JCS Students in lecture classroom at VOALC

Sample Interview Questions

Prepare for, and anticipate, interview questions prior to the actual interview

There are some questions you should always be ready to answer

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?

  • Tell me about a time where you had to work on a team? What was your contribution?

  • What is the most difficult challenge you have faced?

  • Can you describe a particular piece of your resume?

  • How do you handle conflict and stressful situations?

  • Why do you want to work for our organization?

  • Why do you want this position?

Anticipate questions related to the industry or field for which you are interviewing

Think about the skills most valued in the job for which you are applying

  • A sales interview question might be "Tell me about a time you had to persuade someone to your point of view."

  • An IT related question might be "A user is complaining of delays when using the network. What would you do?"

  • An engineering related question could be "Tell me about your greatest success in using the principles of logic to solve an engineering problem."

  • A nursing interview question may be "How will you handle unexpected circumstances, such as being short staffed and having to perform a treatment you have not done before?"

Behavioral-based Interview Questions and the C.A.R. Method

A behavioral-based question is one where the employer expects a specific example. The question would generally start with a phrase like "tell me about a time"; "describe a situation where..."; or "give a specific example". Use the CAR method.

C = Context

Here is your hook. Briefly set up the story and explain how the situation might have been challenging: a difficult team member, small budget, or a tight project deadline. Details are important, but be concise.

A = Action

Remember to say specifically what you did. What steps did you take? Did you resolve a conflict? If so, how did you go about that? What did you say? What were you thinking? Why did you approach it in that particular way? Describe what you did using “I” in the description.

R = Result

This should be positive and ideally quantifiable. You raised “X” dollars for charity. You increased recruitment to your student organization by “X%”. You raised your grade from a C to an A.

Here is an example of a Behavioral-based question and response using the C.A.R. Method

Question: Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation.

C: In my psychology research course, my teacher assigned our class a semester-long group project. When stressed to meet the deadlines for our project, one of my group members used very harsh language when communicating to the other group members and myself, both in person and via email. This created a very negative atmosphere with the one group member constantly putting down the other members of our team.


A: After getting upset the first few weeks of the semester, I decided to speak with this group member about the way he communicated under pressure. I understood the stress he was under and suggested that we together create a clear timeline to set deadlines for portions of the project. We also delegated responsibilities for these portions of the project to the group members.


R: Speaking with this group member in person and early on in the semester helped diffuse my classmate’s inappropriate communication to the other members of our team and promote a more positive, supportive, and open working environment. We were able to sort out issues immediately, anticipate any likely problems, and plan a clear timeline for the remainder of the semester.

Review the links below for more sample interview questions