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Tough Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 30 of our hardest interview questions.

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Question 1 of 30

What is your long-range career objective?

Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.

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30 Tough Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. What is your long-range career objective?

      How to Answer

      Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.

      Answer Example

      "While visiting your company website I noticed that you have some leadership opportunities available in a variety of locations. I would love to work my way into a management or leadership role with your organization and would be willing to relocate to do so. I like what your organization stands for, and I hope to see a current fit, and future growth, here."

      Admin

      "Currently I support a couple of management-level executives; however, as you can see from my application to your position, I wish to gain a position that includes supporting executives in the C-suite. I want to earn my way to the top of your executive chain by proving my dedication to the people whom I support."

      Manager

      "My long-range objective is to be a director within your organization. I am constantly looking to improve myself professionally and personally and would welcome the opportunity to do that within your organization."

      Marketing

      "I am looking for a position with which I can grow, specifically into a Director of Marketing position. I know it's a few years off, of course, but that's where I am looking to end up within the next 5 or so years."

      Retail

      "I am a long-haul type of employee, as you can see from my decade-plus employment with my current organization. That said, I am looking to make a longterm career change. One in which I can grow into an executive management role, with my eyes set on GM of the store in the next four years or so. Of course, I know there are plenty of milestones to reach on the way to that end and intend to achieve floor manager in the next 1-2 years."

      Sales

      "My long-term goal is to move into an executive leadership role: ideally a VP of Sales or Customer Success. That said, I know there is a long way to go to getting there, so my next goal is a management role. I love that you promote heavily from within and I look forward to the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the organization into an executive role."

      Teacher

      "My long-range career objective is to extend my post-secondary education to include a Masters' degree and eventually work my way into a Vice-Principal position. If my passion as an educator could influence other teachers, that would be my biggest dream."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "My long-range career objective is to get to know the company better, and I hope to be given challenges and opportunities that will allow me to enhance my skills and management experience. Hopefully, soon, gaining enough exploration with my skills and experience, I will be promoted to a management position."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems you have a clear path set out for yourself. If there are specific challenges and opportunities that you would like to see (i.e., leading bigger teams, writing new HR policies, taking workshops), that would be an excellent addition to your response.

  • 2. Why should we hire you?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.

      Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.

      Answer Example

      "You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started at my current company, I was the youngest salesperson they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the #1 sales person in the company within six months. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in this industry to the point where I commit myself to take at least one business development or leadership related workshop every business quarter. I am a competitive achiever. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."

      Admin

      "You should hire me because I'm qualified and passionate about your cause. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to your organization and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your customers."

      Manager

      "You mentioned earlier in the interview process that you were struggling with maintaining staff and retaining them. I have an incredible onboarding strategy that took my current company from a 35% turnover rate to just 5% in twelve months. I will turn this pain point around for you."

      Marketing

      "I know that my years in sales, freelancing as a marketer, and working on different marketing campaigns have prepared me to be a great asset to your team. I believe that I am the best fit for the role because of my experience, passion for marketing, and more specifically, excitement for your company and product. Having been a customer and fan for years, I know that I will be able to bring more fire and energy to the role than my fellow applicants, and am certain that I am the right fit for your team."

      Retail

      "I have over a dozen years of experience in a related industry at one of your largest competitors. I have a proven track record of successes there and will bring that knowledge with me. I also offer creative solutions on how to position your department against the competition, and ideas that will help elevate your business to the next level. Having been a part of the industry for nearly half of my life, I have seen a ton of change and have adapted to every change or innovation with ease and excitement, and I look forward to doing that at your company as well."

      Sales

      "When I read the job description, I smiled because it was as though you wrote it with me in mind. I have three years dedicated to exceeding my sales goals, inside and outside sales experience, and I know the industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current job, making me ideally positioned to help you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics. Not to mention, I am looking for a company that I can stay with for the long haul, something that you said you value earlier as well."

      Teacher

      "In addition to winning the 'Top Educator of the Year' award in my current district this year, I also bring an elevated level of education compared to most candidates. I have my Masters' Degree in Education and have also taught first-year University classes for future educators. I look forward to bringing this knowledge and influence to your school."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "Because I am a very focus individual, who's engaged and eager to achieve results.

      I also love your company, and I would be proud to be part of it."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great start. I assisted in expanding your response slightly. See my suggestion below.

      "I am the right fit for this position because I possess a high level of skill, focus, and eagerness to succeed. I have explored areas of improvement, and I am dedicated to exceed expectations and grow my career through this opportunity. I have a strong affinity for the company and would be honored to be a part of it."

  • 3. Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.

      How to Answer

      The interviewers would like to know what sets you apart from what is written on your resume. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status. Stick with a couple of interesting facts to show the interviewers that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

      At the end of your response, remember to connect the factors you discuss and how they will ensure that you are a stellar choice for their open role.

      Answer Example

      "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in various races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit. I believe my competitive nature will benefit me in this role as I will show a consistent drive to deliver my best work every day."

      Admin

      "I am a complete organization nerd, which you may have already gathered from our interview time together. I have created and designed customer personal planners that I sell on Etsy as digital downloads. My shop offers me a great side income and essentially runs itself. This organization and desire for order will help me succeed as an administrative professional since I pay attention to and fix details that most people may not even notice."

      Manager

      "I currently run a meetup group in our city for ultimate frisbee! I have met many new friends this way and always encourage my team to participate when they can. By immersing myself in healthy competition, I have learned a lot about team building and collaboration in the workplace. As I grow these traits, I witness myself becoming a more skilled manager at the same time."

      Marketing

      "I am a certified yoga instructor, and I spent three months after college traveling and doing yoga. I spent six weeks in Asia and another six weeks in Latin America, and it was a fantastic experience that helped me grow as both a yogi and a professional. For instance, I have grown in my acceptance of roadblocks. I have also developed a great deal of patience and mental fortitude, factors that will certainly benefit me in my career within the fast-paced marketing industry."

      Retail

      "I moved here from Ukraine when I was 8, speaking only Russian, and learned English from my Palestinian neighbor who spoke zero Russian. How? I'm still not sure, but we were pals and hung out daily and somehow figured out how to communicate! This experience taught me a lot about the importance of eliminating preconceived notions of others based on their background. I believe this experience has helped me to embrace diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. I consider myself an ally to all and will bring this mentality to work every day, ensuring I uphold the inclusive culture this organization has worked hard to develop."

      Sales

      "I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you! Being bilingual and having a variety of interests will help me excel in this sales role as I can connect with a wide range of potential customers."

      Teacher

      "I have not included the information on my resume; however, I put in volunteer efforts on weekends. I have a strong desire to give to my community, which is why I act as a volunteer coordinator for the women's shelter. As a teacher, this volunteer work has helped me to grow a greater sense of empathy for others while I also work to eliminate some existing bias that I was not aware that I held."

      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a coffee lover! I have traveled around Bali and Lombok solely to taste different coffee beans. I have tried Madagascar and Ethiopian coffee beans as well, but have discovered Toraja and Mandailing coffee are my favorites."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great, unique factoid!

  • 4. How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job?

      How to Answer

      While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned at 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

      Be sure to comb the job description for keywords so that you can match your post-secondary experiences with the skills for which they are seeking!

      Admin

      "My post-secondary education provided me with the information and structure needed to perform in the administrative world. Interning helped get my feet wet with my career as an administrative assistant."

      Manager

      "My degree is in Economics and International Studies, which taught me not only the theoretics behind a business but also interpersonal relations across cultures and nations. I also learned a lot about presentation building, public speaking, and working in a collaborative environment. All of these skills have been an asset to my career to date."

      Marketing

      "I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Communications and Journalism. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger business relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when working on client proposals, and in negotiations."

      Retail

      "I believe my combination of studies in both a community college, where I earned my associates in fashion merchandising, as well as my time spent getting my B.A. in communications, have uniquely positioned me to succeed in this industry as a whole, and your organization specifically. I learned the nuts and bolts of how things should work in college both from a fashion standpoint as well as best practices in communications. Daily, I apply my academic training in fashion, merchandising, department floor planning, how to run sales, as well as public speaking and presentation making. I will continue to refine these skills daily as I join your team."

      Sales

      "I learned in college while taking an overload of credit hours and working full time that I respond well to pressure. This resistance to stress is something that I've brought into my professional life as well. I prefer a heavier workload, within reason, and feel the most accomplished and thrive in these sorts of situations. Of course, I have also learned my limits and know when I need to ask for help or a break."


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      User-Submitted Answer

      "My master's degree in Public Administration with a concentration in public management has provided me with the necessary skills needed in this job description. When I took courses such as Nonprofit administration and public management, and that is time management, public speaking, independent and research learning, effective communication skills and to be self-motivated."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer gives the interviewer a nice idea of how your educational background will benefit their company, should you be hired. I have offered a slight edit below, to help with clarity.

      "My master's degree in Public Administration, with a concentration in public management, had provided me with many skills required to perform this job successfully. I took coursework in nonprofit administration and public management, giving me a strong knowledge of these topics. I also gained skills in time management, public speaking, independent and research learning, effective communication, and the ability to remain self-motivated."

  • 5. Do you consider yourself a team player?

      How to Answer

      The answer to this question should always be, yes! No matter where you work, you need to be a team player, to help your company achieve its goals. Be prepared with an energetic and enthusiastic, 'Yes, I am!' Expand on this answer by sharing your philosophy on the importance of teamwork and being an active part of a team. Show the interviewer you understand that it takes a group of people for a company to achieve its goals, and you recognize that each person is a piece of the puzzle.

      Answer Example

      "I recognize that there may be days where I need to perform duties outside of my usual job description to help out. For instance, in my current role, I may occasionally need to spend additional time mentoring and coaching new employees to ensure they fit in with the team. This responsibility creates a tighter timeline for my other important deadlines; however, I see that the end goal is to create a well-oiled machine and that cannot happen without everyone being equally trained."

      Admin

      "I am always happy to help out the team and have demonstrated this in many roles. On numerous occasions, I've covered for other admin assistants to help set appointments for another team member, or taken over someone's accounts for the day. It is an additional challenge and fun to put on a different hat, all while helping out the team."

      Manager

      "It is not possible to accomplish something well without a team. You are only as good as your team, so it is important for me to be an active team player. I am always looking for new ways to bring value and help leverage the team's strengths."

      Marketing

      "I would certainly say I'm a team player. I've been in organized sports my entire life, so I know that without a team, you can't accomplish very much. I value the relationships I have formed from working in teams throughout my life, not to mention how much I have learned from my coworkers when collaborating across departments or the hierarchy of the organization. All in all, I know the importance of a team, and I work very well in a collaborative environment."

      Retail

      "I'm a team player. I know full well that the department itself, and the store as a whole, will not run if we are not working as one cohesive, collaborative unit. I am always willing to lend a hand and help out a coworker. Examples include taking an extra turn cleaning out the dressing rooms, working an undesirable shift, or bringing the schedule home with me so I can tweak it to fit the requests and needs of the department. You name it, I've done it and am happy to do it again."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Yes. I consider myself a team player because a company can't achieve its goals without team efforts. I think everybody in the workplace should cooperate to accomplish their goals. I strongly believe that working as a team player in the organization is very important for success."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Rather than statements on teamwork, try to personalize your answer more to discuss specifically what make you a team player. A specific time when you helped a coworker could be a good example, here.

      "Yes, I consider myself a team player. In my current role, my teammates know that I am always open to answer questions or give quick training sessions to newly hired employees. I encourage a work environment where people cooperate to accomplish the company's goals."

  • 6. Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

      How to Answer

      Employers want to know that you are respectful of your leaders. While you do not always have to agree with your leader, the interviewer wants to see that you respond to them with kindness and respect.

      Talk about a time when your boss made a choice to which you did not agree. Explain how you responded. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful employee who treats others with dignity and kindness. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (Perhaps you had a conflict with a professor).

      Answer Example

      "I had a conflict with a manager earlier in my career. One of our team members skipped out on work six times in one month, and I was always asked to cover their shift last minute. I was frustrated and could not understand why my manager wasn't just terminating the employee. I reacted hastily, and the manager patiently reminded me that he had his reasons. He explained that he asked me to cover the shifts because he liked me and I was reliable. It turns out the absent employee had serious health concerns, and our manager was trying to be empathetic without disclosing the situation to our team. I felt terrible and learned that sometimes things aren't always as they seem. I apologized, and all was well."

      Admin

      "There are times when I have asked questions or brought up suggestions that challenged a boss or coworker. We resolved the matter with humility and the intent to resolve the problem while better understanding the opposing viewpoint."

      Manager

      "One of my first bosses was very hard to get along with as his expectations were often unreasonable and would come with little explanation. I stayed with him for about two years and left when I knew I was no longer benefitting from his leadership. I did keep my head down for the most part, but the benefit came to me at a later time, when I took on my first management role. I knew what I did not want to be like and thus, the experience helped to shape my management style."

      Marketing

      "I had a boss that was incredibly skilled at his job but was overly direct. He led with tough love, and while that worked for him and some people, it did not go well with the graphic designer on our team. I tried to stick up for her and let him know that while his heart was in the right place, his approach wasn't effective and was hurting her productivity. At first, it was a conflict because he felt insulted that I was questioning his management, but finally, we were able to come to an understanding, and he considered a new approach for her and the employees in general. I was happy that I stood up for her in a tactful way and the department was better off as a result."

      Retail

      "One of my first mentors shared with me a nugget of knowledge: if you're comfortable, you're not growing. So, I try to seek out opportunities for small discomfort whenever possible. I keep a running list of things that I have identified as areas for improvement in the department and bring them up tactfully with my boss. When I lay out the reasons for the upgrades, she lets me tackle the issue. Occasionally she pulls rank and says no, and though it's frustrating, I know that she must know more than I do, so I bite my tongue and put my head down and get back to work."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Last year, I had a conflict with a previous manager. At the time, we had several large projects being worked on at the same time. I requested more workforce to address the large workload but was denied. My team and I completed the projects simultaneously through many hours of overtime and no vacation. After these projects were completed, my feedback was recognized by the manager, and the department gained two new-hires to address high volume workloads. In the end, the conflict was resolved reasonably."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good example.

      "

  • 7. What would your most recent boss say about you if they were asked to describe your character?

      How to Answer

      Think of some words that best describe your work ethic and character. If you are new to the workforce, feel free to refer to a professor from your post-secondary experience or even a high school teacher, or coach.

      Be sure to include descriptive words that will ensure you are a standout candidate. Most people, when asked this question, will say they are 'reliable' and 'easy to get along with.' A well-thought and unique answer to this question will give you a better chance of impressing the interviewer.

      Here are some unique descriptive words you could use:

      - Honest
      - Attentive
      - Committed
      - Persistent
      - Motivated
      - Tenacious
      - Respectful

      Answer Example

      "If my current employer were asked to describe me I believe they would say that I am determined, collaborative, and broad-minded. Also, during my post-secondary years, I would hear those compliments from time to time, and it was always very encouraging. I was a strong student and am a dedicated employee."

      Admin

      "My boss would say that I am a people-pleaser who is enthusiastic about my job, the people I care for and doing the right thing. She would say that I am a go-getter, that I love what I do, and I approach situations with care and tact."

      Manager

      "My character is something that I am very attached to, and I am proud of the reputation that I have developed over the years. When you call my boss for a reference, I believe she will say that I am tenacious, motivated, and le by numbers and data."

      Marketing

      "My boss would describe me as creative, committed, and inquisitive. I am always looking to learn something new, try a new approach, and am dependable."

      Retail

      "My professors would describe me as diligent and someone who asks thoughtful questions. I am curious by nature and am always asking questions to understand a topic or situation better."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am very motivated, conscious, organized, and proud when the job is done."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      I changed your response very slightly.

      "I believe my boss would reflect upon my motivation, conscientiousness, organization, and pride demonstrated in my work."

  • 8. What qualities do you feel make a manager successful?

      How to Answer

      A great manager is someone to who people want to emulate. An active manager will have exceptional interpersonal, and relationship building skills. Talk to the interviewer about some of the qualities that you admire, and value, in a leader.

      If you are applying for a management position, discuss the best management qualities that you hold. It's a great idea to draw some ideas from the company's job description as that document will have many useful keywords you can bring into the conversation.

      Some great management qualities are:

      - Accountable
      - Invested in Culture
      - Positive Mindset
      - Perceptive
      - Approachable
      - Empathetic
      - Honest
      - Patient
      - Decisive

      Admin

      "Most importantly, I think a successful manager should have great people skills. People are your most valuable asset and your ability to work with, get along with and inspire people to work well with you is critical to your success as a manager."

      Manager

      "I read in your job description for this role that you are looking for a manager who is collaborative and energetic. I agree that these are must-have qualities for a manager to be successful. I certainly identify with these qualities. Some qualities that make me a successful manager are my strong listening and analytical skills, and my decisiveness when it comes to decision making."

      Marketing

      "I think the most successful manager is someone who is firm but nurturing. I like a manager who is like a coach, always working to make me better and willing to teach me something, but firm and direct when needed."

      Retail

      "In my experience, a manager is only as successful as their investment in their people is strong. A manager must care for their employees, and make sure they are growing to meet expectations. A successful manager will communicate expectations, hold people accountable for achievable goals and be the shining light that gets everyone fired up to do their best at all times. That means not taking favorites, and leading by example at all times."

      Sales

      "I believe the best type of manager leads by example at all times. They are approachable, hardworking, and fair. Also, they don't just talk the talk without walking the walk. It is irksome when a leader says that we need to put in the long hours but leaves earlier than everyone else, for instance."


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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I believe a successful manager should provide the team with the big picture, a view, and a vision of where we are going, while also focusing on results."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      These are all great factors for a successful manager to balance. Well said!

  • 9. What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?

      How to Answer

      This question can stand in for the common 'What is your greatest weakness' question. The interviewer is expecting you to be unprepared because it's an uncommon way of asking a question. You may be less scripted than other points in your interview, and the interviewer wants to see how you deal with that.

      Two scenarios commonly play out: either a candidate blurts out a weakness, or they pause and respond with something thoughtful. This question gives the interviewer information about you but also a good sense of if you can think on your feet and answer a tough question. Use this as an opportunity to show how weakness can be a strength, or explain something they have not yet asked, but may be an objection to you getting the job. It is then up to you to overcome the opposition.

      Remember: it is okay to pause and be thoughtful about your response rather than blurting something out or seeming too rehearsed. Be prepared, but be sincere in your replies.

      Answer Example

      "That's a tough one. Honestly, I was happy when you didn't ask about my having switched universities and taken longer to graduate, but I do feel it's important to explain. I left the University of ABC when my mom was sick with cancer, and I moved back home to work and attend community college before finishing up my degree at XYZ, in my hometown. Luckily, she is well, and I feel I got a better education at the smaller college and learned a ton in the process about work-life balance and how to manage my time with so many things on my plate."

      Admin

      "I did not want you to ask me why I am leaving my current job. The company I work for are a competitor of yours, and I do not want to be disrespectful. I will let you know, though, that I am leaving my current company because there are discussions of acquisition and I no longer feel stable in my role."

      Manager

      "I am comfortable answering most questions; however, I was hoping you would not ask me about relocating to your Denver office. I saw on your website that you have the same opening in Denver and I was wondering if you were interviewing potential candidates to take over that location. I would not want to seem like a poor team player; however, I have a big family all in this area, and I do not wish to relocate at this time."

      Marketing

      "I hadn't wanted you to ask about my proficiency in graphic design and related software, but I do think it's important to address. It's an area for improvement for me, and something I'm actively working on through mentorship programs and online classes, even just YouTube videos and the like. I know that it's an important part of my knowledge base as I continue to move up the ranks in marketing, so it's something I am actively seeking to grow while being fully transparent that I am not a designer."

      Retail

      "I suppose I did not want you to dig into why I applied three years ago and rescinded my application. I feel embarrassed about it because I thought I was ready to leave my current organization and decided that, to be the superstar I want to be at your company, I needed a bit more time and experience. I know that in these past three years I have learned everything I could need to know to shine here and I can't wait to put those last three years of learning and growth into action."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "It's a tough one. I am well prepared for any question; however, if I have to name one question I hadn't wanted you to ask is about my biggest weakness. I always think I am not strong enough when I have to raise an objection or fight back. I am not used to arguing with others, and I use words such as "you might" instead of "you should." I am trying my best to improve and try to be a strong person when necessary."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a very honest answer. You show a lot of self-awareness by discussing what makes you uncomfortable. It's great that you also discuss what you are doing to improve.

  • 10. What questions do you have for me?

      How to Answer

      It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the queries you have are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers for from merely watching a video on their company site!

      Here are some sample questions:

      - When would you like to have this position filled?
      - How long has this role been vacant?
      - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
      - What is your favorite part about working here?
      - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
      - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
      - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
      - Is there any reason why you would not hire me?

      Admin

      "I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"

      Manager

      "Thank you for asking! A couple of questions come to mind. What do you see as the biggest challenge your company will be facing in the next 12 months? Also, what is your employee turnover rate, and could you tell me a bit about the retention plan you currently have in place?"

      Marketing

      "A few questions come to mind, so thank you for asking. What's the next market the company is looking to tackle? I know you're launching a bottled beverage soon, so I wonder what is next."

      Retail

      "I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"

      Sales

      "Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have read the mid-term evaluation, are there any things that the previous role-holder implemented that you would like to see continued or built upon?"

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great question to ask! Consider adding one or two more queries to show that you are enthusiastic and confirm your interest in the position.

  • 11. Do you ever use your sense of humor to diffuse a situation at work?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you can diffuse a tense situation if needed. They also want to see a bit more of your personality! Stress and fast-paced work environments can cause people to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even angry or upset. Think of a time when you took a much more lighthearted approach to diffuse a tense situation.

      Answer Example

      "I recall a day last month when our team focused on solving a serious technical error with our system. It got to the point where a few members of the team were so frustrated they were getting angry with each other. I stepped out to grab some coffees from the shop next door. When I returned, I said 'Hot coffee to make us all feel warm and fuzzy again!' Everyone laughed and took a break from what they were doing."

      Admin

      "Humor is one of those universal things to which everyone can relate. When used properly, it can help bridge a gap or bond a relationship. I use it, with good taste and professionalism, often in my communication. It is important to enjoy what you do, and humor is a big component of that."

      Manager

      "Humor can be a great tool, and it can also be a harmful one. For that reason, I make sure to fully gauge my teammate or superior before I begin cracking jokes. I do appreciate a clean sense of humor in the workplace from time to time. Not everything can be serious. In the event of a serious situation; however, I am more likely to remain on the serious side."

      Marketing

      "I use my humor at work, both with co-workers and in my work product itself. I like to bring a bit of spice and humor into the copy I create, when appropriate, which I believe fits in quite well with many clients' brand voice. I look forward to showing you more of what I've got!"

      Retail

      "I would say that I use my sense of humor often at work, poking fun in friendly ways. A bit of good sarcasm does seem to make things a bit lighter and more fun on the floor. A lighter-hearted mentality allows everyone to shake off whatever is bringing us down and move on to the next issue to tackle."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Once I was making a presentation with the theme "New Retail in the Era of Internet 2.0", and when I was talking about the development of technology in China, the pictures could not be displayed normally on the screen. In such a short time, I could not fix the computer. Although I was kind of embarrassed, I made fun of myself, saying that "How could the technology embarrass me when I am boasting about it!" Everyone laughed, and I continued talking about the development. Without the power points, I still did a good job."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great way to diffuse a potentially embarrassing situation. Good example that is sure to make anyone smile :)

  • 12. What is your biggest regret?

      How to Answer

      Think about a time you failed, or made a big mistake. What would you change about that situation, if you have an opportunity for a re-do? Perhaps there is a missed opportunity that you still regret not taking. This question sounds more intimidating than it is. Even though the interviewer is asking about your most significant regret, you indeed don't have to share the worst mistake you have ever made in your life. Make sure that you keep your answer professional and career-related.

      Answer Example

      "I had an opportunity to study under one of the top personal trainers in the country, but I was so busy with my clients that I didn't take the chance. Looking back, I know I could have learned so much from them. Now I pay much closer attention to educational or training opportunities that come my way."

      Admin

      "I do not believe in living life with regrets; however, if there is one thing I could change about my career path, I would have completed my business administration degree before entering the workforce. It's ten times as tough to complete my education now that I am taking online courses on the weekends! I do look forward to finishing what I started, though! My estimated completion date is this April."

      Manager

      "I am of the belief that it live is meant to be lived without regrets. Does that mean you don't fail or learn from mistakes? Not at all. We all make choices in life, and we should embrace them, and adapt when we want to change course. JK Rowling has a great quote that comes to mind when asked about regrets. She says, 'Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all"”in which case, you fail by default.' That sums out how I feel about failure and regrets."

      Marketing

      "I feel pretty fortunate that I don't have many regrets, but I'd say the one that would nag at me most would be that I didn't leap into marketing sooner. I think my career would be on an even better trajectory if I'd jumped about six months earlier. However, I am where I am today because of the decisions I made, and I feel great about where I am today and the prospect of working here!"

      Retail

      "The most significant regret I have would be not advocating for myself early on in my career. I believe I was passed up for two promotions that I deserved because I was too concerned with being friendly and likable. I missed out on opportunities to advocate how I was the best for the position because I didn't want to ruffle any feathers or be unlikable. Luckily, I've learned quite a bit since, and I've earned plenty of promotions since, however, I sometimes wonder where my career might be if I would have received those promotions early on. Nevertheless, I know I've learned plenty from those experiences of being passed over."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I had a JCAPHO class I could of went to for extra credits for the Eye clinic. I missed it due to being so busy at work. I want to try to go to more of these classes when they become available to build my skills and keep learning."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It's great that you recognize the importance of attending these classes, which will help get you to your end goal!

  • 13. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.

      How to Answer

      Everyone has had that one boss that nearly drove them crazy. If you haven't - consider yourself lucky! At the very least, you probably know someone who had a manager with which they did not mesh.

      Your worst manager may have been someone who didn't know how to take the lead. Maybe they lacked confidence or training. Talk to the interviewer about an experience you've had with a manager who was not a strong leader. Be sure to end on a positive note and avoid allowing this to become an opportunity to bring someone down.

      Answer Example

      "Earlier in my career, I had a manager who was not a team player. My colleagues and I did not know how to react to the lack of leadership which meant that much of what we did was self-taught. I always told myself that if I were a manager, I would be a knowledgeable one who would encourage my team to be the best. Although my experience wasn't amazing, I am thankful for the opportunity to learn the type of behaviors to avoid as a manager."

      Admin

      "I am proud to say I have never worked with a manager or leader I could not respect or look up to in some form of mentorship. I imagine a terrible manager to be disengaged, lack communication and have a poor ability to build relationships with their team or business."

      Manager

      "One of the first managers I had was not well equipped for her role - she simply wasn't trained, so I do not fault her for that. However, she spent her days complaining about her lack of training rather than seek it out herself. I am a major proponent of research and feel that a good manager will find a way to make their position a successful experience."

      Marketing

      "I'd have to say the worst manager I've had is someone I'd describe as really aloof. He would breeze in and out, was rarely around during the work day and would drop in to take credit for any sales. So, not only was he not supportive, but also he then acted like he was integral to the sale. It was certainly frustrating, but it taught me that I could figure out a way to thrive and be successful with or without active leadership."

      Retail

      "I feel very fortunate that I've typically had great managers. However, I had a manager when I worked in the college restaurant that came on much too strong. She felt the need to try to whip everyone into shape and be overly controlling about everything. I'm all about order and following the rules, and respect for new managers or management in general. However, there's a way to gain the respect of an existing workplace without berating employees. That said, it taught me how to interact with someone aggressive and to show respect regardless of whether it feels warranted or not."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I did not work for him that long. He had a different agenda that was not very clear to me, and we were challenged in overcoming our communication issues despite multiple attempts."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It sounds as though you remained professional, regardless of the situation "” a nice way to respond.

  • 14. What was your least favorite job? Why?

      How to Answer

      Most people have had a job that they don't particularly love. Think about your least favorite situation and break down for the interviewer what made it so tiresome. Perhaps the responsibilities were mundane, or the co-workers were unfriendly. Discuss with the interviewer what made the job so complicated, and what you did to make it better for yourself. The interviewer wants to see that you are proactive in situations like this rather than just giving up and quitting.

      Answer Example

      "Many years ago, I worked as a waitress at a local sports bar. I liked the job because the customers, but I didn't feel appreciated by my boss. He was negative, even during the busiest and most challenging shifts. I did my best and worked hard, but moved on when I had the opportunity. I learned that having a boss who is encouraging and motivating can make such a world of difference!"

      Admin

      "I am proud to say I have never had a job I did not like. Not all jobs have been glamorous, but each one gave me experience and taught me something valuable I did not necessarily have before."

      Manager

      "While going to University, I took night-job as a pick-packer in a local warehouse. The money was good, but the work was a grind! We were all timed on our productivity and could not even stop the clock for a washroom break. It felt like a sweatshop environment from the 1930's, to be honest! I look back now and am proud of myself for what I was willing to do to make a paycheck."

      Marketing

      "In college, I worked at Home Depot, and the position itself was fine. The issue I had was with the return policy. We'd take anything back, even if it were a used Christmas tree after Christmas- no questions asked. It drove me nuts to see people taking advantage of a policy created with good intentions. It's important for a company to flex for their customers but there should be a line drawn, at some point."

      Retail

      "I have enjoyed the jobs that I've had to date, but if I had to choose my least favorite, it would probably be serving in college. I liked the people aspect of the job and sales, but I prefer the predictability of customer base, and selling in a more professional environment."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "One of my least favorite jobs was when I worked in a QC lab. It was a temporary administrative job where I was supposed to be helping write product certifications but got pushed into scanning documents all day. I prefer human interaction, but it did teach me when to speak up about my abilities and ask for more responsibilities."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Ugh, scanning documents sounds like a bore, but you managed to turn it into a learning opportunity. Your mentality shows a lot about your work ethic and mindset. Great answer!

  • 15. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      From your work history, picture a co-worker who didn't carry their weight or had a difficult personality. Maybe they were unmotivated or preoccupied with their personal life. Think about what bothered you about this person and how you were affected by their behavior. Most importantly, the interviewer wants to know how you let this person's behavior affect you and your work performance.

      Avoid taking this as an opportunity to complain about someone; instead, view it as an opportunity to showcase your ability to deal with difficult people while maintaining your productivity.

      Answer Example

      "In my previous position, I did have a coworker who didn't pull their weight. Our team started to complete most of the tasks when it came to group projects. It didn't take much time before our manager noticed this particular individual was slacking. I feel like, in most instances, the underachievers will weed themselves out over time, and it's rarely worth making a fuss over."

      Admin

      "I once supported a very challenging VP as their executive assistant. Reading between the lines was the name of the game. This challenge became easier as time went on, and I got to know the ins and outs of my job better. However, the beginning was incredibly trying. I coped by asking my co-workers for advice or direction, or using my intuition and doing what I thought was best. The position certainly taught me independent thought and troubleshooting!"

      Manager

      "Difficult people make me tick! I enjoy trying to understand where they are coming from and then what techniques I can apply to help them improve their behavior or resolve a situation. Most difficult people want to feel like they have a voice. So, I listen, empathize and reassure them while still maintaining my position as their manager."

      Marketing

      "One of the graphic designers I currently work with is a moody creative. The success of my position directly depends on his quality and timeliness of work, unfortunately. Because of this, I've learned to tap into how he operates. We use project management software to track where the project is, but I also have bi-weekly check-ins. I know he's better to deal with in the afternoon, and other little quirks about him. It's somewhat humorous at times, and I'm happy to have discovered some workarounds."

      Retail

      "In the past, I had a coworker who was very unmotivated. This situation was pretty difficult since I never wanted to let anyone down and would not allow something to remain undone. I was already doing more than my fair share of the work and was in no position of authority to change her attitude. I did pull her aside and let her know how actions impacted me. She picked up the pace for a bit but eventually my manager terminated her. Luckily her replacement was amazing!"

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "In the past, I had coworkers who were very unmotivated and didn't want to do some tasks.
      I talk with them and let them know what impact it has on business and other employees if they don't want to do the job. After some training with them and show them how to doing, they understand and tried to be more happy and working."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Kevin Downey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Kevin Downey Reviewed the Above Answer

      I highlighted your communication and leadership skills in your response. See my edits below.

      "I previously worked with peers who were unmotivated (and seemingly) stuck in a career rut. Since I had great relationships with them, I was able to discuss my observations and gave them recommendations to improve their performance. I discussed how their morale and actions were impacting those around them, and the business implications that resulted from their lowered productivity. Based on the way I talked through their issues, my peers were receptive and open to my words and training. In the end, they were more open to their projects and mindful of their morale. That was just the start, though. They went from underperforming to putting in the bare minimum. But I continued to work with them, getting them more involved in the big-picture and finding innovative ways to motivate them. After a while, they started over-performing with their more favored tasks. At that point I let them take ownership of their own development and focussed the energy I put into mentoring them to other priorities."

  • 16. Why do you think you will be successful in this role?

      How to Answer

      This question is another version of 'Why should we hire you?' Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities and skills will help you to exceed expectations. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.

      Answer Example

      "I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in this industry for five years with great training and mentorship. I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."

      Admin

      "I will be successful in this role because I come prepared with experience, equipped with passion and opportunistic when it comes to making a valuable contribution."

      Manager

      "The job description itself seems like I wrote it with me in mind! My skill set and career goals precisely align. I am committed to making a short and long-term impact when it comes to employee development, onboarding new talent, and creating a culture dedicated to positivity and brand loyalty."

      Marketing

      "I have been a customer for years, so I understand what your customers want. Couple that knowledge with my experience in sales, and you have a winning candidate! I know how a sales team operates and what they need for support from marketing, to be successful."

      Retail

      "You mentioned earlier that it had been a constant challenge to find reliable staff. I am well qualified, enthusiastic, and this has been my dream company for as long as I can remember. I know that I want it more than anyone else and you will not be disappointed in my work ethic."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I will be successful in this role because I have education and experience that relate to this job. And I know this department also provides tools and resources that will help me to succeed."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This answer is too general to position you as a stand-out candidate. Try matching your strengths to the specific tasks mentioned in the job description. I have provided an example below.

      "I will be successful in this role because, in addition to my related education and experience, I have taken additional coursework on (A) and (B). I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."

  • 17. How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know more about the types of tools you use to stay on task and meet deadlines. Discuss how you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once. Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks.

      Answer Example

      "I manage my time by exercising the idea of 'time-blocking.' This strategy means that I won't incessantly check my email; instead, I will allow myself to return emails in 30-minute time blocks, four times per day. Setting calendar alerts and personal deadlines for myself has also helped a lot."

      Admin

      "I manage my time very carefully! I prioritize deadlines, then work backward from there. When necessary, I utilize my resources and team to pitch in and contribute."

      Manager

      "I use a free project management system that helps me to stay organized on the busiest of days. My team can see what I'm doing and what more needs accomplishing, so there is never any need for explaining or questions regarding where we are in the process."

      Marketing

      "When I'm busy, I seem to get the most done. To prioritize, I make lists of the to-do items and about how long I think they'll take. That way, I know what needs doing first and what small to-dos I can squeeze in in between the larger tasks. I find it an effective way to manage my time and get things done when I'm busy."

      Retail

      "I like to be busy- it makes the hours pass faster and makes me feel productive. I am always sure to block things out on my schedule as needed, and love to follow a project management system, too. Something as simple as my calendar on my phone with alarms reminding me of what I'm supposed to be doing and when is helpful. I love to be busy and get things done!"

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I will prioritize my jobs according to the due date and the importance of the job; however, emergency jobs always have the first priority."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Straightforward and effective! Good answer.

  • 18. What motivates you?

      How to Answer

      Typically, employees find motivation through environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could drive you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job when the going gets tough.

      Answer Example

      "It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, a quick thanks or little recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."

      Admin

      "I consider myself a self-motivated individual who is constantly striving to be better and do better. I draw inspiration from leaders in the industry and those around me to keep my motivation high."

      Manager

      "I enjoy researching and am motivated by implementing new best practices when change is required. Stagnant environments drain me. I like change, but only if it is justified, and when there is a chance for visible improvement in efficiency or morale."

      Marketing

      "I'm motivated by accomplishing a goal together, as silly as that sounds. It's cool to see an idea that was just in someone's head, get moved onto paper, then into the real world and see the campaign come to life and result in sales. Financial motivation works for me, too, but that's a result a successful marketing campaign execution, so it's all coupled together."

      Retail

      "I'm motivated by financial targets, helping the team grow, and learning opportunities. I do love some recognition, whether private or public, and a quick pat on the back goes a long way."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Support and encouragement would be great tools to help motivate me."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      A bit different than 'How can we motivate you?', with this question, you will want to go into further details on the types of situations that motivate you. Share with the interviewer how you drive your own motivation. I have added a sample, below.

      "What motivates me is the fact that I get to help people solve problems every single day. Hearing my customers say 'thank you' or share with me how I made their day just a bit easier, is always encouraging."

  • 19. Why should we not hire you?

      How to Answer

      This interview question is similar to 'What are your weaknesses?'. This question can be tricky to answer because you do not want to be a hundred percent honest and lay out all the reasons the interviewer should not hire you. Start your answer by saying there is no reason not to hire you. This reply displays confidence to the interviewer. Then focus on one skill which you still need to improve. Tell the interviewer you are weak in this one area but are actively looking to improve yourself there.

      Answer Example

      "I don't believe there is any reason not to hire me, but if I have to give a reason I would say my presentation skills are not as great as I would like them to be. I know presentations are a requirement for this job, and I have taken it upon myself to enroll in weekday speech classes."

      Admin

      "I cannot think of a single reason why you should not hire me. Can you? I think we had an excellent conversation today and, aside from my light experience in Accounts Payable, which I can quickly learn, I believe I am the perfect match for this role."

      Manager

      "I understand that you are looking for 6+ years of management experience, and I possess just 3. With that said, I have a great amount of training in management and some notable successes that I look forward to achieving again with your organization."

      Marketing

      "I firmly believe that I am a strong fit for this role. I hit the mark for every must-have except for possessing a formal degree in Marketing. With that said, my years of experience and multiple certificates certainly make up for that."

      Retail

      "I understand that I come from one of your competitors so I hope that you can see why it would be a benefit to your company, versus a hindrance. I know how to overcome objections and close a sale, and have been the top retail sales rep for the past six months running."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "There is no reason for you not to hire me. I am very passionate about working with people and organizations."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your answer shows a lot of confidence - this is good.

  • 20. Take a few minutes to bring your resume to life for me.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for an overview of your background. Because this question is so open ended, it can be easy to run away with your answer and even put your foot in your mouth. Offer a less than 5 minute brief of your related education or training, and then touch on the last 5-10 years of your career, depending on how far along you are in your professional career. You can discuss your volunteer experience and don't forget to talk about any extraordinary skills you may have.

      Answer Example

      "I would be happy to give you a brief overview of my background! After graduating with my degree in accounting in 2012, I went to work for my family's business as a senior accountant. After a couple of years, I realized that my knowledge base was not growing as rapidly as I wanted. I decided to return to school and gain my masters' degree. Immediately after graduation, I joined KPMG in a junior role where I have been flourishing ever since."

      Admin

      "I recently graduated with my business administration diploma, so this is the first professional role that I have pursued. Before attending school, I spent a lot of my time volunteering at the humane shelter, working with abandoned and homeless animals. While attending post-secondary school, I worked as a hostess at a local pub. That role taught me a great deal about multi-tasking, customer service, and even math. I look forward to forging a wonderful career with your organization."

      Manager

      "My management career goes back two years. My first dive into a management role was overseeing a team of floor sales representatives, five in total. This year I was promoted and moved to a warehouse management role, which is where I am today. Here, I manage a team of twelve plus three temporary staff who often rotate. Before my management career began, I was working in a retail environment and attending post-secondary at the same time. My degree is in Business, with a focus on organizational management."

      Marketing

      "I have experience outside of my marketing career; however, it's primarily customer service based and not truly related to the digital marketing career that I am focused on pursuing, today. After graduating from ABC Universtiy with my degree in digital marketing, I worked for a startup SaaS organization. The position taught me a great deal; however, they recently closed their doors due to fierce competition. Now, I am seeking a role related to my education but in an agency environment."

      Retail

      "I started working retail at a very young age, part-time after school during high school. I liked the flexibility, and the position taught me a lot about multi-tasking, receiving stock, and customer service techniques. After three years of working part-time for company ABC, I left to attend university. This spring I graduated with a diploma in fashion design, which is what brings me here today. I am eager to start working with a retail-based organization with a focus on design and innovation."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I have been in HR for over 25+ years. My experience includes hotels, hospitality, and private consulting for several small businesses (construction, micro-brewery, restaurant, retail). I have been in the adult learning and developing field for over 20+ years'. Much of my experience has been to create a functioning HR department for large organizations, and I continued to be recruited by companies to assist in supporting the HR infrastructure during periods of growth."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      A perfect recap. Good work!

  • 21. What do you know about us?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how much time you have put into researching their organization before coming into your interview today. It's essential that you take the time to dig deep into the company's history as well as their successes. Just reading their Wikipedia page may not be enough. You should also Google search their company and look for awards or other exciting accolades to mention.

      Answer Example

      "I know that you were recently awarded Top Employer in Chicago for the fourth year in a row. I would love to know more about how you earned that recognition. Your company is an incredible place to work, and I look forward to joining your dynamic team."

      Admin

      "I know that your company has been around for 15 years and, up until last year, it was a family owned venture. I also read that you have acquired a few of your smaller, local competitors. It sounds as though there are exciting growth opportunities ahead for your organization."

      Manager

      "I have performed a great deal of research before applying to work here, and before coming to meet with you today. I appreciate all of the innovation awards your company has won and would love to learn more about the SME grant you recently received."

      Marketing

      "I am aware that you are a startup organization, focused on growing and scaling in the digital marketing space. I like that your agency seeks recent graduates to join your team, so you can all grow and learn together."

      Retail

      "I have shopped at your store for many years and know that your company is always on the cutting edge of fashion, coming out with edgy designs before anyone else. Through my research, I also read that you offer grants to your longer-term employees who wish to gain elevated post-secondary experience. It appears that you truly care about your dedicated team members."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Stryker acquired Novadaq in Burnaby, and endoscopy is a growing area for Stryker for the West Coast. The HR division has been restructured, and this role is a part of the restructure. Your values include integrity, accountability, people, and performance. As a company, you are committed to making people's lives better with better medical devices."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      You certainly have done your research! Bravo :)

  • 22. Why are you looking for a new job?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking, point blank, what your reason is for seeking a new opportunity. Perhaps you were terminated, or your company closed their office. Maybe you are not receiving the growth opportunities you once thought you would have. Whatever your reasoning, be positive and do not speak poorly about your most recent employer.

      Answer Example

      "I have had my eye out for a new opportunity for some time now. Although I have no direct concerns with my employer on a day to day basis, I cannot see the career trajectory that I need. I would love to join a larger organization like yours with more promising opportunity."

      Admin

      "I am looking for a new job because the last position that I held was a maternity leave coverage contract which is now over. I enjoyed that role greatly and am excited to start a similar role but on a permanent basis."

      Manager

      "I am ready to lead a team larger than the one I lead now. I have asked my current employer for a raise or transfer to a larger location; however, more tenured people currently hold those roles so they cannot make that happen. I have my eye on steady career growth, which is what's fueling my search at this time."

      Marketing

      "Currently, I work for a startup, and I am more interested in working for a larger and more established agency where I can learn, work with larger clients, and be mentored by those more knowledgeable than I."

      Retail

      "I have been looking for work since graduating with my degree in business administration. I am actively interviewing but am very focused on joining an organization that will set me up for success, right from the start."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Although I do not have pressing issues with my current employer, I am seeking an opportunity to grow and advance my career. Joining Qatar Airways (a much larger company) would provide the desired career trajectory. I am selective in locating positions that would be the best fit for my skillset and career goals."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great, honest answer. Employers are looking for long-term employees, and you have valid desires to pursue this opportunity to gain leverage and career growth.

      "Although I do not have pressing issues with my current employer, I am seeking an opportunity to grow and advance my career. Joining Qatar Airways (a much larger company) would provide the desired career trajectory. I am selective in locating positions that would be the best fit for my skillset and career goals."

  • 23. If you could change anything about your current job, what would it be?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like assurance that you are not merely looking for a replacement to soothe issues that will be the same in their position. For instance, if you say that you want a shorter commute but you still live far away from their particular office, this would be a red flag. Give a meaningful answer but be sure not to speak poorly of your current employer.

      Answer Example

      "Everyone on my team is very nice to work with; however, our office feels isolated from the others since the accounting department is on a small floor on its own. If I could change anything about my current situation, I would have a more collaborative and modern workspace. I love that your office offers an open-air environment that allows for collaboration between team members."

      Admin

      "I am happy with most aspects of my current role; however, if I could change one thing, I would update some of the technology that we use. Our Microsoft package is quite out of date, and some of our equipment is too slow even to handle the more sophisticated programs."

      Manager

      "If I could change anything about my current role I would increase some of my responsibilities when it comes to my team. If I had a larger team and responsibilities that included further coaching and mentoring, that would be more up my alley, for sure."

      Marketing

      "The company I currently work for is a startup. If I could change anything, I would rather be working with a more established agency. Working for a startup was enticing a first; however, now I see that I do miss out on many learning opportunities that I would have if I worked for a more robust company."

      Retail

      "The location that I work for is not ideal for my home and school location. My commute is quite long. So, if I could change anything about my job right now, I would have it closer to me!"

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "That the direction and leadership had not veered off so differently than what I was brought in and committed to, and I would have been able to continue with the efforts, I started in leadership development and training, employee engagement, and intradepartmental relations."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a very fair stance to take. A good way to respond to this question.

  • 24. Name one suggested area of improvement from your last performance review.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know which area of improvement your current boss has brought up, most recently. You do not need to go into in-depth detail on your performance review. Briefly mention one area that you are looking to improve and what you are doing to implement that constructive feedback. If you do not receive formal performance reviews, you can rely on a conversation or meeting that you have had at work in the last three months or so.

      Answer Example

      "My boss most recently mentioned that she wanted to start grooming me for further leadership opportunities. She gave me some reading material and suggested a few podcasts to listen to as well. I am working on these materials every weekend."

      Admin

      "In my last performance meeting, my boss asked that I start working on becoming an expert on our internal SAP program. He wants me to train our new hires on the program as they come in. I am about an intermediate level now so that it will take some time, but I am already taking some online coursework to strengthen my skills."

      Manager

      "My last performance review covered my future growth with the company. We discussed that my diverse skills could be better utilized. We came to a happy medium by adding on a couple of new responsibilities; however, I cannot see them sustaining my interest for too long."

      Marketing

      "My current boss recently mentioned that my knowledge in the latest social media algorithm updates could be stronger. I immediately enrolled myself in some related coursework which has proven very helpful."

      Retail

      "I was recently asked by my boss to pump up my sales a little bit. This role is not commission driven; however, we do have some aggressive sales targets. I have registered for a Dale Carnegie sales course which I believe will give me even more confidence on the sales floor."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "My boss has given me a new task for me to work on. Such as the equipment request that has to be done once a year. I learned how to do this from another tech, and I am now able to do this independently."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Was this a tough skill to learn? It may be impactful to paint a more complete picture in regards to what it took for you to achieve this task.

  • 25. Describe yourself in just three words.

      How to Answer

      By giving you only three words to describe yourself, the interviewer knows that you are going to choose carefully! Try to use words that are unique and will set you apart. You want to avoid giving an answer that everyone else has likely given. Time to get out your thesaurus and choose some fun and new descriptive words!

      Answer Example

      "If I had just three words to describe myself I would say that I am positive, enthusiastic, and available."

      Admin

      "The words that best describe me would be attentive, savvy, and creative."

      Manager

      "Great question! I would say I am best described as a leader, confident, and patient."

      Marketing

      "Just three words to describe me is a challenge! I would say that I am happy, helpful, and transparent."

      Retail

      "If I could describe myself in just three words I would say, learner, humorous, and reliable."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Gregarious, tenacious, and caring."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Nice! These words are not overused and are descriptive enough to give a full picture to the interviewer.

  • 26. Would you rather lead or follow?

      How to Answer

      There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The interviewer would like to know if you identify more as a leader, or a follower, so they can further understand where to place you when the time comes. Give an honest answer but try to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one particular stereotype.

      Answer Example

      "I can quite easily swap between leading and following, depending on the situation. Naturally, I am inclined to lead, but when I am expected to sit back and absorb, I am completely able to do that as well."

      Admin

      "I would rather lead in some instances, and follow in others. While I am training and gathering my bearings, I will be more of a listener and follower. Once I know the ropes, I can comfortably take the lead whenever required of me."

      Manager

      "As a manager, I am most certainly more of a leader. With that said, I love to learn and absorb new things with requires me to be a follower at times too."

      Marketing

      "I am more of a follower at times, meaning I like to listen, learn, and absorb. When needed, I am happy to jump into a leadership role as well."

      Retail

      "Being in retail, and as a student, I am usually following as opposed to leading. That's not to say that I cannot be a fantastic leader as well. I group project at school, I often take the lead, and I enjoy that."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am a leader by nature, and I believe that's because I am so competitive. Before you can be a good leader, you must learn to follow. While I have a lot of ambition to be promoted into a leadership role, I'd like to learn the ropes here first so that I can begin with a solid basis."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      The fact that you are interested in learning before you lead, shows a lot of maturity. This is a perfect response.

  • 27. What does greatness, and success, mean to you?

      How to Answer

      This question is a discovery-based inquiry, genuinely focused on how you think versus what you do. Go with your initial instinct when it comes to how you define success and greatness. There is no right or wrong answer, here.

      Answer Example

      "To me, greatness and success means achieving the goals that you set for yourself. I know the sense of accomplishment when I can make that work, and it makes me feel like I am on top of the world."

      Admin

      "To me, greatness is being genuine and kind to others. Success is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done."

      Manager

      "To me, success comes when you accomplish a goal, and that needs to be something specific that you have your eyes set on. I often encourage my team to set specific goals for themselves. Second, greatness ties into that because without believing that you are great, you will not likely succeed and meet your goals!"

      Marketing

      "To me, greatness is having an excellent reputation and being someone of integrity. Success comes when you achieve your goals."

      Retail

      "I feel a sense of greatness and success when I have a specific goal in mind, create a detailed plan, and achieve that plan. What feels greater than that?"

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Greatness and success are correlated with each other. Success can't be achieved without greatness. I think a willingness to help is greatness, and it is important to have success."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Very good! Your answer is thoughtful and well expressed.

  • 28. Besides compensation, what do you value the most in the workplace?

      How to Answer

      Financial compensation aside, the interviewer would like to know what is most important to you when looking for a new job. Your answer will show the interviewer some direction when they are ready to make you an offer of employment. You can talk about the health benefits, work-life balance, workplace culture, growth, or even continued education opportunities. The sky is the limit!

      Answer Example

      "What I value most in the workplace are growth opportunities. I am missing this in my current role and very much look forward to working with a company who will provide me with bigger moves as I prove myself."

      Admin

      "I put a fair amount of value on great health benefits. I am a single parent and having support for unexpected medical expenses would be an incredible addition to my compensation package."

      Manager

      "I am most interested in working for a company that has a great workplace culture, with a small amount of turnover. As a manager, I like to get to know my team, nurture them, and keep them going for the long term."

      Marketing

      "For me, the room for creativity and a flexible workspace is significant. This flex could include a great office where it's easy to collaborate, or the ability to work from home when needed."

      Retail

      "I am a student so the ability to have a schedule that works around my school schedule would be the most important factor for me at this time."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Appreciation and recognition from the Store Manager or DM.

      To feel respected by the team."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      See my suggestion below - I want to build an image and persona the interviewer will be impressed by, and would want to push through the interview process. Envision a candidate that has a similar skillet as you; try to stand out and personalize your responses as much as possible.

      "I place great value on interpersonal relationships and a positive work environment at work. I like being recognized for my hard work and dedication, and offer positive feedback to others when I notice great work being done. I value mutual respect and validation. I want to contribute to a positive and hard-working culture and climate."

  • 29. How do you feel about relocation or substantial amounts of travel?

      How to Answer

      This reply should be pretty simple for you, depending on your situation. Whether you are flexible or not, in regards to travel, and even relocation, it's essential, to be honest in your answer. If you are unsure, it's okay to let the interviewer know that you are open to ideas in the future.

      Answer Example

      "Relocation is something that I would consider in the future, depending on the circumstances and the opportunity. As far as travel goes, I am open to some overnight travel as required."

      Admin

      "At this point in my life I am not interested in relocating, but things can certainly change. Could you share with me the travel requirements in this position?"

      Manager

      "I recently relocated to this city so, moving again I hope is not in my near future. As far as travel goes, I am very open to overnight travel. I realize that you have a few locations in this state so if you need a manager who goes between locations, I can certainly accommodate."

      Marketing

      "Much of what I do in the digital marketing realm can be done from anywhere in the world. I can travel to accommodate any of your needs in this role. For relocation, that is not in my plan, but I am open to discussions."

      Retail

      "Your company has many locations, and I am open to working in a variety of them. With that said, overnight travel is difficult at this time with my school schedule."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "I am excited about both."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      Enthusiastic - I like it! If you are accustomed to traveling for work, try speaking a bit about that.

  • 30. How much do you think this job should pay?

      How to Answer

      This question is merely another way for the interviewer to ask about your desired pay for this role. Be honest about what you are hoping to make, but you should also avoid asking for too little, or for too much. Using an online salary calculating tool, like the ones from Glassdoor or Indeed, will help you to determine the average ask for your position, years of experience, and even location. You can also use your current salary as part of the basis for your ask.

      Answer Example

      "I am currently earning $15/hour and am up for a raise to $16/hour in the next couple of months. My ideal salary is $17-19/hour plus health benefits, which I believe is a fair ask for this role."

      Admin

      "I am newer to my career, so I performed some research on the topic, hoping to gain an understanding of the average pay for a receptionist in this area. The ranges I saw were $14-18/hour depending on experience. Do you have an amount in mind for this position?"

      Manager

      "Managers in this industry, with my level of experience, range from $80,000-120,000 per year. I am currently earning in the upper scope of that. In my next position, I would like to see a fair increase in my pay but am also more interested in discussing additional perks such as health and dental benefits, vacation time, and more."

      Marketing

      "I have worked as a freelancer for a few years, so it is challenging for me to determine how much is average pay for this type of role. I have heard a range but would be interested in learning more about what you are offering, as I am sure it is fair."

      Retail

      "Most retail positions offer minimum wage plus some commission breakdown. Overall, I currently earn about $18/hour with commission worked in. I would like to join a company that is a touch more generous than my current employer, but that can also translate into work-related perks versus my hourly rate."

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      User-Submitted Answer

      "Given I have 20 years of Human Resource experience to bring to the table, working for large multinationals and holding regional leadership roles, I would like to think that the salary you offer would be in line with the market and commensurate with my skills and experience."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Stephanie Cafaro

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer

      Salary is always a really tricky topic! You do a great job of addressing your skills and your years of professional experience while stating that you hope the salary is commensurate to your skills and experience. This is a wonderful way of deflecting the question a bit without providing a specific number (although I would encourage you to have a range in mind, in case you're pressed." To strengthen your response, you may wish to include an additional sentence stating that, if you progress in the interview process, you're very open to further discussion and feel confident that you can come to an agreement about compensation.