30 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 30
We like to hire well-rounded candidates at Company ABC. Walk me through your freight management experience.
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The interviewer is interested in knowing more about your range of experience in freight management. Try to focus the bulk of your answer on the primary focus of business at Company ABC. Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your resume and highlight any individual industry related training you may be received.
"My overall experience includes both domestic and international freight, with a special focus on sea transportation. The last four years of my employment has focused primarily on international freight. I am well versed in Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and have a full understanding of International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) compliance and national transportation regulations."
"I am new to the sea transportation industry; however, I have been studying SOLAS and IMDG in my spare time. I am ready to immerse myself in learning more about this industry."
If someone asked you the top 3 benefits of sea based transportation and logistics, what would you tell them?
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The interviewer would like to see that you have a genuine interest in the business they conduct at Company ABC. Briefly discuss with the interviewer what you feel the benefits of sea transportation are.
"There are some great benefits to sea transportation, but I believe the biggest three benefits of working with an organization like Company ABC are that it's a great solution for transporting heavy and bulky goods. Also, sea transportation offers much more flexibility when it comes to the materials allowed to be transported. Thirdly, sea transport allows the greatest quantity of materials in a load, because of their large storage capacity."
"That's a great question! If I had to choose the top benefits of sea transportation, I would say that it's more economical for large shipments, it allows for a wider range of materials to be transported, and it offers fewer restrictions on the type of materials shipped."
At Company ABC we connect businesses who need to ship their goods with businesses who require those goods. This means that relationships are everything to us. What is your customer service philosophy?
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Because Company ABC puts so much effort into their reputation, the interviewer needs to be confident that your philosophy on customer service aligns well with theirs. Be sure to research the Company ABC website and take note of any keywords they use when it comes to their clients and services. Match your language with theirs.
"I noticed on your website that you value your clients by actively listening to their needs. You also survey them regularly while staying on top of industry trends so that you can provide them with innovative new services. To me, customer service goes beyond friendliness and efficiency. You need to understand your customer's business needs and have the ability to analyze their future needs so that you can respond appropriately to their business landscape changes."
"I realize that "The customer is always right" must be a popular answer; however, I feel that first and foremost, the customer needs to trust your product and services. So, for that reason, I would say that my customer service philosophy is all about building trust and transparency."
We have many strong competitors at Company ABC. In your opinion, what sets us apart?
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Before your interview with Company ABC it's a great idea to get to know who their competitors are, and what makes Company ABC stand out from the rest.
Research online through a Google news search, or on the company website. If Company ABC has a 'News' or 'About Us' section on their website you will likely find some information on recent awards, industry accolades, etc.
"While researching Company ABC and the local market I did see that there are a few competitors in our area. What stood out to me was the enthusiasm of your team when I first applied here, and also the fact that you recently won the coveted Transportation Leadership Award. In addition to all of this, I see that Company ABC puts an important focus on carbon footprint. All of this makes you stand out from your competitors."
"You value your people and have an awesome culture centered around achievement, growth, and accountability, and you are disrupting an industry that needs some shaking up and you have science that is allowing that disruption. Honestly, the energy in here is contagious, which only make me more excited about the opportunity."
Why do you see Company ABC as a long term career fit? How does sea transportation fit into your long term career goals?
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Talk to the interviewer about the type of career growth that you would like to see with Company ABC. Why do you want a career in the sea transport industry, and how do you think this position will satisfy that desire?
"I love the logistics and critical thinking required of me in the sea transport industry. It is continually challenging. What excites me most about this opportunity is that there is room for advancement in a leadership role. I would like to work my way to a significant leadership position with Company ABC over the coming years."
"This position aligns nicely with my career goal of continued growth. The role is in my comfort zone, but a new enough approach that will intrigue me, and the company size is adequate to support growth."
6. At Company ABC our facility runs 24/7. What is your availability? Do you have a preferred shift? If Company ABC runs a morning, afternoon, and evening shift then you should go into the interview being very clear on your preference and availability.
The last thing you would want to do is take a role that isn't a fit for your lifestyle. Keep your answer to the point. There is no need to over-explain your scheduling needs. Here is an answer example: "My wife and I like to arrange our work schedules around our children's needs. For that reason, I am seeking an afternoon shift. This way I can continue to drive them to school in the morning." Here is an answer example: "Although I do not have many restrictions in my schedule, I do need to be available for a prior commitment on Friday evenings. Other that than, I am happy to accommodate any shift, and overtime, as required by Company ABC."7. Company ABC puts safety first in all situations. What would you do if you saw a co-worker performing unsafe work? The interviewer is wondering how you would react in a potentially unsafe work situation. If Company ABC is putting a lot of effort and resources into employee safety, they need assurance that you will appreciate those efforts and help to uphold their high safety standards. Answer this hypothetical question by using a real-life example, if possible. Otherwise, give a hypothetical answer. Be sure to compliment them on their safety efforts. Here is an answer example: "If I saw a co-worker performing hazardous work I would act according to Company ABC policy. If the individual reported to me, I would swiftly ask them to stop what they were doing and would re-train them on the correct behavior. I would be sure to document the situation as well. In my opinion, there is no room for safety shortcuts in the workplace, and I appreciate that Company ABC puts so much effort into safety efforts." Here is an answer example: "I believe that Company ABC has strong policies in place for unsafe behavior in the workplace. If I were to see a co-worker performing unsafe work, I would follow the protocols in place for a situation like that."8. Have you ever worked in a unionized environment? How do you feel about unions? You may love unions, or you may have adversity towards them. The best thing to do when you are asked a question like this is to give an answer that is positive, either way.
Like there is always two sides to a story - there is still a positive to find from either side. Talk about your experience in a union environment; however, if it was not a positive one, it's highly recommended that you avoid complaining. Pick a positive note and focus on that. Here is an answer example: "I feel that unions have their place in many situations. I worked in a unionized environment for three years with Company ABC, and the union created a smoother and more organized environment." Here is an answer example: "Although I have not worked in a unionized environment in the past, I do see why a union environment would be helpful to many industries and workplaces. They create strong policy, standards, and expectations that protect all parties. Are you a unionized environment here at Company ABC?"9. This position may require you to lift up to 50 pounds, bend, and stand throughout the day. Are you able to meet the physical requirements for this role at Company ABC? The interviewer wants assurance that you can safely handle the physical requirements of the job. The best way to answer this is to talk about the physical demands of your current / most recent position. Alternately, you can discuss the ways you ensure you're in peak physical condition. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I can meet these physical requirements. In my current position, I lift up to 65 pounds throughout the day. I have never had a physical injury in the workplace." Here is an answer example: "I have a slight restriction with lifting because of a knee injury from my days playing soccer. I can lift up to 50 pounds, bend, and stand; however, I do wear a knee brace. Rest assured, I diligently practice safety in the workplace and would never take on a task beyond my physical capabilities."10. Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond. Display to the interviewer that you can do more than just the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations. Here is an answer example: "Last week I noticed that my manager had not completed the schedule for the following week. Some of the staff were complaining that they didn't have their work schedule yet. Rather than going to my manager with the complaint, I offered to take on some of her workload so that she would have the time to complete the schedule. We worked together for a couple of overtime hours that day and were able to catch her up on everything. It felt good to help." Here is an answer example: "I often go above and beyond what is expected of me. Most recently, I agreed to cover for a co-worker who was on short-term medical leave. I worked 10 hour days for two weeks so that our work did not suffer any setbacks."11. I see that you have recently worked for one of our direct competitors. Do you have a non-compete agreement in place? In competitive markets such as the transport industry, you may sometimes be asked to sign a non-compete or non-disclosure agreement. Be honest and open with the interviewer about any existing restrictions you may have when it comes to working for a competing organization.
If you have a non-compete agreement: "I did sign a non-compete with my current company; however, it just asks that I do not purposefully poach any of my clients from the past three years. I am not restricted when it comes to accepting offers of employment from competing transport companies." Here is an answer example: "I did sign a non-compete with my current company; however, it just asks that I do not purposefully poach any of my clients from the past three years. I am not restricted when it comes to accepting offers of employment from competing transport companies." Here is an answer example: If you do not have a non-compete agreement: "I am happy to say that I do not have any restrictions to my employment."12. Every day is different when you work at Company ABC. When have you had to shift your priorities in response to sudden changes? Have you been asked to change your priorities on a dime? How do you react to this kind of shift in priorities? Assure the interviewer that you can respond professionally when it comes to sudden changes. Here is an answer example: "In my current role, our schedule is changed on a regular basis and always at short notice. I have been able to adapt very well to these frequent, sudden changes." Here is an answer example: "I had to shift my focus when I learned that we were acquiring a smaller competitor. I had to change my plans to incorporate a new team, with new ideas, process, and procedures. Instead of working solely toward increased productivity, I had to back up work toward bringing our new team up to speed and integrate them into our processes."13. At Company ABC we like to hire those who can think on their feet. When have you had to make a split second decision? How do you react under unexpected pressure? Being able to make quick decisions and think fast on your feet sets top-notch professionals out from the crowd. We all make a lot of choices every day, so start off by telling the interviewer that you currently make a lot of quick decisions each day. Next, be prepared with a more significant example that will be sure to impress. Here is an answer example: "My current position requires me to make tough decisions on a regular basis. I work well under pressure like that. With split-second decisions, I will always go with my initial instinct. Last week, I had to make an important transport decision based on unexpected weather. It worked out well because I am no stranger to multi-tasking and I have great support staff who are well trained and fast acting." Here is an answer example: "In my current fast-paced role, this happens often! We handle a lot of customer situations and put them first and foremost. Often, we have guidelines we follow, and there are also times when situations call for creative solutions to meet customer needs. I make split-second decisions when resolving these matters in the best interest of the customer and the company."14. If you could start your career over again, what direction would you take? A hiring manager will be able to tell a lot about your personality by learning about your other career interests. If you could do anything over, what would you do, and why? Here is an answer example: "I certainly do not regret the direction I have taken my career; however, if I had to start over in a new direction completely I would likely pursue my Degree in Education and become a teacher. Both of my parents were teachers, and they seemed to have a very fulfilling career. I enjoy coaching and leading others so, any tasks in my current career that related to these skills, are very welcome." Here is an answer example: "I waited before completing my college degree. While my career has been rewarding, I still wish I had gone to college right after high school."15. What are your strengths? Which personal advantages 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. Here is an answer example: "I think my strengths are in my perceptiveness and ability to be observant of the needs of others. These strengths are part of what makes me an excellent performer in a client facing role." Here is an answer example: "My biggest strengths include the ability to catch on to new material quickly, as well as my ability to maintain a positive attitude despite any negative situation. These skills allow me to be a valuable employee in nearly all situations."16. What are your weaknesses? This question is a pervasive one, but it continues to throw people off. This is not the best time to talk about your communication challenges with your partner or how you need to work on your golf game. Instead, focus on your professional life.
What is a quality that you are proactively working to improve? Whatever example you give, be sure that it is not a critical skill that will raise red flags to the employer. It's best to focus on a non-core skill when discussing your weaknesses. Here is an answer example: "Although I am an Intermediate level user in Excel, I found that I was not up to date on some of the great functions offered by the program. I decided to enroll myself in an advanced Excel course. That course starts next week! I look forward to being an expert user soon." Here is an answer example: "This is super cliche, but it's also true. I am not good at delegating to others. When I become submerged in a project, I don't like to give away any of the control. While this can be good, it can also definitely inhibit the outcome of the project and my growth as a team player and individual.
I am currently working on this, as I know it is a deficit."17. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people? Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity. Here is an answer example: "I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity." Here is an answer example: "I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster."18. What makes you the best candidate for this position? Bragging about yourself in an interview can be tough to do, but this is your time to shine! Which characteristics and career accomplishments have made you a stand-out candidate? Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given special accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you, and now you need to express that to the interviewer. Here is an answer example: "I am the best candidate for you because I have a consistent history of exceeding my targets and goals for the past three years. I have been promoted two times in the last year which is nearly unheard of in my current company. In addition to these successes, I have excellent cold calling skills which I will put to work immediately after being hired by your company." Here is an answer example: "I am the best candidate because I have the right background, education, and experience. I know that I can jump right in and get going with very little training time."19. Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What did you find challenging about it? The interviewer would like to know that you are capable of setting goals and reaching them. The person who aims to achieve more and more every day is the exact person that every manager wants to hire!
Discuss an example of when you overcame obstacles to reach a career related goal that seemed impossible. Or, share a time when you received an award, and talk about the most challenging parts of achieving that award. Highlight your determination and focus. Here is an answer example: "My company has a President's Club for all top sales reps. When you reach PC level, you earn a trip to Mexico! Last year I told myself that I was going to reach the President's Club level, no matter what it took. I worked an average of 50 hours per week, I doubled my cold calling numbers, and utilized areas of our Sales Force program that most people in our company don't even know about. Mixing my strong determination with sound technical skills, and willingness to push through, I made it! I was proud of this achievement." Here is an answer example: "After recently hiring an entirely new team of people to roll out a critical project, I realized they needed to learn to work together. I created a leadership training program and cross-functional work group sessions to bring this team closer at an accelerated pace. It was a challenge to schedule and break the ice early, but we did it well."20. How do you like to encourage ideas in others? Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members. Here is an answer example: "I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to the company, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful employees are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative." Here is an answer example: Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others:
- Get to know them and what they like to work on
- Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas
- Publicly praise their efforts
- If they are doing a great job, offer them more related opportunities
- If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas
- Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis
- Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it21. Would your former or current boss describe you as a worker who gladly goes the extra mile to complete their tasks? You can say that you will go the extra mile, but it's best to give a real-life example to the interviewer about a time when you did just that. Offer up your references as well and discuss with the interviewer what you feel your most recent employer would say about you. Here is an answer example: "My former boss would describe me as an employee who goes the extra mile. In my most recent position, I was always available by email, and many of my service clients had my cell phone number just in case of an after-hours emergency. When you call my reference he will be happy to expand on that for you, I am sure." Here is an answer example: Give examples of how you go the extra mile in the workplace. Here are some ways that employees will go the extra mile:
- Starting on an upcoming project ahead of time, without being asked.
- Taking action on any feedback, they receive from their manager. This action means taking a class to improve on a required skill or reaching a self-development book to help with communication skills at work.
- Coming to meetings ready to brainstorm or, better yet, with ideas already jotted down
- Creating new ways for themselves or their team to maximize efficiency
- Going out of their way to make their customers happy22. Judging by your resume, you appear to be overqualified for this position. What would keep you here, if you were offered the position? Sometimes, hiring an overqualified individual can mean that they will leave when a better opportunity arises. Talk to the interviewer about why this position would be satisfying for you, long-term. Here is an answer example: "I do have more years' experience than what you have outlined in your job posting; however, there are aspects of this position that would be new and exciting for me as well. For example, I would enjoy the exposure to more sales related duties. Despite my level of experience, there would be much for me to learn here." Here is an answer example: "I do not think that I am overqualified for this role. I do believe that I bring a lot to the table, but my last few roles were with smaller companies where everyone wore many hats and had time to handle more responsibility. I like the idea of focusing on one job for a change."23. How will you earn the trust of your coworkers? Workplace relationships are essential to nurture. Talk to the interviewer about how you plan to earn the trust of your new co-workers, should you be offered the position. Here is an answer example: "I feel that the best way to earn the trust of my co-workers is to be helpful, always do what I promise, and be honest with them at all times. Strong relationships have to be built on these principles." Here is an answer example: Here are some ways that you can build trust with your coworkers:
- Show common courtesy. Say hello, hold the elevator door, bring coffees now and then
- Be respectful in your communication, avoid over cc'ing unnecessarily in emails
- Avoid being a distraction, and respect the use of their time
- Respect their personal space and the line between work life and personal life
- Always ask if they have time before diving into a conversation
- Try to find the answer to your questions before running to ask a manager or co-worker
- Connect with them on LinkedIn but avoid more person social media platforms
- Treat everyone the same, regardless of their job title
- Do not complain about your job to your coworkers
- Reach out to new employees and make them feel comfortable
- Own up to your mistakes and fix them
- Be timely with your followups and meet your deadlines24. At Company ABC we believe in motivating our employees. How can we motivate you on the job? Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job. Here is an answer example: "I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well." Here is an answer example: Here are some ways that an employer may try to motivate you. Which ones resonate most with you?
- Incentive programs where points are earned
- Showing complete trust in your work and performance
- Setting smaller, more achievable goals
- Helping you to find your greater career purpose
- Being a positive example to you
- Maintaining an open and transparent workplace
- Personalized incentives vs. Team driven incentives
- Getting to know you on a personal level
- Positive feedback based rewards system
- Offering a healthy work/life balance by encouraging time off
- Letting you know your voice matters
- Allowing you to take the lead on projects that excite you
- Handing out big-picture projects, so you feel that you are contributing to the company's future
- Public recognition25. Have you ever helped to implement a significant company change, in one of your past roles? The interviewer would like to know that you have the type of personality where you can take initiative. Show that you are happy being an engaged part of your company, and team.
Perhaps a new company policy was coming into place, and you helped to execute some changes. Maybe a new employee benefit program was introduced, or a new software implemented. In your example, be specific about what you did, and the impact your actions had - whether short or long term. Here is an answer example: "Last month our company introduced a new software program called XYZ. I was already familiar with the program because I had used it in a previous role. I offered to do an employee training on the program, and my boss agreed to it. I took a lunch hour to give my presentation and then offered myself as the subject matter expert, moving forward. The implementation went very well, and my boss was thankful for my help." Here is an answer example: "In my current position, I helped to rearrange our scheduling to save the company money on overtime and temporary staffing. I was able to make significant changes which ended up saving our company nearly half a million dollars in the first year. It felt great to make such a huge impact."26. What do you think might be the greatest challenges faced in this job? How will you overcome these challenges? Even though it may seem like a dream job, the interviewer wants to know that you have realistic expectations of the role and that you will not be blindsided if problems or challenges present themselves. Keep your answer simple. It is okay to ask for clarification on the position if you do not fully understand what challenges are in store for you. Here is an answer example: "I think the greatest challenges in this role will be to learn the proper operation of the equipment. Another challenge will be the physical aspect of the position as I will be required to stand and walk around most of the day. I will be sure to pay keen attention to training and ask questions along the way. In regards to the physical component - I will get used to the additional activity after just a couple of days, I'm sure." Here is an answer example: "I would say the greatest challenges I'll face in this role is learning the industry ins and outs to be perceived as an expert when making the pitch to new clients. I'm not worried about learning the material or the pitch, but there's more to being credible than the company's pitch. I want to immerse myself in the industry jargon and attend as many seminars and conventions as possible. I've already begun subscribing and reading the leading industry publications so that I can get into the nitty-gritty of how it all works. Of course, I will also seek out mentorship opportunities where I can learn from folks who have been in the industry for years. I find they love to share their knowledge and it gives me a leg up."27. Would you rather be considered a personable leader or a dynamic leader? This question can be a tough one because everyone wants to be liked and considered personable. However, being a dynamic leader can make you a proponent for change in the organization. A hiring manager is going to want to know that they are hiring a change agent for their organization vs. a friend for their employees. Here is an answer example: "I do feel that I am a personable individual, but I won't always be everyone's cup of tea. I would much rather be a dynamic leader. As a dynamic leader I can ensure that the organization is benefiting from my presence and, at the same time, I can lead my team by example." Here is an answer example: "I believe that being a dynamic leader can be subjective as not everyone will like someone's version of dynamic, especially if they do not like them on a personal level. For that reason, I would rather see myself as a personable leader. Being so, I feel that I could connect much better with my team and get to know them on a deeper level."28. What are your salary expectations? The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise. Here is an answer example: "Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher." Here is an answer example: "I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."29. What would you do if you were made aware of a co-worker being dishonest or stealing from the company? Companies want to know they are hiring loyal employees. Make sure that you illustrate in your answer that you would do the right thing and represent the company for which you are working. Here is an answer example: "Unfortunately, dishonest employees are everywhere, and I certainly would not consider myself a 'whistle-blower' in the workplace. If I found that a co-worker was stealing, or doing anything to harm the company, I would approach them directly to ask what was going on. There is a good chance of the situation being a simple misunderstanding. If it wasn't a misunderstanding and the co-worker was outright defiant with their damaging actions, then I would bring it, professionally, to the appropriate parties." Here is an answer example: "I am sure that you have an internal policy for employee theft so I can assure you that I would follow the required steps to report the theft. I am a trustworthy person with a strong track record of honesty with my previous employers."30. What causes you to feel dissatisfied on the job? Everyone will have their particular triggers that cause them to feel dissatisfaction on the job. Talk to the interviewer about any factors that may deflate or discourage you in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "I can feel dissatisfaction on the job when I am not feeling heard or when there is not mutual respect among the team members. I work best in more harmonious situations where there is little drama or gossip." Here is an answer example: "I have felt dissatisfied on the job when I feel underpaid and overworked. I don't mind working hard at all, but I don't like to feel as though I'm being taken advantage of."
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