Things can go really against you despite your thorough preparation for just a couple of 'types' of interview questions. However, it is possible to ignore or forget the other types of possible interview questions. This brings us to different 'types' of interview questions, along with traditional questions or questions pertaining to your core skills.
Types Of Interview Questions
It is crucial for you to be able to anticipate different types of questions that may come up in an interview. Let's categorize them into three types:
1. 'Out of the box' questions and hardcore questions are the traditionally asked ones that cannot be readily anticipated. They may or may not be related to the job at hand, and are designed to see how well you can 'think on your feet'.
2. Questions That Test Behavior And Problem Solving Abilities. These aim to find how you have conducted yourself in difficult situations and how will you do if the situation were to repeat itself. Interviewers always want to test you for unexpected and accidental circumstances.
3. Lastly, There Are Illegal Questions which are sometimes cleverly framed. These are aimed to find out your nationality, religious or ethnic background, marital status, etc. Illegal questions are not always intentional, but sometimes they are. The world isn't fair, and you may as well know this going in.
Let's look at some samples from two categories:
Traditional Questions/Behavioral Questions
1. Tell us about yourself. In my humble opinion, the most overused and overworked, and unfortunately the most likely first question in any interview. This question can be manifested in any form. As there is no right or wrong answer to this, this is an open-ended question, most often used by inexperienced interviewers. However, if this question does come up (and you should assume that it will), then stick to answering strictly in business terms; NEVER volunteer personal information.
2. Why do you want to join us? This is another question belonging to the same category as the earlier one but usually follows it. As such, it is routinely predictable and you should have your answer ready. You need to list the benefits of your joining them from both points of view (the employer's first, then yours).
3. How would you describe yourself? Adopt a realistic approach towards this question and use adjectives like 'honest', 'hard working', etc., instead of the overused/ambiguous answers like 'courageous' or 'results-oriented'.
4. 'Describe a situation which demanded working overtime' (or any variations on this question). If you have been in the corporate world for any length of time, you should have encountered this scenario. This question is devised only to see how you will possibly conduct yourself, as the new employer is probably anticipating similar situations happening should you be hired.
5. 'Tell me about a decision that you made which was a bad one'. This may well be a hypothetical question. But if you had had made a bad decision, a 'positive you' will explain this in a structured mixture of truth, admission, failure analysis and so on. In other words, logically turn a potential negative answer into a positive one - avoid making yourself look incompetent at all costs.
Let's take a look at some possible illegal questions. Employers know they aren't supposed to ask them, but many do anyway (and some in different variations, so as not to be overtly illegal):
6. Does your religion preclude you from working weekends? (overtly illegal question)
7. Are you planning to have kids? (designed to reveal your family status, or perhaps your sexual orientation)
8. When/Where were you born? (A clever way of finding out your age or ethnicity)
9. Your last name sounds unusual; what's your origin? (designed to reveal your ethnic background)
As a job seeker, you will invariable come across all types of interview questions. There are as many different types of questions as there are interviewers. It pays to be aware of the many types of questions that you will encounter - doing so will ensure that you handle such questions with confidence.
22nd November 2007 From India, Bangalore
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30th June 2010 From Vietnam, Hanoi