MockQuestions

Straight-to-the-Point Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 17 direct and to the point interview questions.

Direct was written by and updated on February 13th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 17

Do you have any plans for continued education?

How to Answer

The interviewer would like to know if you are planning to complete some higher education. If you are, it is essential that you express your desire to work in tandem with your classes. The concern of the interviewer is that you will be hired, trained, and then want to leave your job to go back to school full time.

Some organizations will offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for their employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. If you are an accountant at a firm, you want to avoid saying that you would like to take courses in zoology.

Written by Rachelle Enns

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List of 17 Direct Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    Do you have any plans for continued education?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if you are planning to complete some higher education. If you are, it is essential that you express your desire to work in tandem with your classes. The concern of the interviewer is that you will be hired, trained, and then want to leave your job to go back to school full time.

      Some organizations will offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for their employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. If you are an accountant at a firm, you want to avoid saying that you would like to take courses in zoology.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "I believe that continued education is always a good idea. I like to expand my knowledge when possible. With that said, my job would always come first. I understand that you have a tuition reimbursement program for your employees seeking related coursework. I would be interested in learning more about this down the road."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "I like the idea of taking some coursework in Excel and Powerpoint; however, I have no plans to exit the workforce to gain another degree for instance. If other industry related opportunities present themselves, I would be interested."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "Continued education is important to remain knowledgeable and relevant in your industry. As a leader, I also encourage my team to expand their industry related education where they feel led. I would be interested in earning my PMP Certification at some point; however, that would have to be in tandem with work."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "Being in Marketing, we are lucky to have a multitude of options when it comes to continued education. I love improving my work-related knowledge. Does your company encourage the completion of any particular coursework?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "I do not have specific plans to continue my education. However, I would not turn down an opportunity to expand my knowledge in retail. Perhaps down the road, I would enjoy taking some courses to help me ease into a retail management role with your company."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "In sales, it is important to stay on top of your industry. For that reason, I believe that related coursework is always beneficial. I have had my eye on obtaining my Executive MBA one day. Of course, I would obtain this over the course of a couple of years as I work full time. Does your company encourage continued education, or offer tuition reimbursement?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "As a teacher, continued education is vital to remain up to date and effective in the classroom. I am very interested in continued education opportunities. My current district has a few opportunities for professional development throughout the year, in which I always participate. Could you tell me more about your professional development and continued education opportunities?"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 2.

    Why did you leave your last job?

      Admin

      "I left my last job once our Director announced that he would be selling the company. I truly joined the organization to learn from him, which I was able to do for the past five years. I did leave without another position lined up only because I had not taken a vacation in almost three years. I spent the summer in Italy with my family and am now ready to enter the workforce again."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "My most recent company went through a merger this year, and unfortunately I fell victim in the third round of layoffs. I had obviously hoped to have made it through the layoff phase; however, I believe this layoff means that there is something bigger and better out there for me. I hope to find that great long-term opportunity with your esteemed organization."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "Jumping from position to position is certainly not my forte, so it was a very challenging decision to leave my role after just a few months, without a new one in the works. The owner of the agency itself was a very nice person; however, the way the company operated was simply not for me. I would get phone calls from clients at all hours and had zero balance when it came to my personal life. I did a gut-check and knew that I could not keep up the pace and maintain my values at the same time. I have picked up some freelance marketing work in the meantime to supplement my income."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "I left my previous position after a falling out with my Regional Director. She was terminating staff across the country, without reason, and not in compliance with HR policy and best practices. I decided that it was in my better interest to distance myself from the situation than to stay. I realize that I left without another job, but maintaining my integrity means everything to me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "I left my most recent job because the company was in dire financial trouble - you may have seen it in the news. I decided to be packaged out rather than stay with the sinking ship. Since then I have done some travel and have put out a few applications; although I am very choosy where I end up next."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "Relocation is my reason for leaving my previous teaching job. My wife transferred here for work, and I did not want for us to travel back and forth every weekend. I finished out the school year, of course. I am new to this great city and am very excited about the opportunities present, as well as the chance to become a solid fixture in this community."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "This was the most challenging/stressful job I’ve had. I didn’t like the responsibility I had as an insurance advisor and the pressure my boss put on me. I want to come across in my answer that I’m grateful for experience etc but after 2 years I realized I want to stick to an administrative role. What do you think of the answer below?



      I learned so much in the 2 years I was at _______. I received my Property and Casualty Insurance License within the first 90 days of employment which is my greatest achievement to date. Being in an Advisor/Customer Service Specialist role in Insurance was something completely new that I had never done. I appreciate everything I learned about insurance while I was there and helped protect customers with their specific needs. I really felt like I made a difference. I came to a point after 2 years where I reevaluated my career goals and decided I wanted to be specifically in an administrative role and not an insurance advisor role so I began as a receptionist at ______."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Excellent! Your response clearly explains why you want to make a career move, which the interviewer will appreciate, and only speaks positively about your last role (this is crucial). Can you perhaps add in a sentence or two as well that discusses why you prefer administrative roles? What about this type of position excites you? Be sure the interviewer understands what you like about administrative work. Great job!!

  • 3.

    Do you know anyone who works for us?

      How to Answer

      Did you know that people with a friend at work are 7x more likely to engage in their work fully? (Source: Forbes) The interviewer would like to see if a friend referred you to this position, a former co-worker, or an industry acquaintance. This question is another way of the interviewer asking where you heard about the role, and if you have any connections from within. The organization may also have employee referral programs. You can keep your answer brief and to the point.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "I do not personally know anyone who works for your company; however, I am connected with a couple of your employees on LinkedIn due to common group interests. I look forward to getting to know your team!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "I am friends with a professional recruiter who recommend that I check out your company's job postings. She mentioned that you had an excellent reputation and that everyone she has placed with your company has seen long tenure."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "My former manager now works for your company, although in a different department. His name is James Smith. He's a great guy! I would be happy to fill out any referral paperwork if you wish."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "The marketing industry is a tight-knit one, and I have worked with people who left their jobs to join your company. I was always a bit envious, to be honest - this seems like such an incredible place to be. When I first saw your job posting I was very excited to sit down and create my application!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "My best friend referred me to this job posting. She is the manager of your Mount Royal location, Jessica Smith. She has said some incredible things about your organization, all which prompted me to apply!"

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "I have worked for your competitor for many years and have become familiar with many of your sales agents, and clients, simply from industry relation. I cannot say that I am friends, per say, but I am familiar with a few of your employees."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "My sister is a teacher at your school - Jessica Smith. She has been with your district for twelve years now. I recently relocated to this area because I wanted to be closer to her. I guess this is as close as it gets! We have always had a wonderful relationship, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with her, and the rest of your team."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 4.

    Are you applying for other jobs?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for answers to a few points when asking this question.

      1. The company wants to know what kind of timeline is present before you are scooped up by another organization.
      2. They want to know how discerning you are with your job applications.
      3. They want to know the types of roles that interest you.
      4. They want to hear that they are your top choice.

      You can certainly discuss your search but avoid giving too many details. Give the interviewer enough to satisfy the question without revealing your entire search. Some mystery is okay here.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 5.

    What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you are interested in your industry, and career growth, enough to take your professional development into your own hands. Even if your current employer does not offer perks like industry conferences or tuition reimbursement, there is no reason why you cannot take the initiative.

      You could:

      - Read industry or career-related books
      - Subscribe to relevant podcasts
      - Enhance your education with an additional certificate
      - Attend a conference related to your career or personal growth
      - Teach yourself a new software program
      - Read established journals and websites on a regular basis
      - Find a mentor who is senior to you, in your particular industry or career path

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 6.

    What is your philosophy towards work?

      How to Answer

      How you view work, and your career, will be a huge factor for the interviewer when determining your fit with their organization. Just like a company will have a value and mission statement, so should you. Your philosophy can be a quote that resonates with you or a list of values that are important to you. Be sure that your belief aligns nicely with the goals of the interviewing company. Be brief. The interviewer is not looking for a dramatic monologue.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 7.

    What is the toughest problem you've had to face? And how did you overcome it?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for an example from your work history. Avoid giving a personal example, unless you can very clearly tie the story back into your career. You do not want to be overly long-winded here. State the problem, how you approached it, and what the result was. If you received any accolades for your ability to problem-solve, you could discuss that as well.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 8.

    Have you ever been asked to leave a position?

      How to Answer

      Being asked to leave, step down, or flat out being terminated are all very rattling experiences. If you have been asked to leave a position, the worst thing to do it allow it to shake your confidence. Think of the circumstances surrounding your termination and turn them into a positive. Take responsibility for your part in the situation and then complete your response with what you learned. Keep your answer brief and avoid going on about how unfair it was, or how the employer will be 'sorry' they ever lost you. An interviewer will see a chip on your shoulder a mile away.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 9.

    What challenges are you looking for in a position?

      How to Answer

      A perfect employment fit needs to go both ways. Just like the interviewer needs to know that they like you, they want to see that you love them back! Mention a few of the challenges that you are looking for in your next position and be sure to tie them into the duties and responsibilities mentioned in the job posting, or job description.

      A challenge you may be looking for could be:

      - Learning a new software program
      - Leading a bigger team than you currently do
      - Higher sales quotas
      - A larger sales territory
      - A larger client base
      - A more prominent range of products or services
      - Stepping into your first leadership role

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 10.

    Are you willing to travel?

      How to Answer

      If the position in question requires travel, it will likely mention in the job posting. If you applied, knowing that some trips were needed, then - of course, you are okay with travel! But before blindly agreeing to any travel, you can ask the interviewer the percentage of travel expected in the role. Be sure to clarify day trips versus overnight travel. If you have limitations, this is the time to bring those up.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 11.

    Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?

      How to Answer

      This question is different than the 'Who is the biggest influencer in your life' because the interviewer is now referring to someone industry specific. Perhaps a manager took you under their wing at the beginning of your career. Maybe someone significant took a big chance on you and hired you for a job above your level of expertise. You may have even had someone senior to you breathe some words of affirmation that gave you a boost of confidence. If you are newer to your career, you can refer to a Professor who changed your thinking patterns, or a Career Advisor who steered you onto the right path.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 12.

    How would you ultimately describe your work style?

      How to Answer

      This question is not referring to your personality or character, but more towards your methodology when it comes to getting your work done. Talk to the interviewer about your day-to-day approach to projects, communicating with coworkers, or collaborating with clients.

      Your work style might be:

      - Collaborative
      - Well-Planned
      - Speedy
      - Flexible or Adaptive
      - Independent
      - Company-focused
      - Team-based

      Written by Rachelle Enns on February 13th, 2019

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  • 13.

    How do you handle sick days?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how you handle things when you need to call in sick. Do you email, text, or completely ghost on your employer? Be brief in your answer and reassure the interviewer that you are not the type to call in sick frequently. You can also ask them what their preferred method of communication is, should you fall ill.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 14.

    What concerns do you have about working in this position or for this organization?

      How to Answer

      Keep your concerns light. The interviewer needs to know if there is anything on which you need clarification. Always have a question or two prepared for the end of your interview and make sure they are insightful, rather than surface thoughts.

      Concerns could include:

      - What was the biggest struggle for the previous person in this role?
      - What do you expect to be the biggest hurdle for me, if hired?
      - What do you expect to be the biggest challenge for the company this year?

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 15.

    Why should I hire you over my other top candidate?

      How to Answer

      Oh goodness, this kind of question can get your heart pounding if you are not fully prepared to make your case. Think of some unique and stand-out qualities that will stay with the interviewer, long after your interview. This reply is not the time or place to say that you pay keen attention to detail. Choose a specific skill that is a 'must-have' for the role, or focus on a pain point that you can solve by being hired. Rely on your past achievements to back up your reply. Make the interviewer feel as though they will not succeed without you!

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 16.

    How did you hear about this position?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know a bit about your job search methods. Primarily, this question is for them to discover how they are attracting top talent like yourself! Your reply can be brief. If someone in the organization referred you, you should disclose that as well so that the interviewer can make the connection and the employee can receive recognition if there is a referrals reward program in place. This question is another opportunity to express your interest and excitement for the role also.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 17.

    How would your references describe you?

      How to Answer

      You have likely given the interviewer a list of references already; however, if you have not, be sure to bring a list with you to your interview. You should provide the names of at least two people who can give you recommendations, preferably individuals to whom you have reported. If you do not have any work experience, you can also refer to professors, high-school teachers, a pastor, a mentor, or even the parent of a friend who may know you well and can provide a character reference. If you have volunteer work, you can point the reference towards that experience as well.

      Some ways that your references may describe you:

      - High-integrity
      - Accountable
      - Reliable
      - Punctual
      - Accepting of feedback
      - Confident
      - Well-educated
      - Honest
      - Results-driven

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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