32 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 32
At Company ABC we connect businesses who need to ship their goods to companies 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."
"My customer service philosophy is simple. I deliver the exact level of service to my customers that I would expect to receive, myself. Treating people with kindness is a simple first step to creating a strong and lasting customer relationship."
Although we have a great training program at Company ABC, we are seeking to hire someone with an intermediate level of experience in our industry. What types of transportation services are you most experienced with?
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Although the answer to this question may be on your resume, the interviewer would like for you to expand on your experience and give them a bright idea of your expertise level in their industry. Be sure to highlight the knowledge you have that directly relates to the business focus of Company ABC.
"The bulk of my experience in the transportation industry comes from my time as a dispatcher in Expedited & Emergency, Temperature Controlled, and Border Crossing focused transportation. I have approximately 12 years' experience total. I would rate myself as an intermediate to an expert level employee in most areas of transportation and freight."
"My experience in transportation services is vast. I have worked in this industry for the past ten years, primarily in heavy haul transportation. I do look forward to learning even more, through your training program."
We run Company ABC as a 24/7 operation. Do you have any limitations on your hours and availability?
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If you have any restrictions in your schedule, now is the time to discuss those. If you are not sure of the hour's requirement for this job it is okay to ask the interviewer for further details before you give your reply.
"I understand that with a 24/7 operation there are many shifts available. Could you tell me more about what those look like?"
"Because I have young children at home my preference would be to work as close as possible to their school schedules. With that said, I am always open to working overtime and covering shifts whenever needed."
Considering the multiple competitors that we have, why do you want to work for Company ABC?
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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."
"From my research, I see that your business is the longest standing company in the area. Also, you have the most positive customer reviews online. After reading through your website, I saw a common theme of dedication to exceptional service and customer satisfaction. These are just some of the factors that make you stand out as the best potential employer in this industry."
At Company ABC all of our transportation vehicles are outfitted with Qualcomm on-board computers. Do you have experience with this type of equipment?
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The interviewer would like further details on the types of software, programs, and technical equipment with which you have experience. How you rate your level of expertise will determine how much Company ABC will need to train you if selected for the position. Discuss your level of exposure to Qualcomm onboard computers or similar programs.
"I have approximately five years' experience with Qualcomm onboard computers and other similar systems used for GPS monitoring and communication. I would rate my abilities in this system as Intermediate."
"Although I have not worked with the Qualcomm system before, I do have experience with other onboard software. I am technically savvy and more than willing to start learning the Qualcomm system on my own time, before starting in this position."
6. Company ABC provides transport services to a multitude of clients. What do you know about our clientele and the channels of business we service? Before your interview, be sure to research Company ABC and the types of clients and businesses they serve. In addition to their website, a quick Google search could tell you a lot about their clients and business channels. Give your best answer and be sure to ask the interviewer for further details. The more you know, the better off you will be in the next step of interviews with Company ABC! Here is an answer example: "From the research I have conducted, my understanding is that you service businesses primarily within Retail, Automotive, Industrial, Food & Beverage, and Chemical. Is this correct? I would love to learn more." Here is an answer example: "I have researched your organization quite a bit and am impressed with the range of business and clientele to which you provide transportation services. From my understanding, you primarily service manufacturing clients who consider themselves to be small to medium-sized operations. I see that you have many longstanding relationships with your clients and that much of your business comes from a core group of returning clients."7. Productivity and communication are our top concerns at Company ABC. In your opinion, what suffers the most when synergy between dispatcher and driver is not present? The interviewer would like to know that you have a natural tendency to think about the good of the business and that you understand how important clear communication is within the transportation industry. Talk a little bit about the aspects of business you feel suffer the most when communication is not healthy between dispatcher and driver. Here is an answer example: "When communication is not strong between a driver and dispatch, it can become a costly problem. When there is a strong synergy between the two, a company can significantly reduce fuel consumption and greatly improve customer service." Here is an answer example: "What suffers most when synergy between dispatcher and driver is not present, is team morale. When communication is strong, employees want to stay in their jobs, they work harder, and are more motivated to make an effort for their company."8. We seek to promote those who show initiative at Company ABC. Where would you like to see your career grow in the next 5 years? Onboarding new employees is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for any employer. Assure the interviewer that you see long-term career potential with Company ABC. It is highly recommended that you research the company online to discover any opportunities for future growth. Do they have multiple locations? Is there a variety of departments? Where do you see yourself growing within Company ABC? Be enthusiastic when you discuss your long-term career plans! Here is an answer example: "I am looking for a long-term career opportunity within the transportation industry. I feel that this role with Company ABC is a perfect step in my career now, and for the future. I see that you have operations management positions open. My dream would be to earn a leadership role with Company ABC down the road." Here is an answer example: "In 5 years I would like to be seen as an authority in our industry. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."9. The transportation industry is ever-changing. At Company ABC we seek to hire individuals with a keen interest in this industry. How do you stay up to date on transportation related current events? The interviewer would like to confirm that you have a genuine interest in the transportation industry. Perhaps you read transport related magazines, follow particular mechanical journals or subscribe to a blog related to this industry. Briefly share with the interviewer how you stay up to date on current events related to Company ABC. Here is an answer example: "I am always interested in learning more about this industry and the changes that are taking place. Most frequently, I read Canadian Trucking Magazine. There are also a couple of blogs that I follow including NADA Commercial Truck Blog and TruckingTruth." Here is an answer example: "It is a challenge to stay up to date on the transportation industry, with policy changing on a regular basis. The most reliable source that I utilize is 'Transport Topics.' With that said, I love to learn about new resources. Would you mind sharing with me your favorite source of transportation-related news?"10. Because of the nature of business at Company ABC we conduct background checks on employees. This includes criminal background, credit, drivers abstract, and education verification checks. Are you willing to comply? Most companies in the transportation industry need to be very cautious about who they hire. There is a chance that much of the information you are going to access could be confidential and you may be assisting with the transport of dangerous goods. Assure the interviewer that you are most willing to comply with any form of background check they require. Here is an answer example: "I am happy to comply with any background check required. My criminal and driving record is clean, and I have a strong credit history. I do not participate in drug use, either. You can be assured that if you hire me for this role with Company ABC, I will maintain a clean record." Here is an answer example: "I fully understand why a complete background check would be required in this field of work. I am happy to comply with any checks that you need to conduct."11. Describe an ongoing problem at your current or former employer that you were able to overcome. Every place of employment will have its challenges. Talk to the interviewer about a specific issue that you were able to overcome in your previous role. Be sure to remain positive. Avoid complaining or saying negative things about your last employer or co-workers. Here is an answer example: "In my most recent position we had an ongoing concern with our most popular stock depleting before the new shipment would come in. Customers would become annoyed and upset, which then became an issue for me as the Customer Service Manager. I decided to document the cycle and then approach the Inventory Manager about my concern. We were able to work on a solution for ordering from that particular supplier. In the end, this solved the majority of supply issues." Here is an answer example: "A recurring problem that I have in my current position is the fact that our client management software is not user-friendly. Any entry that I need to make is incredibly time-consuming which poses a real problem when a deadline is present, or when we have clients waiting for an answer. I have found that the best workaround for this is not to allow my paperwork to build up. The more proactive I am, the better I can keep ahead of schedule."12. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work? Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!" Here is an answer example: "Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."13. 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 make a lot of quick decisions each day. Next, be prepared for 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 two high-profile clients show up for a meeting at the same time. One client was late, and the other was early. I did not want anyone to feel bad for being late or too early, so I had each party placed in a different conference room. My colleague started the meeting with our early meeting while I met with the client who was late. It worked out well because I am no stranger to multi-tasking and I have great support staff." 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 am delighted with the direction my career has taken. If I could change anything I would perhaps have furthered my education to include a unique focus; however, I have no regrets!"15. How would you describe your work ethic? When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific examples or keywords to which they can relate. When you read the company job, posting or job description do they refer to particular company ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your work values. Here is an answer example: "I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your company as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your clients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my employer every day." Here is an answer example: Here are some other words to describe your work ethic:
- Strategic16. How would you describe your written communication skills? Being a clear communicator, in written form, is a critical skill to master. Have you taken any courses in communication and writing? Are you confident in your written communication skills? Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story. Here is an answer example: "I would describe my written communication skills as very strong and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism." Here is an answer example: "My written communication skills are powerful. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for associates to go back to, and reference, plus they might answer any questions that come up along the way."17. How would you describe your personality? Personality and character are two very different things. The interviewer is looking for more information on your traits vs. your integrity. These traits could include buzzwords such as introverted, energetic, and confident. Here is an answer example: "I would describe my personality as approachable, light-hearted, and positive. I believe that, if asked, my colleagues and supervisor would say the same about me." Here is an answer example: Here are some words you can use to describe your personality:
- Witty18. When have you had to think outside of the box to solve a problem? Talk to the interviewer about a time that you have solved a problem solved creatively. Were you happy with the outcome? Here is an answer example: "In my current position we saw a decrease in clients due to a local economic downturn. I recommended to our head office that we begin to generate business outside of our region for the first time in many years. They agreed, and the idea turned things around for us that fiscal year." Here is an answer example: "I once had to deal with a space issue in our warehouse. We arranged and re-arranged several times and could not make it work. I thought outside the box and rented some outside pod storage until we were back to normal inventory levels."19. When you have a problem at work are you one to carefully consider what is at stake or do you jump in and hope for the best? It is essential to be able to quickly, yet effectively, assess an issue in the workplace. Talk to the interviewer about how you handle a problem at work. Here is an answer example: "I have been with my current company for many years, so the majority of problem-solving comes second nature to me at this point. However, when I first started this job, I would have to spend more time in careful consideration before jumping in. I would say that when I have a problem, I have a healthy balance of the two." Here is an answer example: "That depends on the situation and seriousness of the problem. I will not jump in with rash decisions on a problem that has a major impact on our business, but I will change coffee vendors on a whim to save money or increase satisfaction."20. How many days were you absent from work last year? A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance. Here is an answer example: "I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift." Here is an answer example: "I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."21. List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role. You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include capabilities that will potentially benefit this potential new employer. Here is an answer example: "In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong skills in a variety of Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint and Excel." Here is an answer example: Here are some transferable skills that you may have acquired along the way:
- Leading a team
- Intricate problem solving
- Particular software experience
- Organizational training
- Time management
- Listening skills
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
- Giving presentations
- Training new hires
- Hiring or on-boarding
- Research22. Do you think honesty is always the best policy? Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on honesty in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem, and reality isn't always best expressed in full and can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy." Here is an answer example: "Honesty is always the best policy. Often, it is just a matter of how you communicate and deliver your message so managing this with each situation is critical to building honest and trustworthy relationships."23. 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 being 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 plans, so you feel that you are contributing to the company's future
- Public recognition24. When do you best demonstrate yourself as a leader? The interviewer wants to know that you are confident about your leadership abilities and that you understand when your leadership abilities have been most useful.
Perhaps you best demonstrate yourself as a leader when your manager is away. Maybe you often jump into a leadership mindset when a co-worker is struggling. Think about a recent time when an employee on your team was successful at something because of your leadership skills. Discuss the scenario and how your leadership skills made the difference. Here is an answer example: "I best demonstrate myself as a leader when I know that a coworker could use my assistance. I seem to be a natural teacher and mentor which means that when someone is struggling, my first instinct is to train them. Just recently, I coached a new employee on a sales technique that helped her to achieve her quota for the first time. I look forward to working in this role with you because it will allow me to take on further leadership opportunities." Here is an answer example: "In my current position, every time my current manager is away, I take on the role of leader for our team. This opportunity usually comes one day per week. When you call him for a reference, he will be able to tell you that I have naturally stepped into the responsibilities associated with being a leader."25. What personal traits do you look for in people you are hiring? Everyone has a "type," even in the workplace. Talk to the interviewer about the characteristics and personality types that you tend to hire and why you lean that way. Here is an answer example: "type," Here is an answer example: "I look at experience and qualifications but most of all, I seek relational competence. Someone who has the personality and fit to thrive in our fast-paced environment. When you have all of those things, you can truly fire on all cylinders."26. How do you balance life and work? It is essential to keep a healthy work/life balance to prevent burnout. Talk to the interviewer about how you can maintain that appropriate balance for yourself. Here is an answer example: "I find that with the right company, it's pretty simple to balance life and work. When I enjoy what I do it doesn't feel like a chore. I am always sure that when at home, my family gets my attention first. I take time on the weekends to do things for myself and ensure that I regenerate before the work week begins." Here is an answer example: "I ensure a strong balance between life and work by spending my free time doing the things that I love. I will go mountain biking, or take my kids to the swimming pool. By making the most of my personal time, I regenerate and perform better at work."27. What sources do you look to when solving complicated problems? The interviewer wants to know that you can think outside the box, or even ask for help when you are stuck on a complicated problem.
Maybe you look to a mentor or boss for advice. Perhaps you have handbooks, manuals and systems you turn to for help. Offer some relevant examples based on your industry. If you work in the medical field, you may turn to textbooks, online research, colleagues or even patient's history to find the right solution. If you work in customer service, you may ask the customer what they need to find the best way to solve the problem.
Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios. Here is an answer example: "When faced with a complicated problem, I will look to the resources that my current company has provided me. The answer is almost always in there. If it's more of a moral dilemma vs. a knowledge-based dilemma, I will ask my supervisor for his thoughts and opinion since I value him as a mentor and expert in our industry." Here is an answer example: "To solve a complex issue, I will reach out to a manager or mentor from a previous role to ask them how they've handled such issues in the past. I am always ready to dive back into our handbook, but these types of scenarios are often not covered there, which is why I value a human, experiential approach. I know that there are so many folks in the industry who have so much to teach me and have probably already "been-there-done-that," so I love to utilize them as a resource."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 $60,000 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 could your current employer do for you that would have prevented you from looking for a new job? There are just a few reasons why an employee would want to leave their current position. Talk to the interviewer about your reasons for moving on and what could have prevented you from starting your employment search. Be sure to avoid speaking negatively about your current employer. Here is an answer example: "What prompted my search was a reduction in hours and a pending lay off in the fall due to lack of business. I am satisfied with the majority of aspects when it comes to my current position, but it just isn't providing for me financially." Here is an answer example: "All employees want is to feel valued, appreciated, and to make a good living. My current employer is relocating to another state, and I am not interested in relocating. Other than that - they fulfilled my needs as an employee, in most ways."30. How long have you been looking for a job? Talk to the interviewer about your job search. Have you been on the lookout for a long time? How successful has your search been? You can also ask the interviewer how quickly they are hoping to hire. Here is an answer example: "I have been on the search for perhaps a month or so. I am now just beginning to become more aggressive in my job search. How quickly are you looking to make a decision?" Here is an answer example: "I am a passive job seeker who is keeping abreast of opportunities that are right for me. I think it's best to look for a new position while currently working. It prevents rash decisions made out of desperation."31. Do you believe it is possible to be a good team member yet disagree with the leader? The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.
Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.
Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading. Here is an answer example: "I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion." Here is an answer example: "Yes, I think it is possible! What makes a great team member is not that they agree with everything but the level of respect and positive thought that goes into the person's communication style. It's okay to disagree; you just have to communicate your thoughts professionally."32. You have a couple of gaps in your resume. Can you explain these? When responding to this question, make sure you answer honestly about your gaps of employment, whether your gaps are due to staying home with the kids, an illness, taking care of an ailing parent, or taking some time off to think about a career change. Here is an answer example: "The first gap in my resume was from 2007 - 2008 when I took a year off after completing University, to travel. Even though I was not working, I learned so much about business and interpersonal communication during that year of travel. After being laid off in 2012, I was without work for six months. Those are the only two gaps in my resume." Here is an answer example: "Absolutely! There were two times where I had a gap in my career. One gap was taking time off for personal reasons in between a great career pivot. The other, I took some time off to attend schooling for a certificate to be better at my work."
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