that could use some improvement? (or, What is a quality that is not your best?)
- If you could start Monday on a self-improvement course, what one area you'd like to improve?
- Have you ever had a communication problem with anyone?
- How do you handle people who are critical? (or, How do you handle rejection?)
- Are you a good loser?
V. Biographical Questions
- Why don't you give me a brief, verbal resume?
- Give me a little bit of your background. (or, fill me in on yourself.)
- Do you think you have the personality to be a manager?
- What motivates you?
- Would you define yourself as a self-starter?
- Give me three words that best describe you.
- What are your interests? (or, What types of activities do you like the best?)
- How do you think your friends would describe you?
VI. Questions About Career Aspirations
- What type of career are you looking for?
- Tell me your career goals. (or, What kinds of goals have you set?) (There were many variations on this: What are some of your short-term goals - the next two to three years? What are your business goals for the next five years? Where do you see yourself in five (or 10 to 15 years?)
- Why do you want to be a manager? (or, Why a _____?)
- What would you like to be making in three to five years?
- Would you describe yourself as motivated more by your goals or by money?
Journal - Summer 1995