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3M Interview Questions

To help you prepare for a 3M job interview, here are 32 interview questions and answer examples.

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Question 1 of 32

At 3M we put a lot of emphasis on clear communication between all parties, departments, and sectors of our business. Tell me about your communication style.

How to Answer

The interviewer would like to be assured that your communication style is a close match to the communication preferences of 3M. When working for a conglomerate vs. a smaller, privately owned business your communication style automatically becomes more 'corporate' in nature. Briefly describe your communication style to the interviewer and be sure to include the ways in which you feel your communications styles align.



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32 3M Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. At 3M we put a lot of emphasis on clear communication between all parties, departments, and sectors of our business. Tell me about your communication style.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to be assured that your communication style is a close match to the communication preferences of 3M. When working for a conglomerate vs. a smaller, privately owned business your communication style automatically becomes more 'corporate' in nature. Briefly describe your communication style to the interviewer and be sure to include the ways in which you feel your communications styles align.



      1st Answer Example

      "My communication style leans more to the formal side. I like to be concise and keep expectations simple to understand. If I had to sum up my communication style in a few words I would say it is concise, clean, and friendly. From the communication exchanges I have had with 3M so far, I believe our communication styles are a great fit."

      2nd Answer Example

      "Some other words to describe your communication style:

      - Articulate
      - Conversational
      - Eloquent
      - Formal
      - Informal
      - Succinct"

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I'm trying to be formal and of course friendly to the customer and colleges. It has to be the right communication style to the right receiver."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This question helps give the potential employer insight into your level of self-awareness and helps them determine how well you'd fit within a particular team or the organizational culture as a whole. Remember, communication isn't just about the information you send out, but also how you actively listen or take information in. As with many other interview questions, it's important to be able to provide an example of a time when you communicated well and how that helped your team succeed. You can also share the benefits or drawbacks of your particular style. This demonstrates that you've taken the time to consider how you communicate with others as well as your own preferences around being communicated with.

  • 2. Because 3M is geographically widespread, we have to accommodate a variety of time zones. Do you have experience working with clients and co-workers in multiple time zones?

      How to Answer

      Working for a conglomerate corporation can bring some unique challenges as their global footprint may be vast. Be sure to express to the interviewer that you are able to successfully handle those challenges.

      If you have experience working with clients and co-workers in multiple time zones: "In my current position I collaborate with our offices in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, and Finland. It was a struggle at first to always remember what day and time others were working in; however, I now have a great desktop application that tracks this for me so I have quick reference to the information that I need."

      1st Answer Example

      "In my current position I collaborate with our offices in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, and Finland. It was a struggle at first to always remember what day and time others were working in; however, I now have a great desktop application that tracks this for me so I have quick reference to the information that I need."

      2nd Answer Example

      "If you do not have experience working with clients and co-workers in multiple time zones: "I do not have exposure to working around multiple time zones; however, this is something I could pick up on very quickly. With technology these days I am sure I could find some help with a handy phone or desktop application. Also, I am not opposed to working outside of business hours on the occasions where I would need to communicate with a client across the globe."

  • 3. At 3M we have business partners and interests all over the world. Are you open to international travel? Is there anything that would restrict you from traveling for work?

      How to Answer

      For many conglomerate corporations who have interests across the globe, international travel is a very important part of what they do. You must disclose to the interviewer if you are unable to travel internationally.

      If you are able to travel internationally: "There are no restrictions on my travel. I have a current passport as well as a valid NEXUS pass."

      If you are unable to travel internationally: "I do have restrictions on international travel which I can fully disclose to you if I am still eligible for this role. I expect to have this restriction cleared in the near future."

      1st Answer Example

      "There are no restrictions on my travel. I have a current passport as well as a valid NEXUS pass."

      2nd Answer Example

      "I am open to some international travel; however, for the sake of my family, I do not wish to travel more than 30% of the time. What percentage of travel is expected in this role?"

      User-Submitted Answer

      "There is nothing that would restrict me from traveling globally."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's great that you don't have any travel restrictions! You can also discuss whether or not you enjoy travel, any places your previous roles sent you to work, or places you've enjoyed visiting to demonstrate your capability to travel confidently and work with cultural sensitivity.

  • 4. Have you ever been employed through a company merger or acquisition? If so, tell me about your experience.

      How to Answer

      When your work history includes employment with large companies and/or conglomerate corporations the chances are high that you have experienced a merger or acquisition of some sort. Perhaps you have been laid off through a process such as this? Talk to the interviewer about your experience. They are looking for an idea of your attitude when it comes to change in a corporate environment. Maintain a positive attitude and avoid speaking negatively about any previous employers.



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  • 5. 3M puts a lot of focus on our local and global impact so we seek to hire those with the same values. What do you know about our company values, and how do they align with your personal values?

      How to Answer

      It is very important that you research 3M in great detail before your interview. Be prepared to discuss the global efforts currently underway and also research any local charity efforts that 3M supports. Discuss your own personal values and how they align with the values at 3M.



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  • 6. We have a few strong competitors. In your opinion, what does 3M do to stand out from the rest?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview it is important that you not only research 3M, but also their competitors. What do you think that 3M is doing better than any of their competitors? Be positive, compliment 3M on their efforts, and ensure that you do not bash the competitors at the same time.



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  • 7. Being a multi-national organization, there are many opportunities for career growth here. If hired, where would you like to take your career with 3M?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview be sure to visit 3M career opportunities online. Take note of the range in opportunities. Perhaps there are opportunities in other locations? What kind of growth is available in the particular department you are interviewing with? Assure the interviewer that you desire a long term opportunity with 3M by discussing the career path you would like.



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  • 8. Typical "corporate culture" is something that we work to avoid here at 3M. Tell me about your ideal workplace culture.

      How to Answer

      Workplace culture is incredibly important since we spend so much of our time at work! Talk to the interviewer about what your ideal workplace culture looks like. Share with the interviewer the factors that would make you want to stay with 3M long term.



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  • 9. At 3M we seek to hire those who are confident in their skills and proactive. How do you plan to make an impact on our business in the first 90 days?

      How to Answer

      It is a great idea to map out a proactive progress plan before your interview so that you are prepared to discuss the ways in which you plan to make an impact on 3M, if hired. Be sure to display confidence in your abilities but avoid trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the impact you wish to make. A great place to start would be to see if there appears to be a common need mentioned in the 3M job description/job posting.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "If hired, I would make an impact on your business quickly. I will do this by fully absorbing my training, taking any additional coursework if required, and building healthy co-worker relationships right out of the gates. Can you tell me more about the boarding process?"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great answer! It shows enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, and the ability to ramp up productivity quickly. You can also share how you'd contribute quickly through job shadowing, asking insightful questions, or practicing in hands-on scenarios to develop a clear understanding of your workplace, team, and job duties.

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  • 10. Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.

      How to Answer

      Talking about your greatest accomplishment will give the interviewer a strong idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments!



      User-Submitted Answer

      "During Christmas a very long time ago, my greatest work accomplishment was when I was alone on duty/shift. And we had a prior 1 incident with help - of course, I could solve the problem for the whole Germany."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds like this was a big accomplishment. Consider expanding your response by telling the interviewer more about it. This would be a good opportunity to use the STAR method. Share a Situation that had a positive outcome by describing the specific Task you were supposed to accomplish. Tell about the Action you took to overcome a challenge and complete the task. Finally, share the Result and how you contributed to the successful outcome."¨

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  • 11. Tell me about a time when you made a suggestion requesting change in an organization.

      How to Answer

      In addition to being able to handle change, can you also recognize when change is required and be confident enough to present that to your organization? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to make a suggestion for change in the workplace.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "When I suggested a change in my previous organization, I had several meetings with the company leadership, and I had to show a lot of numbers with possible outcomes to prove my case. However, in the end, the company decided to move forward with my suggestion."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a positive foundation to build on. Make this answer stronger by telling the interviewer what kind of change you recommended, why you recommended it, what you shared to support your case, who you shared that information with, and what the outcome was.

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  • 12. Tell me about the last time you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.

      How to Answer

      This interview question allows you to demonstrate your ability to be a self-starter. Show the interviewer that you are a motivated individual by telling the interviewer about a specific time that you took the lead. Include details of your project timeline, who you led, or what you had to teach yourself in order for the project to be successful. Be sure to complete your answer by telling the interview what the outcome was.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My last project was to optimize documentation and workflows of the it- support of die ZA. I have to establish work guidelines and confluence guidelines."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This sounds like a good example to use in your response! You've shared what the project was. Now, take it a step further by telling the interview why and how this project required you to take initiative. Did you have to assemble a team, do proactive research, recommend solutions, or resolve issues independently?

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  • 13. Have you ever taken a role in a company that hasn't fit into your long-term career plans?

      How to Answer

      Most people have taken on a position that was not a fit for them in the end. It's best top openly discuss any positions that you have held that were not a fit. This will assist the interviewer in being able to properly place you within their organization. Be sure to end your answer on a positive note, discussing how you bounced back from the misstep.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes, I currently am. Apparently, we are also receiving calls from normal customers who have nothing to do with its support. However, the company needs additional support so we are doing the job anyway. Furthermore, we are can expand our knowledge."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your response shows your willingness to be a team player and work outside your normal role to support the company's objectives. You can make your answer more impactful by sharing how taking on these extra responsibilities can help you expand your knowledge or skill set.

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  • 14. What are your strengths?

      How to Answer

      Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks.

      In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role.

      Some great strengths to mention are:

      - Communicative
      - Loyal
      - Collaborative
      - Tech Savvy
      - Flexible in Schedule/Availability
      - Persistent and Determined
      - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My strengths are my medical student experience and my residents' experience on 2 different continents. With this knowledge in a combination with my IT knowledge and work experience think I am perfect for the position.

      As a medical student, you have to retrain massive information very quickly and you need over-the-top conversation and people skills."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a good start! You can make this answer more impactful by telling the interviewer about the skills you honed as a medical student, resident, and IT professional that would benefit you in the role you're applying to. It's important to tie your strengths to the requirements of the role where possible.

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  • 15. At your current or former place of employment, how important was communication and dealing with others?

      How to Answer

      Are you accustomed to working in an environment where clear communication with others is key? Talk to the interviewer about your most recent workplace and how communication played a part.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "It was very important. For example, in my position, I have to articulate information in front of all stakeholders (CEO, PO's, engineers). We highly value clear communication."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a good start! You can make your response stronger by telling the interview what kind of information you shared with each level of stakeholder (senior management, POs, engineers). You can also provide examples of how you communicated or interacted with subordinates or colleagues each day. Did you communicate primarily face-to-face, via formal meetings, video conferences, etc? What was the outcome of your interaction with team members or others? For example, were tasks or projects completed on time? Did you avoid unnecessary rework or conflict? Did you develop a strong team bond and positive atmosphere?

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  • 16. Considering your background is in an industry different from ours, what skills and characteristics do you have that qualify you for this position in this industry?

      How to Answer

      There are many ways that you can be a fit for a position, even though you do not come with direct industry experience. Think about the variety of skills that you have and how those can benefit another employer, despite the industry. These are your transferable skills and they can include sales abilities, customer service experience, and software skills.



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  • 17. What type of work environment allows you to be the most productive?

      How to Answer

      Are you able to be productive in any environment? Are there particular types of environments that you find distracting? Discuss your preferences with the interviewer. Be sure to research the type of environment that is offered in this position prior to the interview.

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  • 18. How do you like to encourage ideas in others?

      How to Answer

      Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "I encourage the ideas of my colleagues during a normal conversation during a break. I try that they will be open-minded for any new ideas. That we are first trying it and then we will see."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      With this question, the interviewer is trying to gain insight into how you encourage others to think creatively. The ability to encourage and support others is a valuable skill that employers value. You can strengthen your response by talking to the interviewer about how you promote creativity within your team. For example - Do you provide verbal praise and encouragement or send a follow-up email after a conversation to let them know you think they have a good idea? Do you ask for others' opinions? Do you encourage taking risks to support continued innovation?

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  • 19. How would your co-workers describe your attention to detail?

      How to Answer

      It is always best to support your reply with a real life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job.



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  • 20. Tell me about your education.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know how your education has prepared you for this job. A few highlights you can focus on are some of the relevant topics you learned about while attending your courses. How will they help you in this new role? What were some of the most interesting things you learned?

      Some ideas for you:

      - If you have experience working on group projects, share how you improved your listening and communication skills when working on a challenging project.

      - If you learned a new type of software or how to work a type of equipment you will need to know in this new job, talk about what you know and how you will apply this new knowledge.

      While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned in your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include:

      - Time Management
      - Creative Thinking
      - Proposal Writing
      - Public Speaking
      - Presentation Building
      - Independent Learning
      - Academic Research
      - Self-Motivation

      User-Submitted Answer

      "With my current employer, I had the challenge to create a new concept of IT support and optimize the workflows. It's a challenge especially when you are alone in the team. I faced the challenge with more hours and educated myself by using Youtube. Youtube helped me with my daily tools like Confluence or Jira."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      You've shared your self-education via YouTube that has helped you better utilize tools like Jira or Confluence. However, this question also focuses on your formal education. Take this opportunity to share your schooling, degrees, certifications, or other professional training or development you've undertaken that would help you excel in the role you're applying to.

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  • 21. We are asking for 8 years of industry experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?

      How to Answer

      To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!



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  • 22. On a scale from 1 to 10, how honest are you?

      How to Answer

      Do you feel that you are a very honest person or do you have room for growth? This could be a tricky question as nobody is always 100% honest. Answer to the best of your ability and back your reply by speaking about your personal ethics.



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  • 23. How do you define success?

      How to Answer

      What does success mean to you? Tell the interviewer how you see success and be sure to tie your answer into the success that you plan to bring to this particular position, should you be offered the role.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "My definition of success is to hit all goals for my position and to show that my team can perform well. Also, customer satisfaction should rise."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      You've provided a solid definition of success. Now, make your answer even stronger by pivoting to relate an achievement such as exceeding performance goals or improving customer service KPIs that showcases what you mean. This makes your answer more unique to you and more memorable.

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  • 24. When have you had to lead by example?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you are aware of the need to always lead by example.

      "All the time!" As a leader, your actions, decisions, and demeanour are always under some form of scrutiny. The most stressful workplace situations often surround change so it's a great idea to talk about a time when your organization went through a major change. Change can be very challenging for some people. Discuss how you accept change with a positive attitude.

      Perhaps a new software system was being implemented. Maybe your company was being acquired. Perhaps a change occurred in your senior leadership. Talk about how easily your team could have leaned towards negativity by becoming unmotivated, or acting fearful of the change. Highlight that you have genuine excitement surrounding the possibilities that come with change and that this excitement rubs off on your team.

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  • 25. As a manager, who has been your greatest influence? A person that has defined what type of leader you wish to be.

      How to Answer

      Have you had a strong mentor in your management career? Talk to the interviewer about what type of influences have shaped your management style.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "For me, my greatest influence was Professor Hawkins. Despite all odds, he was successful in life which is a general consent by many others. He always looked up at the stars and not down at his feet. For future generations, we will never have such a different human being among us."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      You have chosen an admirable person to reference. Consider improving your answer by telling the interviewer specifically how Professor Hawkins has influenced the way you manage people or processes. Do you keep a positive perspective? Does he influence the way you view problems, approach obstacles, or defy limitations?

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  • 26. How do you balance life and work?

      How to Answer

      It is important to keep a healthy work/life balance in order to prevent burnout. Talk to the interviewer about how you are able to maintain that appropriate balance for yourself.



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  • 27. What was the most challenging aspect of your previous job? How did you overcome it?

      How to Answer

      Sometimes the greatest workplace challenge is a difficult task that puts you outside of your comfort zone. It could be something that requires skills you haven't mastered yet or qualities where you not the strongest. Explain to the interviewer why it was difficult but be sure to spend more time highlighting the actions you took to overcome the challenge.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "In my current job, the most challenging aspect is mostly the customer who often hast absolutely no knowledge about computers at all. Often they are specialized in dental care and how to bill the patient.

      I overcome the challenging questions to take simply my time and to explain everything to them on the level that the customers will understand the problem. However, I am not condescending to them."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is an example that shows your ability to provide excellent customer service. Consider enhancing it further by providing a specific example of a time when you helped a very upset customer or a customer with a more difficult problem. This would be a good opportunity to use the STAR method. Describe the specific Task you were supposed to accomplish. Tell about the Action you took to overcome a challenge and complete the task. Finally, share the Result and how you contributed to the successful outcome."¨

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  • 28. What sources do you look to when solving complicated problems?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you are able to think outside the box, or even ask for help, when you are stuck on a complicated problem. Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios.

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  • 29. How do you feel about performance incentives?

      How to Answer

      Performance incentives can be very motivating. Talk to the interviewer about your feelings re: performance incentives.



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  • 30. What are your salary expectations?

      How to Answer

      The best way to discuss your salary expectations are to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.



      User-Submitted Answer

      "My salary expectations should be in the range from 65T€ to 75T€."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      I appreciate your straightforward answer, but this question usually requires a bit more finesse. You can improve your answer by eliminating the annual salary numbers. Instead, assure the interviewer that you have a flexible salary range, but that you'd like to be compensated appropriately based on your experience and performance record. It may be more appropriate to provide a specific number when you're discussing the details of the position or when you receive an offer. You can also ask the interviewer to share what the range is for the role.

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  • 31. If you had a co-worker call in sick and you were asked to take over their project requiring overtime from you, how would you react? Where do you draw the line when it comes to being a team player?

      How to Answer

      Show your confidence to your interviewer by explaining your willingness to be part of the team and not being afraid to pick up the slack when needed, but make sure you don't allow someone to take advantage of you.

      User-Submitted Answer

      "If my coworker had to call in sick I would sure pick up the slack. However, it should be not a habit and not to the point where I am being taken advantage of."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      Being willing to step in and help others in a crunch is a great characteristic to have! You can make your answer clearer by telling the interviewer how you would set and communicate your boundaries around impromptu over time.

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  • 32. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

      How to Answer

      If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I think my performance was quite well and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great response when you feel that you've interviewed well. Giving interviewers the opportunity to ask any clarifying questions also solidifies your sincere interest in the role. However, if in actuality you feel that you did not perform as well as you'd like, this is also a good place to ask the interviewer for the chance to clarify a previous answer.

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