Sample Interview Questions
Sample questions for use in interviews are categorized by topic of position responsibility. Select a category to be taken directly to the associated questions.
1. What experience have you had as a cashier?
1. Tell us about your experience in accounts payable.
2. What steps would you take before approving an invoice for payment?
3. Tell us about an invoice discrepancy that you discovered and how you resolved the discrepancy.
4. What items of information do you need before you can approve an invoice for payment?
1. To what extent were you involved in collections?
2. What information should be included when preparing a bill for services?
1. Tell us about your experience in conducting audits.
1. Tell us about your experience in cost accounting
2. What is a chargeback? What is its purpose?
3. Have you implemented or administered a chargeback system?
4. Name some components of an effective chargeback system
5. What are fixed costs? Variable costs? Marginal Cost?
6. Describe some of the methods used to allocate support costs.
1. What experience have you had in fixed assets accounting?
1. What experience do you have with general ledger?
1. What experience have you had in payroll?
2. Based on Internal Revenue Service rules, what criteria distinguish a consultant from an employee?
- What is a budget?
- Provide us with an example of how "zero-based budgeting" would apply to the staffing in your organization.
- What is the difference between a capital budget and an expense budget?
- Name some typical operating expenses.
- Why is it that the direct salary paid to an employee does not represent the total cost of the employee to the organization?
- What experience have you had in developing a budget?
- What is the purpose of a budget?
- What are the steps involved in preparing a budget?
- What is zero-based budgeting?
- Have you conducted a budget review?
- Define the internal rate of return.
- How may the internal rate of return be used in capital budgeting?
- What are the benefits of budgeting?
- How would you prepare a cost/benefit analysis for an automation system?
- How do you set goals for yourself?
- What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now? How do you plan to get there?
- How will this position fit into your career plan?
- Do you have any questions?
- Do you have anything you would like to add?
- Do you have any closing comments?
- What are some rules to follow to insure effective communications with your coworkers?
- What are some of the means of communication in the workplace?
- Define “good communication.”
- What type of people do you enjoy working with the most? What type of individual do you find most difficult or frustrating to work with?
- Tell me about a recent success you had with an especially difficult employee/coworker/customer.
- What have you done to improve your verbal communication skills?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you listen? On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do your co-workers say you listen?
- How important is communication in your present job? Please explain.
- Tell me about a time when you caused a breakdown in communication at work.
- Describe a situation where you relied on ‘verbal’ information from someone else to accomplish a task.
- When have you misunderstood someone’s instructions? Why did that happen?
- Give me an example of a time you had to sell a proposal to a group of superiors or co-workers. How did you do? Why?
- Describe your public speaking/presentation experiences. What steps did you use to develop it?
- How can a supervisor establish effective communications with staff?
- What means of communication may be used to effectively establish a new policy?
- Are there additional considerations in communicating to groups of employees versus individual employees?
- What are some good rules to keep in mind when directing employees?
- In what instances, is written communication better than verbal communications?
With your supervisor
- Communicating with your supervisor is an important aspect of all of our jobs. In addition to being brief, what guidelines should you follow to communicate effectively with your supervisor?
- What are the reasons for communicating upwards to your superiors?
- What documents have you written? Describe about the most difficult proposal/writing assignment you’ve ever written.
- Describe an important report you’ve prepared. How did you plan and organize it?
- How confident are you that you can successfully perform the duties of this position and why?
- Tell us about a situation that would demonstrate the level of confidence that you have in yourself.
- Tell us about a situation that would demonstrate the level of confidence your manager has in you.
- Tell us about a situation that would show the confidence your coworkers have in you.
- Tell us about your experience in cost accounting.
- What is a chargeback? What is its purpose?
- Have you implemented or administered a chargeback system?
- Name some components of an effective chargeback system
- What are fixed costs? Variable costs? Marginal Cost?
- Describe some of the methods used to allocate support costs.
- Are you creative? Give us one example of your creativity.
- Describe a situation where you came up with a creative solution to a problem.
- Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.
- What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had - or wished that you have had?
- In your experience, what how does an organization encourage your use of your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each employee has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done?
- Describe the management style that will bring forth your best work and efforts.
- Describe what you believe are the most effective roles that a good manager plays in his or her relationship with reporting staff members.
- Do you have a best friend at work? How do you feel about becoming friends with your coworkers? Is this a wise practice?
- What are the positive aspects of your current job and work environment, or the last position you held before coming to this interview?
- What is the single most important factor that must be present in your work environment for you to be successfully and happily employed? Now that you have answered that question, what were two others that you debated about before giving the response that you chose?
- What is your preferred work style? Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team? What percentage of your time would you allocate to each, given the choice?
- How would your coworkers describe your work style and contributions in your former job?
- What are the three to five expectations that you have of senior leaders in an organization where you will work successfully?
- Tell us about an occasion when you believe that you delighted a customer, either an internal or an external customer.
- When you work with a team, describe the role that you are most likely to play on the team.
- How would coworkers describe the role that you play on a team?
- When working with people, in general, describe your preferred relationship with them.
- How would reporting staff members describe their relationship with you? What would they like to see you do more of, less of, start, and stop?
- Provide an example of a time when you went out of your way and jumped through hoops to delight a customer.
- Tell us about a decision that you made that was made based primarily on customer needs and input.
- What are the steps involved in successfully handling an irate customer?
- Your steps should include identifying the problem and following-up with the customer.
- Tell us about one thing that you have done for a customer to satisfy a customer when they were not from the beginning?
- Tell us about your experience in dealing with the public.
- The more public or customer contact the better. Include a situation where you provided exemplary service.
- An irate vendor calls regarding payment for an invoice. How will you handle the vendor?
- Your answer should include the following; 1) get all the facts, 2) stay calm and listen, and 3) follow-up.
- A citizen becomes irate because his permit application cannot be found. How will you handle the citizen?
- A salesperson comes in to talk to your boss without an appointment. How will you handle the salesperson?
- What do you think your customers would say about your work?
- Give us an example of a situation you handled exemplifying superior customer service.
- Tell us about a situation in which you dealt with a customer and what you would have done differently.
- How would you handle a customer who used abusive language?
- Tell us about your experience in working a public service counter.
- What criteria do you use to make decisions?
- How long does it typically take you to make a decision?
- What was the last major decision you made and how did you make it?
- What kinds of decisions are the most difficult for you to make and why?
- Give me two examples of decisions you had to make on your last job.
- Tell me about an experience in which you had a limited amount of time to make a difficult decision.
- Tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision.
- Tell me about a decision you made while under a lot of pressure.
- Tell me about a decision you made but would have done differently now.
- What have you done outside of formal education to improve yourself?
- What schools did you attend?
- Why did you choose to attend that college(s)?
- What were your accomplishments or achievements?
- What were your most/least enjoyable classes?
- What aspect of your education applies to this position?
- Have you received any training that qualifies you for this position? If so, what was that training?
- How would you go about training a new employee?
- What are the steps to take in identifying training requirements?
- Aside from formal training, what other means may be used for developing employees?
- What factors would you use in evaluating a trainee?
- You have one slot available for a personal computer training class. There are two people who have asked to be scheduled. Which factors will you consider in deciding which one of the two people will be scheduled?
- What are the four steps in Job Instruction Training?
- What is the impact on the organization of inadequate employee training?
- You have been asked to develop the training budget. How will you develop the training budget?
- Name the methods available for delivering training to employees.
- Under what circumstances, might you recommend computer-based training instead of instructor-led training?
- What is a "gap" analysis as it pertains to training?
- Have you performed a needs assessment? And, if so, what steps did you take?
- What are the benefits of providing just in time training?
- You have been asked to develop a training program. What steps will you take in developing the training program?
- What are the elements of a successful training program?
- What topics would you include in a supervisory development training program?
- What items of information should be included in the orientation training for new employees?
- What is "distance learning"?
- What role can "distance learning" play in the development of our employees?
- Tell us about your experience in developing technical specifications.
- Relate to us a challenging technical problem that you’ve come across and how you addressed the problem.
- What experience have you had in writing technical materials?
- What experience have you had in working with field forces?
- Tell us about your experience with computer-aided design software.
- What were your major responsibilities?
- What were the three most important responsibilities in your last or present job or what responsibilities/tasks took most of your time?
- Describe a typical day on your last or current job.
- Of all the things you’ve done throughout your career, at what or when have you been the most successful?
- Which of your ideas and actions helped you be successful in your present/prior organization?
- What risks did you take in your last or present job? Tell me about it.
- Tell me about a project that you initiated.
- What did you do to make your last job more interesting?
- What three things about your last job gave you the most satisfaction? Why?
- Tell me about the process you used to “sell” a new idea to your supervisor.
- Tell me about a suggestion you made on the job to improve the way things worked. What was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you reached out for additional responsibility.
- What are the different ways to organize a filing system?
Here's just a couple; date, subject, and alphabetical.
- The files for your office consist of general correspondence, purchase orders, and employee files. How will you organize these files?
- What experience have you had with establishing file systems?
- How would you organize a file of general correspondence documents?
- One of your responsibilities in this position is to type letters. If your assignment included filing the letters, how would you file them?
Have you done filing before and how did you arrange the files? Did you set up the filing system?
- What experience have you had in fixed assets accounting?
- What experience do you have with general ledger?
- How do you set goals for yourself?
- What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now? How do you plan to get there?
- How will this position fit into your career plan?
- Give me an example of how you have been creative? /What challenges you?
- Describe two specific contributions you would expect to make during the first six months if you join our company?
- How do you keep your supervisor advised of the status on projects?
- What have you done to make your job easier and/or more rewarding?
- Tell me about a time when you surpassed all job expectations by going the “extra mile.”
- What methods do you use to carry through assignments to assure their completion?your career plan?
- Tell me about a time when you conformed to policy with which you disagreed.
- Describe your leadership style. What makes you an effective leader? What could potentially interfere with your effectiveness as a leader?
- What personal characteristics are necessary for success as a leader?
- What single skill or ability is your greatest asset? How did you develop this expertise?
- Gaining the cooperation of others can be difficult. Give a specific example when you had to do that.
- What do you do to encourage others to do their best?
- What is the most difficult work situation you have ever faced? How did you handle it?
- Give me an example of the last time you had to learn something new (software application, procedure, directions to a new place). What was the situation and what steps did you take to learn that something new?
- How were you trained in your last job?
- What has been the most difficult thing you had to learn? What is your preferred learning style?
- How long were you in your previous position before you felt at ease with the company’s products or services?
- What have you done in your last job that makes you feel proud? In your opinion, what does it take to be a “success?”
- What motivates you to put forth your best effort? How does your supervisor get your best out of you?felt at ease with the company’s products or services? r completion?your career plan?
- What experience have you had in typing letters?
- What experience have you had in typing reports?
- What experience have you had in typing data tables?
- Name the most common forms of punctuation and describe their use.
- What are some of the techniques that you can use to make a visitor feel more comfortable?
- How would you greet a visitor to the office?
- You have a number of people in the office waiting for help. How will you handle the people?
- What experience have you had as a receptionist?
- Public contact and customer service experience can supplement or substitute for receptionist experience
- Tell us about your proofreading experience.
- What experience have you had in maintaining a manager's work schedule?
- What do you consider before committing your manager to a meeting?
- What are the three major types of errors that should be considered when proofreading a document?
- What reference sources should you use to insure that an outgoing correspondence is accurate and correct?
- What are the basic components of a business letter?
- Tell us about your experience as a secretary. Don't forget to mention how many managers you supported or their level.
- Under which circumstances would you use a memorandum instead of a letter? Usually memorandums are for internal communications while letters are used for external communications.
- How do you track details?
- Tell me the steps you took and the outcome of a big project you’ve completed.
- Describe a situation where you were under time pressure to complete several tasks (multi-task). How did you handle it?
- How do you determine priorities for your time? What are the most critical considerations used? What do you do if priorities are in conflict? Give me an example.
- What do you do when priorities change quickly? Give me one example when this happened.
- How do you develop short-range and/or long-range plans for your position/department/organization?
- What methods do you use to ensure that your plan is ‘on target’?
- What experience have you had in pressure situations?
- Tell us about a pressure situation you were in that would demonstrate your ability to work under pressure.
- Provide us with an example of how you’ve asserted yourself in an emergency or high-pressure situation?
- What does it take to get under your skin?
- What are some constructive methods of dealing with stress?
- Why are manhole covers round?
- A test of your ability to think under pressure. Would a round manhole cover or a square manhole cover fall through the hole?
- What steps do you take to solve a problem?
- How do you enlist the help of others in solving a problem?
- Tell me about a specific time when you eliminated or avoided a potential problem before it happened?
- Tell me about several unconventional methods you have used to solve problems.
- If a co-worker needed help in solving a problem, but you did not have the time to help, what would you suggest?
- To whom did you turn for help the last time you had a major problem and why did you choose that person?
- What experience have you had in project management?
- Tell us about a project in which you participated and your role in that project.
- How do you plan for a project?
- What steps do you take to complete a project that you have been assigned?
- What project management tools have you used to keep the project on track both within timeline and within budget?
- How do you keep your group informed about project goals, milestones and deadlines? Give us some examples.
- How did you find out about this job opening? What attracted you to this position?
- What do you know about our organization?
- Why are you considering making a job or career change at this time?
- What does this job offer you that your last job did not?
- What three things are the most important considerations to you in accepting a new job?
- In what kind of environment are you most comfortable? What do you need in a job to make you happy?
- Describe your “ideal job”, amount/style of supervision, contact/relationships with coworkers, job tasks, anything that is relevant.
- What are the benefits of records management?
- What are the components of an effective records management program?
- What are the reasons for storing records off-site at a records warehouse?
- One reason is that warehouse space is cheaper than office space.
- Under what circumstances should records be microfilmed?
- Microfilm is used for records that are vital and require long term retention typically 10 or more years.
- What types of records would be ideal candidates for optical imaging?
- What is the purpose of a records retention schedule?
- What types of records would be considered as vital records for an organization?
- What are records?
- What are the legal implications associated with a records management program?
- What steps are involved in determining the retention period for records?
- Name the factors to consider in determining the appropriate retention period for records.
- Name the risks of having an ineffective records management program.
- What experience have you had in preparing management reports?
- Tell us about a management report you’ve made with recommendations and what happened once those recommendations were adopted?
- What are the elements of a business report?
- What are the elements of a business letter?
- When writing an executive report, how should the text be structured for effective communication?
- Tell us about reports you have prepared.
- What experience have you had in performing analysis and preparing recommendations?
- What are the elements of an effective management report?
- What experience have you had in collecting data and writing reports based on that data?
- Tell us about an analysis that you have performed and the recommendation(s) that you made as a result of your analysis?
- Tell us about your experience in developing procedure manuals.
- How do you deal with risk on the job?
- Name the greatest risk that you've taken?
- Describe the greatest risk that you've taken.
- What are the major safety requirements of your current position?
- Do these requirements ever interfere with your performance? If so, how do you handle that?
- Have you recently observed someone performing a job in an unsafe manner? If so, what did you do? If you haven’t experienced this, describe to us how you would handle a situation if it did happen.
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your three greatest strengths?
- What can you contribute to our organization?
- Assume that you are a candidate in the coming general election. Tell me why you are the best candidate in the field.
- What is your greatest strength?
- We've interviewed a number of highly qualified students for this position. What sets you apart from the others?
- What are your strengths?
- What part of your current job are you the most comfortable with?
- What are your strong points and how have they helped you to succeed?
- What do you do when an employee comes to you with a personal problem?
- How do you handle employees who gossip?
- How would you recognize and reward a team player?
- In what ways do you feel the people who report to you might find you difficult to work for?
- Tell me about a specific time when you had to handle a tough morale problem.
- How do you make your feelings known when you disagree with the views of your staff?
- What employee behaviors do you find the most difficult to manage?
- Tell me about a time when you had to take disciplinary action with someone you supervised.
- What has been your experience with major expansions or reductions in work force?
- What do you do to help your employees manage stress?
- What would you do if you caught an employee stealing?
- How would you build a team from scratch?
- If you joined our company and inherited a staff, what would you do first?
- How do you prepare for performance appraisals?
- Under what circumstances do you feel a manager should discipline an employee? How do you handle it?
- How would you determine that your staff was under too much pressure? What would you do about it?
- How do you communicate priority projects to your staff without making them feel overwhelmed?
- How do you and your staff celebrate success?
- How would the people who work for you describe you?
- What is it like to work for you?
- Describe the relationship you feel should exist between the manager or supervisor and those reporting to him or her.
- What aspects of your job do you consider most crucial?
- How do you define “teamwork?”
- How do you delegate work?
- How do you monitor the performance of your staff?
- As a supervisor, what is your greatest strength? Weakness?
- What has your staff criticized you for?
- Tell me about your best and worst hiring decisions.
- How much turnover have you had in your last department, and what accounted for it?
- What have you learned from your mistakes as a manager?
- In a new position, how did you feel when you first met the people who would report to you?
- Tell me about a time when you had to tell a staff member that you were dissatisfied with his or her work?
- How do you handle employees with an attitude problem?
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a highly emotional employee.
- How would you handle an employee who changed from a reliable, hard working employee to a problem employee?
- If you discovered an employee was cheating on expense reports, what would you do?
- Before you would fire someone, what factors would you take into consideration?
- What would you say to an employee who is frequently late for work?
- If I talked to your peers, what would they tell me about your ability to be a team player?
- What have you done to contribute toward a team environment?
- What kind of people do you like to work with?
- Tell me about a time when you worked on a team in an effort that failed.
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Name your three greatest weaknesses.
- Which is the worst of your three greatest weaknesses and why?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What part of your current job are you the least comfortable with?
- What are your weak points and how have you overcome them?
- What about yourself would you want to improve
- In which area do you need to make the improvement in?