Interview Questions: About You

 

 
More possible job interview questions discussing you and your skills.

It can be very slippery slope when the interviewer starts to as personal questions. The responses below are suggestions so you can write out your own, specific answers long before you go to the interview. When the question is asked, take a few seconds (which is expected by the interviewer) to think about the question and how you will state your answer (which you should already know).

Unless specifically outlined in the job description, it is important to remember that age, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, and political views are considered inappropriate topics for the interviewer to inquire about.

What would you do differently if you could start your working life over?

With this question, the interviewer is looking for a detour or distraction that continues to be a professional hindrance in your career.

Possible Response

I would have returned to school much earlier to complete my Masters degree. I never lost sight of the goal despite not getting my Masters degree until later in my career than I had originally anticipated.

 

Talk about how you balance life and work.

This question is designed to let the interviewer know whether you're "out of there" as soon as quitting time rolls around or, if applicable, whether you've made arrangements for the days when your child is too sick to go to school and/or daycare .

Possible Response

My organizational skills allow me to successfully balance my professional and personal life. I am fully engaged while I'm at work, but I have a good back up system for the care of my children for those unexpected situations that happen on occasion.

 

How do you prefer to communicate?

When answering this question, you have the opportunity to show the interviewer your flexibility. Demonstrate how you understand the importance of adjusting your preferred way of doing things in different situations.

Possible Response

While I'm at home, I enjoy both talking on the phone and emails. If there is an established pattern or expected method at work, I follow the established pattern or method. In the past, each of my managers had a preferred way I communicate. I always followed the lead of my manager and their preferred method.

 

While on vacation, do you check your voicemails and emails?

The interviewer is wanting to know if they will always be able to locate you.

Possible Response

I can always be reached for emergencies while on vacation. However, I've been fortunate that the people with whom I work have been very capable of making good decisions while I'm away. I understand the importance of recharging the battery in my phone and staying in contact when necessary.

 

What is your favorite book? How about your favorite movie?

With this question, the interviewer wants to find out if you will fit into the company culture and whether you stay current through reading.

Possbile Response (make sure to mention your personal favorites)

I have a variety of interests and read all sorts of books. Currently, my "favorite" book is 'The Firm' by John Grisham. My favorite movie? 'Remember the Titans.'

 

What historical figure do you admire and why?

By asking this question, the interviewer wants to learn whether you are well read and what characteristics you admire.

Possible Response (make sure to mention historical figures you personally admire)

Personally, I most admire Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan's wife; professionally I admired the leadership style of Jack Welch.

 

What did you do during this gap in employment (or when you were between jobs)?

At some point in everyone's career, there will probably be a gap in employment. Be mindful of what you did during that time.

Possible Response

During the first month, I accomplished a great deal by working on my "to do list" at home. I then began developing a plan to transition back into the workforce. Although it took a little longer than I'd expected, I've learned a great deal about myself. I am looking forward to encountering new challenges in the workplace.

 
Talk about what led you to this point in your life.

Although this may seem like an unusual question to some people, the interviewer is curious about your mental state or how you view the world. For example, are you unhappy, frustrated, or just excited to move on to the next challenge in your professional life.

Possible Response

How I have arrived at this point in my life is interesting. My past experiences have made me who I am today. The steps that have led me here were sometimes challenging, but always rewarding. In some ways, they are very different than I had imagined. For example, when the first company I worked for suddenly closed their doors during a down turn in the economy, the road ahead was uncertain. I quickly discovered I had previously untapped strengths and this motivated me to move forward.