Craft a Great Answer to these Interview Questions

Interview Tips

1. How would you resolve a conflict between two colleagues?

“I wouldn’t get involved,” isn’t a great answer here, even if it’s true. The interviewer wants to know about your communication, teamwork and conflict resolution skills. So instead, imagine that you had no choice but to get involved. Try to be practical and focus on how the conflict might affect the team. Ultimately, the goal in this scenario would be to get everything running smoothly again. Examples are great here, and you can also talk about any conflict resolution techniques with which you are familiar.

2. Are you in any professional associations?

There are professional associations for almost every kind of career. If you’re not in one now, you should take a look for a group in your area and consider joining. If you can’t find a local group to meet up with, look at online groups. If the interviewer asks this, they mainly just want to know if you keep your skills up-to-date and stay in touch with industry news. Talk about how you do that if you don’t have any specific association membership.

3. Are you a people person?

You probably shouldn’t say no to this question, as every job involves some degree of teamwork and dealing with customers. However, it is okay to admit if you are someone who prefers to work alone than be part of a group. Try to find a balance in your answer between accurately representing yourself and trying to portray yourself as a team player. Being communicative and outgoing is a positive in most jobs. If this is you, then try to project that during the whole interview.

4. Do you drink or smoke?

Depending on which state you are in, questions like this could be considered unfair or discriminatory. Always be aware of the discrimination laws that cover you. If you’re not comfortable answering these questions, you can instead say that you’ve never encountered an issue with employer policy relating to these matters. If you are comfortable talking about such things, always say “…in moderation.”

5. Who’s your favorite president?

Something like this is generally intended as an icebreaker, so your answer isn’t as important as later questions. However, for this specific question, there is a chance that you’ll get into politics, which is a big no-no. Don’t discuss religion either, or anything else that may put you in conflict with your interviewer. You won’t lose points if you play it safe here: Washington, Lincoln or one of the Roosevelts are uncontroversial answers. Be prepared to talk about why they are your favorite and how they inspire you.

6. Do you play any sports?

Sports are a positive on any resume. They show that you’re active, committed, goal-oriented and work well with a team. Don’t exaggerate your involvement in sports though. You don’t want to get asked to be quarterback on the office football team if you haven’t played since kindergarten! Talking about team sports can be a good way of building rapport with the interviewer if you support the same team. Remember to keep it civil and professional though.

6. What are you most looking forward to in this job?

This question will catch you out if you haven’t done your research, so make sure you know a lot about your potential employer before you walk through the door. The more detailed your answer, the better an impression you make. For example, if the company sells a particular product, you can talk about why you like that product and why it’s exciting to be involved. You can also talk about perks, location, company culture, the opportunity to progress, or anything else that excites you. Again, just make sure that your understanding of the company is accurate.

7. If this job required you to stay in another city overnight, would that be a problem?

Flexibility is important, and employers will generally expect you to carry out any reasonable instruction. If you say no to this or to a similar question, then you really need to have a very good reason for doing so. However, if you do have a good reason, then it’s best to be open about this in the interview. For example, if you have childcare commitments that prevent you from traveling, it’s best to just lay that on the table so they can tell you whether the position suits your needs or not.

8. What did you like or dislike about your previous job?

The best strategy for answering this question is to focus on the positives from your previous role and to discuss how your experiences have prepared you for a more challenging role. Interviewers may ask this question for a few reasons. First, they want to hear your perspective on your previous position. Second, they want to hear your approach on what aspects of your previous job you liked or didn’t like. Your answer will provide them with insight as to how well you might fit their opening.

9. What’s your favorite charity?

This icebreaker question can shed a little light on who you are and what your values are. Are you interested in causes, children, animals, international matters, etc. If you are involved in a charity, make sure to mention it. This is an impressive string to your bow, plus charity work can teach you important transferable skills. Many companies have charity programs, either fundraising internally or allowing workers to do a certain amount of voluntary work during the week. If you know your employer is linked to a charity, be sure to talk about it.