An image of students and employers conversing during the Miami University Career Fair 2015. An image of students and employers conversing during the Miami University Career Fair 2015.

Mock Interview Competency Based Questions

Problem Solving / Analysis

  • CAR - Have you ever solved a problem when others around you could not?  Tell me about it.
  • CAR - What was one of the toughest problems you have ever solved?  What process did you go through to solve it?
  • Do people ever come to you for help in solving problems?   Describe what kinds of problems and why? 
  • How do you begin to solve a problem that initially seems insurmountable?
  • CAR - What do you do when you are faced with an obstacle to an important project?  Give me an example.
  • How do you analyze different options to determine which is the best alternative?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you were working to accomplish an important goal but had limited resource available to you.  How were you able to leverage the available resource and still complete a quality project?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you were accountable for the results of a project.  How did you ensure the results were achieved?
  • What do you love to do?

Communication Skills

  • CAR - Give an example of how you carefully consider your audience prior to communicating with them?  What factors influence your communication?
  • When do you think it is best to communicate in writing? And when do you think it should be handled face-to-face?
  • CAR - Describe a time you used your communication skills to negotiate with an angry person.
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when effective listening skills helped you in a problematic situation.
  • What do you do when you think someone is not listening to you?
  • Have you ever given a presentation to a group?  How did you prepare for it?  What would you do differently?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you were able to overcome a communication barrier(s).
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you had to reply on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
  • CAR - Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.

Teamwork Questions

  • CAR - Please tell us about a time when you helped a friend or stranger in need.
  • CAR - Give a specific example of how you have worked in a collaborative team/environment and how your talent uniquely affected the outcome in a positive way.
  • CAR - Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  • CAR - When groups work together, conflict often erupts.  Tell me about a time that conflict occurred in one of your work groups. What you did about it?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who was not very responsive.  What did you do?
  • Tell me what role you play within work groups and why.
  • How would people you work with describe you?
  • CAR - Tell me about the most effective contribution you have made as part of a task group or special project team.
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you pitched in to help someone finish a project even though it “wasn’t your job.”  What was the result?
  • CAR - Have you ever been in a position where you had to lead a group of peers?  How did you handle it?  Tell me about problems you had and how you handled them.
  • What is essential for a team to be successful?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you worked in a cross functional team? Were there different challenges compared to a departmental task team?
  • Have you ever worked in a virtual team? 
  • CAR - If so, tell me about this experience. What were the team dynamics? Was the team successful? What would you do differently? What systems did you use?
  • If not, what do you perceive to be the advantages and disadvantages of this type of team? How would you suggest creating team cohesiveness in a virtual setting?
  • Tell me about a situation where political power plays affected team dynamics. How did you and/or the team overcome or avoided this situation?

Time Management Skills

  • CAR - Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  • CAR - Describe a long-term project that you managed.  How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself.  How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities.  How did you handle that?
  • What is important to you?

Learning Questions

  • What do you know about us (company)?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you took a new job that required a much different set of skills.
  • Have you had an occasion when a prior strength actually turned out to be a weakness in another setting?  How did you cope?
  • Please tell us how you stay current with the news of the world. (Please list your daily sources of stimulation, news, entertainment and the stuff that satisfies your curiosity - the serious and not so serious.  Remember, be authentic.)
  • Please tell us about a recent book or article that you read that proves to us that you love this type of work.
  • What are your “go-to” professional reading sources?
  • What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
  • Careers grow and develop just like people do.  Where do you see your career now? Why?  What are you doing to sustain it?
  • What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?  Why?
  • Do you feel you are knowledgeable about current industry related legislation or trends? Why or why not?  What sources do you use for this information?
  • What was the last work-related educational seminar or class you attended? Why did you attend this course? How have you transferred the knowledge gained in the course to your work?
  • Through your career have you learned more about your profession through coursework or through on the job experience? Explain. What is more important to your profession, experience or continued education?
  • What area of your last job was most challenging for you? Why was this specific part of the position difficult? Is this still challenging? Why or why not? 
  • Tell me about the one person who has influenced you the most within your career? Were they a manager, mentor or professor? What did you learn from them? Why do you think you learned so much from them?

Ability to Adapt Questions

  • CAR - Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure.  What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • CAR - Tell me about the first job you have ever had.  What did you do to learn your job functions?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you recognized that a change in direction or strategy would greatly benefit a plan or project.  How did you determine that change was needed?
  • CAR - Give an example of when you had to make a last-minute change to a plan or project.  How did you make the change, and what was the outcome?

Motivation and Values Questions

  • What should we know about your inner drive that will make a difference in this selection process? - Help us understand why we should pick you.
  • CAR - Tell me about your proudest accomplishment/moment.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision.  How did you handle that?
  • Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  • CAR - Tell me about the biggest mistake you have made in your life and what you learned from the experience.

Diversity Questions

  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?
  • Provide the mission statement with value on diversity. How has your experience and background prepared you to be effective in this environment with a given diversity value/initiative?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge
  • What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own? 
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or challenge?
  • How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others’ diversity?
  • What does it mean to have a commitment to diversity? And how would you develop and apply your commitment at this company?
  • What was/is the diversity value at your current/former employer? What impact did you make on this value?
  • What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding? 
  • What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity? Have you included diversity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?
  • What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value?
  • What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negatives?
  • CAR - Give an example of when you reached out and consulted with others from different backgrounds, perspectives, or experience on a project.  What led you to seek out the people you did?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you were able to develop and maintain productive relations with others even though they may have had differing points of view.

Interpersonal Skills

  • If I were to call your last employer, what would they say they did not like about you, and what would they say they loved about you as an employee?
  • Describe how you like to be managed, and the best relationship you’ve had with a previous boss.
  • If I asked your previous/current co-workers about you what would they say?  
  • Describe what you see as your strengths related to this job/position. Describe what you see as your weaknesses related to this job/position. 
  • Explain the phrase “work ethic”.  And tell me about yours.
  • What kind of people do you find the most difficult to work with? For example, assume you are in a situation where you have to deal with a person very different from yourself and you are finding it difficult. What would you do? 
  • What methods do you use to make decisions? When do you find it most difficult to make a decision?
  • CAR - Describe a difficult time you have had dealing with an employee, customer, or co-worker. Why was it difficult? How did you handle it? What was the outcome? 
  • How would your co-workers describe your work style/habits? 
  • What do you do when others resist or reject your ideas or actions? 
  • What do you think are the best and worst parts of working in a team environment? How do you handle it?
  • Under what kinds of conditions do you learn best?
  • How would your past employers describe your response to hectic or stressful situations?
  • How would your co-workers describe your work style or work habits?
  • If I asked several of your co-workers about your greatest strength as a team member, what would they tell me?
  • To you, which is more desirable: A business that is run in an efficient business-like manner OR a business that is run in a personal and friendly way?
  • Please share with me two positive traits that you do not currently have that you wish you had.