Acton Networkers


Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer


Your Comments on This Section Are Welcome

Source: WIND North IT Guerilla Group & Tom Baird

Everyone gets a job.
The most qualified rarely gets the job

"It is the one that interviews best that gets it"


  • Preparing for an Interview
  • Opening
  • Most frequently asked questions
  • Information about the Job
  • Information about the interviewer and the Company
  • Do I Fit?
  • Industry Questions
  • Closing Questions


    1. Should spend at least 5 hours preparing.
    2. The job description may not be accurate and certainly not complete.
    3. The job description does not give priories.
    4. Interview is a 2-way dialog.
    5. Know what interviewing process is being used.
    6. Remember:
      • Confidence implies Competence
      • Arrogance implies Aggravation

Review accomplishments before the interview:

Write down all action words from last job ending in "ed"

    • What did you do the "ed" to
    • What skills did you use
    • What produces/industries did you use
    • What were the results/accomplishments

Need to generate energy before an interview - recall a personal exciting event.

Preparation is the key to focus the interview.

    • Attitude – must be self-confident to be up beat.
    • Perspective – A "NO" on an interview is usually the result of what is going on internally. Never take it personally.
    • Take care of yourself – Schedule your week and set aside time to exercise, etc.
    • Knowledge is power – It creates confidence. Know yourself, what you want, your strengths. Know how to express your strengths and accomplishment.
    • Check out industry


The biggest single problem is effective communications

Establish rapport:

    • Have a sincere interest in the other person
    • Speak at the same rate of speed
    • Use the same buzz words
    • Sit the same way, posture, eye contact, gestures, language, voice qualities

Clarity of communications:

    • Seek first to understand the other person, then seek to be understood
    • Questions travel in pairs

Need to find "targets"

    • After the intro conversation and before the interview begins
    • Can not be the first question, or it will look like you are trying to control the interview.
    • Let the interviewer ask the first question.
    • Use the word "challenge " in the answer.
    • Then ask the interviewer, "What are the 3 greatest challenges facing the person who steps into this position? "
    • This will identify the "targets".
    • You can shoot your arrows (60 second Accomplishment Summaries) at these targets later in the interview.

Accomplishment Summaries: (R. A. S. 's)

    • Situation – the problem
    • Action – your contribution
    • Results – quantified benefits


Be prepared to answer any of these questions with a clear and concise answer. Where appropriate, use phases such as

" I think people who have worked for me would say that …. ".

The questions below are grouped because they can often be answered with very similar responses. That is, the questions can be answered using the same key words and phases.

General opening question:

    • Tell me about yourself. A commonly asked question. Plan response so that it will be brief and to the point.

      Weave the following into a story using P. E. E. K. S. A. : (90 seconds)

      P = Passion about work.
      E = Education
      E = Experience
      K = Knowledge
      S = Skills – what you have done
      A = Personal Attributes

Current Job:

    • Why are you leaving your present position?
    • Why do you feel you were laid-off?
    • Does your employer know looking for another job?
    • What are your present responsibilities?

      Responses: Use "Exit Statement"


    • What type of position are you seeking?
    • What are your short term goals?
    • What are your career goals?
    • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


    • What makes you think you can handle this position?
    • To what do you owe your success?
    • What do you consider your strengths?

Describe Yourself:

    • How would your manager describe you?
    • How would your peers describe you?
    • How would you describe yourself?


    • What are you looking for in a job?
    • Why did you elect this particular profession?
    • What interests you about this Job?
    • Why are you interested in my company?
    • What type of work environment appeals to you most?


    • What are your weaknesses?

      Responses: Be prepared with 3. Lead in with, " One of the things I discovered about myself…. .


    • Have you ever been fired?
    • Has there been anything positive for you about being laid off?
    • What is your most significant professional accomplishment?
    • What motivates you?
    • What turns you off?
    • What type of personalities do you prefer to work with?
    • Describe your last manager.
    • Describe the type of manager you prefer.
    • How well do you perform under pressure?

Information About The Job

    1. Tell me about the job.
    2. Is there a written job description and can I have a copy?
    3. What skills do you consider important for this job?
    4. Describe your department's organization, the staff and the team.
    5. To whom would I report? Will I meet them?
    6. How would you describe your working relationships with other departments?
    7. What relationships do you want strengthened?
    8. What do you feel your organization's major challenges, problems or opportunities are?
    9. What is the strategic plan for the next 12 months?
    10. What might make it difficult to make these goals?
    11. What is the major problem/opportunity you would be looking for me to solve?
    12. How will I know I have been successful 12 month from now?
    13. Find out why the job is open? Who had it last and what happened to them? How many people have held this position the last few years?

Information About The Interviewer and Company

    1. What are some of your (or the manager's) management philosophies/style?
    2. Why did the interviewer join the company? How long have you been with the company? What is it that keeps them there?
    3. What is the company culture?
    4. What are the realistic chances for growth? Where are the greatest opportunities for growth?
    5. How often do performance evaluations occur? What model do they follow?
    6. Who is the company's major competitor & how does the company stack up against them?
    7. What is the health of the company, position in the market and growth potential?
    8. Any downsizing happened and is the company privately/publicly held?
    9. What are the characteristics of the person who will be successful in this job?
    10. Describe the culture.
    11. Describe a typical workday.
    12. How will I know that I have been successful 12 months from now?
    13. What are the biggest problems to be overcome?
    14. What might make it difficult to meet goals?
    15. Describe the strategic plan for the next 12 months.
    16. Describe your department's organization.
    17. Describe your working relationships with other departments.
    18. What relationships do you want to see strengthened?
    19. How did this position become available?

Do I Fit

    1. Do you have any concerns about my background?
    2. What other experience would you like me to have?
    3. What strengths do I bring to the position?
    4. How does my style complement the group?
    5. What are the travel requirements?
    6. What type of training is required/available?
    7. When are you looking to fill the position and what are the next steps?
    8. What are the company benefits (if the subject was raised)?
    9. In a perfect world, what other experience would like to see me have? Or: What will you be looking for in the other candidates that you did not see in me?

      This is the most important question you can ask and must be the last qualifying question you ask. It will draw out the desired confirmations or disclose the interviewer's objections

    10. What concerns do you have about my background? (What don't you like about me? )

Industry Questions

    1. Who are the key players in the industry?
    2. What is the history of the industry, and where is it heading in the future?
    3. What are some of the major industry trends?
    4. What skills are required to succeed in and contribute to the industry?
    5. Company Questions
    6. What role does the company play in its industry?
    7. What are the company's key products, and what is its market share?
    8. How has the company made money in the past, and what will be its sources of revenue in the future?
    9. What skills are in demand at the company-marketing, engineering, finance, sales, product development?

Closing Questions

    • What will you be looking for in the other candidates that you did not see in me?

      This is the most important question you can ask and must be the last qualifying question you ask. It will draw out the desired confirmations or disclose the interviewer's objections.

    • What strengths do I bring to the position? (What do you like about me? )
    • What concerns do you have about my background? (What don't you like about me? )
    • How does my personal style complement the group? (Do you like me? )

"I am excited about the opportunity and looking forward to taking the next step in the process. I will contact you on XXXXX for an update.

Thank you letter:

    • Use few "I's", many "YOU's" and "WE's"
    • The quicker the follow up, the more powerful the impact.
    • Stay in contact. Out-of-sight = Out-of-mind