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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Interview Questions

Before you head out to a job interview, it's a good idea to practice answering the types of interview questions that interviewers will likely ask you. The Web can be extremely helpful with that, as interviewing is among the most-popular employment topics.

Even so, career advisors can't possibly tell you exactly which interview questions to expect your interviewer to ask you; they especially can't tell you exactly how to answer them.

Interview questions are just too personal and situational for that, and there are no "correct" answers anyway. To make it more complex, interviewers employ interview techniques (different types of interviews), resulting in an infinite number of potential interview questions and answers.

However, career advisors can at least give you a feel for the techniques and a list of the canned, common interview questions that interviewers ask, along with suggested ways of answering.

That's the intention of this article. But first, a little something about:

Types of Interview Questions

Interviewers generally employ one or more of the following most-common interview techniques, by asking the related questions indicated.

General (or Traditional)
Common interview questions about yourself and your work.

Behavioral
Tough, personal interview questions that probe your competencies and how you historically acted in certain job-related situations.

Case (or Hypothetical)
Tough, specific interview questions about a hypothetical situation or "case" that challenge your problem-solving abilities on the spot, such as by asking you what you'd do "if".

Interviewers usually start with interview questions of the first type and then work their way into one or both of the others over the course of one or more interviews, depending on the nature of each job.

There are a few common behavioral interview questions that interviewers ask when employing the technique. But there virtually none that are common for case or hypothetical interviews. Cases are typically unique, because they are based on hypothetical situations that interviewers invent or tailor specifically for their employers.

Interviewers also usually keep case interview questions a secret, as they don't want to enable job applicants to rehearse their answers. After all, the whole idea is to place an interviewee in the hot seat, to test how well he or she solves problems and other hypothetical situations on the spot.

So, the best that you'll likely find to help you prepare for case interview questions, are a couple of example cases, professional coaching or a written guide.

There are several brainteasers, riddles and other types of technical interview questions, some with "answers", that have found their way onto the Web and into self-help books, after interviewees attended technical interviews and spilled the beans. Tech interviews are similar to case interviews, in that they test problem-solving abilities on the spot, among other things.

However, outside of certain brainteasers and riddles, the interview questions aren't common, other than maybe within each company that conducts tech interviews. They are just examples that interviewers have asked techie applicants. Interviewers also make those up and try to keep them secret too; apparently, not always with success. Subsequently, they change with time.

There are, however, common interview questions that virtually all interviewers ask in one way or another when using the first technique, that are no secret at all and don't change much with time. The most common that interviewers ask are on the next page, along with suggested ways of answering them.

Next Page > Sample Interview Questions with Answers
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