In my hot little hands, I’m holding a printed list of
Every Job Interview Question Ever some of the interview questions I’ve used in the past three years. I started this list when first thrust into a role where I had to interview candidates, so I Googled until my fingers bled, went to my local independent bookstore five different times, and met with hiring managers in my network to build a list of good interview questions.
Most of these questions aren’t on my list of Great Interview Questions, because that’s a special designation reserved for only the best. But just this morning I was talking with colleague about interviewing junior resources, and she inquired after the interview process, particularly what questions I used. In fact, she said, “Do you ask the same questions every time? Can I just get them from your blog?” The answers, disappointingly, were No and No. So now I present them here, on the blog.
Though I generally break interview questions into four categories, I didn’t do so here. This is just a general list. Actually, as I look at the list, it’s pretty long. I’m going to add it as a resource and create a separate page. Right now I’m just including the first 100 questions. Enjoy!
List of General Interview Questions
I couldn’t figure out how to title this post. (Just so you know. It’s early and I struggle writing pithy headlines in the AM.)
Just the other day, I was asked by a colleague to go over my interview process and questions. Just then, years after starting to interview recent grads (I sheepishly admit it took me too long to notice this), I realized that I only have four categories of questions. I suppose I could break them down in a thousand different ways (like Past, Present, Future; Personal, Behavioral, Aspirational), but this is how I look at my interview questions. I don’t know that every recruiter consciously groups their questions like this, but it can’t hurt to practice answers for each category. And just like negotiations and fancy sales tactics, it’s good to know how the person across the table approaches the game. Continue reading
I’m out and about quite a bit, so often times my job interviews take place in coffee shops, restaurants, and even libraries. Even though the environment may seem more casual than the corporate interview room, don’t be fooled. Recruiters expect the same preparation, focus, and engagement. Perhaps even more so. Continue reading
This morning I finally finished building a two-hour training session for new employees, and the last task was condensing everything into a 4×6 note card to include in a stack of the same cards from other sessions. Sort of like a cheat sheet professors let us use in college. Or a “If you remember one thing from today’s presentation” kind of thing. Short, sweet, easy to remember.
Then over lunch a friend asked me what her son should do to help him find a job. Broad question, I know, but we got to talking about his resume. And I thought back to my 4×6 cards and decided to record my top 5 tips to easily improve a resume. And I do mean easily. Completing this list should take no more than 20 minutes. Continue reading
This is another Great Interview Question, but because it helps the recruiter get at information the candidate may not otherwise furnish willingly. One the most important things a recruiter needs to know is if the candidate is really interested in the job. Especially when the market is so soft, everybody’s applying to everything. I’ve had candidates ask me “What is it your company does again? I applied to so many places that I get them mixed up.” Well that’s just not acceptable. Continue reading
Should people know how to find a job? Yes.
Are there resources available to help people find a job? Definitely.
Do most people invest time or money in actively learning how to find a job? Not as far as I can tell.
Over the years I’ve come to know many dedicated professionals who work at university career development centers. In addition to selfless dedication to their students, one thing they all have in common is frustration that graduating seniors don’t help themselves get a job. All major universities offer a wide range of courses/seminars on job interviews, what to put on your resume, how to write a thank you note, etc. Yet only a disappointingly small percent of their students take advantage of these offerings. It can’t be because they don’t want to find a job. My hunch is that they think they know how to do it on their own. (Or their parents have enough connections that they don’t have to worry.)
I think the real culprit, though, is a lack of understanding. Landing the right job isn’t the result of following a checklist. Job hunting is a skill, not a sequence of events. Skills have to be learned. Just as we learn creative writing and algebra, so too should we learn to find the right job. After all, isn’t job satisfaction one of the most important factors in overall happiness? Some say it’s the most critical factor.
Side note for recent grads: job satisfaction early in your career is less impacted by compensation as you might expect. And this makes sense, because everyone ages 21 – 25 makes about the same money. Once our careers progress, income disparities widen, making us working saps more unhappy. We almost always judge the fairness of our compensation by how much our peers are earning. Recent trend: recent grads are taking jobs for less money. Not necessarily a bad thing. In many industries over the last 6 – 8 years, salaries inflated with the housing bubble, and we may be starting to self-correct.
I don’t often get snail mail at work anymore. Most people don’t, I suppose. But that’s one reason why it’s nice to send a hand-written thank you note after a meeting or interview.
I received a particularly nice note today that addressed me personally. Candidates usually talk about the job or the company. That’s fine, and expected. But establishing a connection with the person who interviewed you is maybe even more important. To paraphrase my favorite part of the note:
I really enjoyed learning about your company and the job. I’m excited at the thought of working with and learning more from you in the future — your excitement is contagious!
Even compliments from college seniors feel good.